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Starbucks pastry makeover hits a glitch as customers demand old favourites

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Starbucks' plan to revamp its baked goods is hitting a glitch. The Seattle-based coffee company says it will start bringing back its sliced cake loaves in response to customer feedback. The company had been getting rid of the sliced loaves that came in banana, iced lemon and pumpkin flavours as part of a staggered rollout of its pricier new baked goods. Lisa Passe, a Starbucks spokeswoman, says the company realized that "people really like the familiar, sliced cake." She noted that the cake slices will still carry the higher prices.

Iconic Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich to cost $1 more with beef prices up

MONTREAL - Lovers of smoked meat will have to fork over a little more cash the next time they visit the famous Schwartz's deli in Montreal. The restaurant blames rising beef prices for its decision to make its smoked meat sandwich a bit more expensive. Frank Silva, Schwartz's general manager, said the the price of the beef he buys from Alberta has increased by about 50 per cent since last November. The meat is trimmed by a local butcher, with the brisket then marinated and smoked in house.

Soda sales in US continued to slide in 2013; diet sodas falling at faster pace

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Americans cut back on soda at an accelerated pace last year, extending a slow retreat from the category that began nearly a decade ago. U.S. sales volume of carbonated soft drinks fell 3 per cent in 2013, according to a report released Monday by Beverage Digest, an industry tracker. That represents a steeper drop than the 1.2 per cent decline in 2012 and brings total soda volume to the lowest level since 1995.

U.S. soda sales decline worsened in 2013: Beverage Digest

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The decline in U.S. sales of carbonated soft drinks accelerated in 2013, according to a leading beverage industry newsletter. Total sales volume fell 3 percent in 2013 to 8.9 billion cases, the ninth straight year of decline, according to Beverage Digest. That compares with declines of 1.2 percent in 2012 and 1 percent in 2011.

Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck flies south to Australia

Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck restaurant will close its doors in Britain and relocate to Australia for six months in 2015, Melbourne's Crown resort said Monday. The famed Michelin three-starred restaurant in Bray, west of London, will spend half of the year in Australia's second-biggest city before returning to its home in Britain. Blumenthal, who will bring the entire Fat Duck team with him to Australia, described the move as an "incredible opportunity" to remain open while the British restaurant undergoes renovations.

Kraft challenged by "healthier" macaroni and cheese brands

By Lisa Baertlein LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has been a favorite meal for generations of American children, but smaller brands made with more natural ingredients are starting to nibble at its market share, part of a trend that is biting into growth at large U.S. food companies. Zenobia Godschalk, an Atlanta mother of two young boys, stopped buying Kraft's "mac and cheese" after reading its complicated ingredient list. Now she buys Annie's organic version in bulk at Costco Wholesale Corp <COST.O>.

Booming demand for shea, African 'women's gold', helps reduce poverty

The fruit of the shea tree has long been considered sacred by many in Western Africa because of its myriad health benefits. But now growing demand among Western consumers for the fruit, known as "women's gold" by those who harvest it, is helping improve lives in some of the world's poorest communities. Sweet-lovers around the globe already consume the nut as shea butter, which is used to make chocolate, as well as in products like margarine and as a cooking oil.

Million jars of peanut butter dumped in New Mexico after bankruptcy dispute

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Nearly a million jars of peanut butter were dumped at a New Mexico landfill this week to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall. Bankruptcy trustee Clarke Coll said he had no other choice after Costco Wholesale refused to take shipment of the Sunland Inc. product and declined requests to let it be donated to food banks or repackaged or sold to brokers who provide food to institutions like prisons. "We considered all options," Coll said. "They didn't agree."

French minister apologises for calling state dinner 'revolting'

An embarrassed French minister has apologised to the head chef at the Elysee Palace after she was caught on camera describing the food at a China-France state dinner as "revolting". Trade Minister Nicole Bricq was caught out after saying the meal served to Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the state banquet on Wednesday night was not up to scratch, unaware that microphones were picking up her comments. "At the Elysee, it wasn't (up to scratch) at all... it was revolting. It has to be said," she was heard saying in a video clip posted online by BFMTV.

Maple Lodge Farms ordered to spend $1 million after chicken cruelty conviction

TORONTO - One of the country's biggest chicken producers will have to spend at least $1 million over three years to ensure compliance with federal rules after an Ontario judge convicted it of causing undue suffering to the birds. In a case closely watched by animal-rights groups, Ontario Superior Court Justice Nancy Kastner also fined Maple Lodge Farms $80,000 on two of 20 counts of failing to transport chickens humanely. Kastner placed the company based in Brampton, Ont., on three years probation, suspending the other 18 counts for the duration.
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