Understanding the Changes in Consumer Preferences

Food safety, healthier eating, and a more active lifestyle are a growing issue of concern in the United States. According to a Deloitte survey in 2010, nearly three quarters (73 %) of Americans are more concerned now about the food they eat than they were five years ago. The U.S. domestic news cycle for the first week of 2014 has been filled with issues surrounding the safety of the food supply and a push back against GMO-containing products. Within the first few days of 2014, the news reported on the mandated shutdown of a meat-processing facility in Minnesota by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, legal action in Oregon against the makers of a vitamin supplement and the announcement by General Mills regarding its processing of a major cereal product. The growing popularity of store chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and the increases in the amount of natural food line extension products, are indications of the shifting dynamics in consumer preferences in the U.S. Understanding the competitive nature of the global food industry means understanding changing consumer preferences and the food industry’s efforts to meet these demands. Food markets are constantly evolving, driven not only by changes in consumer preferences, but also, linkages between members of the food supply chains, prevailing policies, business environments and demographic trends. Changes in these preferences and perceptions may lessen the demand, reduce sales and potentially harm businesses. Continue reading

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Is the Rule of Law Fairly Applied to US Terror Suspects?

Five 9/11 prisoners are scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Sunday, January 27 in Guantánamo, Cuba. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed organizer of the September 11 terrorist attacks is among the accused, who also include Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin Attash, and Ramzi Binalshibh. All are suspected terrorist coordinators of the al-Qa’eda linked 9/11 attacks, and are accused of recruiting, training, and funding. Continue reading

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Afghan Opium Brides

For the past decade, the Afghan government has been cracking down and destroying illegal poppy, leaving many farmers unable to pay back loans borrowed from drug traffickers to fund their opium farms. Afghans use the term “loan brides” to reference daughters given in marriage by fathers who have no other way out of debt. Continue reading

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Education Programs: An Encouraging Way to Reduce Gender Inequality

For a country plagued by a lengthy history of poverty and gender discrimination, Bangladesh has come a long way. Thanks to education and microfinance programs, the role of women in the country has dramatically evolved over the last two decades, leading the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to conclude that “if education were to be integrated on a massive scale with microfinance services for the very poor worldwide,” similar to the experience in Bangladesh, then their true potential will be recognized as they are offered “a dignified route out of poverty.” Continue reading

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HIV/AIDS: How Sub-Saharan Africa Can Win the Battle

In recent years, Southern Africa has made notable strides to combat the disease, but there is still immeasurable progress that needs to be achieved. In an effort to advance the fight, Kenya launched its third National AIDS Strategic Plan in January 2010. The UN Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) reports that Kenya has made leaps in its HIV response: AIDS related deaths have fallen by one-third since 2002 and “HIV prevalence in the country has consistently declined over the past few years.” Continue reading

Argentina’s sovereign debt crisis and battle with “vulture funds”

Since Argentina defaulted on $15 billion in sovereign debt last July, the battle between hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer and the Argentine government has climaxed in 2014 and headlined the financial world.

In its latest move to thwart off so-called “vulture funds,” Argentina has voted to allow its government to pay international debt bonds in either Buenos Aires or Paris, or through other bondholders.

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Euro-American leaders dismiss the story behind Isis

Leaders such as David Cameron and Barack Obama have spoken extensively on the human rights violations committed by Isis and the group’s growing threat to “the West.” Simultaneously, it seems that the two have overlooked their own role in catalysing the rise of what has been dubbed by one US Senator as “one of the most barbaric and well-financed terrorist groups of our time”.

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