Olive oil has played a prominent part in Mediterranean culture for over 2,000 years and is beloved by foodies the world over.
However, the industry has a dirty little secret.
A lot of the “Italian extra virgin olive oil” isn’t what it says on the tin. Sometimes its not extra virgin, sometimes its not Italian — and sometimes it’s not even made from olives.
Here’s what you need to know about one of the world’s most lucrative criminal endeavors.
Olive oil is far more expensive than other oils, but surprisingly easy to fake.
The fake industry seems to have almost as long a history as the real industry.
In the past merchants used to mix the oil with lard.
It’s probably because of how valuable it is — way back in ancient Rome, per-capita consumption of olive oil was as much as fifty liters every year.
“People were prepared to spend the same amount of money on olive oil back then as they do on petroleum today.”
Nigel Kennell a specialist in ancient history, tells the New Yorker’s Tom Mueller.
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Dollar stores are booming in a struggling economy, and one of the big boys of the industry is doing so well it’s planning another period of explosive growth, reports Gail Hoffer and Drug Store News.
It will open 625 stores and hire around 6,000 employees over the course of 2012. The discount chain already has about 9,800 stores spread across 38 states, and some of the new stores will be in previously unoccupied states California and Massachusetts.
Dollar General has adopted an aggressive growth strategy since the start of the recession. This marks the third straight year it has opened hundreds of new locations, and the chain has created more than 21,000 jobs since 2009.
It’s not all about the economy though. Dollar General had to be smart in its expansion strategy too — after all, Walmart is its biggest competitor, and the world’s largest retailer has had similar success recently.
It thrives on hitting markets that Walmart hasn’t taken over, such as small towns that can’t support one of Walmart’s massive big box stores. It also competes with the other big dollar store chains, like Family Dollar. The hybrid concept — somewhere between a giant discounter and a small dollar store — has worked admirably.
Plus, while dollar store marketing plays a significant role in getting people through its doors, Dollar General is actually also a clear leader in price over both Walmart and its dollar store compatriots.
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Apple’s price to earnings ratio is at a relatively paltry 14 right now, and it’s driving Apple bulls crazy.
The chart below, which shows Apple’s shrinking PE, from Apple analyst Andy Zaky has been passed around for the last week. (At the time Apple’s PE was 13.3.)
What’s wrong with this chart?
Zaky explains: “Now even though Apple’s growth has far and outpaced the growth of Oracle (16.35 P/E), Amazon (96.15 P/E), Google (19.19 P/E), Cisco (15.11), Qualcomm Inc. (20.62), Amgen, Inc (13.53), Comcast (15.11 P/E), IBM (13.95 P/E), Chevron (13.50), Johnson & Johnson (14.94 P/E), Procter & Gamble (15.49 P/E), and AT&T (13.91 P/E), the stock trades at a far lower valuation relative to these top holdings on the NASDAQ-100 and S&P 500. Some of these companies have actually contracted in 2011. Yet, the market values the earnings out of these companies on the order of 4-5 times more in some cases than they value the earnings out of Apple.”
Of course, there’s more than one way to value a stock. If you value it based on trailing free cash flow, it’s arguably priced fairly, says our Henry Blodget.
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The investment makes sense, as Parker has been focused on shaking up the music industry.
While Parker disrupted the music industry in the late 1990′s when he created Napster, he may soon do the same with his latest involvement in Spotify. We reported earlier that Parker said Spotify will finish what Napster started — deliver instant gratification to music fans.
The Los Angeles-based startup StageIt can deliver a different type of gratification. The platform lets artists set up digital concerts and gives them a way to make money without ever having to leave their house.
Two years ago, StageIt founder Evan Lowenstein founded the company based on the idea people that would pay for a unique experience.
Not long ago, Lowenstein came into play for me to demo the service: As a singer himself, he played “Crazy for This Girl” to show how fans purchase tickets to watch him live and use a chat feature to talk to him during the performance.
“You can’t pirate intimacy and you can’t pirate an experience,” Lowenstein said.
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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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