Afternoon Coffee: Quinoa Price Rising, Mississippi River Barges, Starbucks Reusable Cup, Boeing Woes

Feast or famine...
Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa? -- But there is an unpalatable truth to face for those of us with a bag of quinoa in the larder. The appetite of countries such as ours for this grainhas pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture.

"This is as low as I've ever seen it."
Mississippi River Level Disrupts Supply Chain -- The drought is hurting farming operations in much of the Midwest and Southwest, and its next possible victim: barge traffic on the Mississippi River. There were fears that shipping on this crucial cargo route could come to a halt as early as this week, when water levels reach historic lows. But the Army Corps of Engineers says the river will likely stay open for shipping at least until the end of the month. Still, many businesses that send products up and down the river remain concerned about what the future holds.

Starbucks gets smart.
How Starbucks Will Make Millions Off Its New, Reusable Cup -- Instead of having to provide customers with a free, disposable cup it must purchase, Starbucks now gets to sell customers a semi-permanent cup. Less trash may also lower trash-removal charges at stores. Way to cut the overhead!

Flawed offshoring decisions by the C-suite??
The Boeing Debacle: Seven Lessons Every CEO Must Learn -- Brake problems. A fuel leak. A cracked windshield. One electrical fire. Then another. An emergency landing in Japan. A safety investigation imposed by the FAA. Then two premier customers--Japan's two main airlines, ANA and JAL, ground their fleet of Boeing [BA] 787s. Then the FAA grounds all 787s used by the only American carrier. Now other regulators around the world follow suit, grounding all 50 of the 787s delivered so far. The regulatory grounding of an entire fleet is unusual--the first since 1979--and relates to a key to the plane's claimed energy-efficiency: the novel use of lithium ion batteries, which have shown a propensity to overheat and lead to fires--fires that generate oxygen and hence are difficult to put out.

- Sheena Moore

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