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In This List

Cocoa industry's forced labor issue leaves bitter taste

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Cocoa industry's forced labor issue leaves bitter taste

Over the past several months, senior reporter Gautam Naik has been conducting in-depth research into a global issue than crosses industries and supply chains: forced labor. In the first of three articles and accompanying podcasts, he looks at how this problem has become endemic to the $140 billion chocolate industry and what is being done about it.

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Source: AP Photo

More than 2 million children work on cocoa farms in Ghana and Ivory Coast, which together provide about 65% of the world's chocolate. Consumer demand for chocolate is booming, yet the price of cocoa is falling, a discrepancy that adds pressure on West African farmers to put their children to work.

Chocolate companies' measures to address this subject have had little effect so far. But the Netherlands, the biggest importer of cocoa beans in the world, a combination of tougher child labor laws and pressure from financiers, is making progress toward a solution.

Click here read the full article or click on the play button below to listen to the podcast, which includes a firsthand account from Prosper Narteh, who worked on his parents' cocoa farm from the age of 13 but now attends school. And stay tuned for the next story in the series.

Consumer Edge is a weekly collection of critical developments across the automotive; retail; and food, beverage, and tobacco industries. Drawing on exclusive analysis and value-added content from the Consumer News team at S&P Global Market Intelligence, it is published every Thursday. Click here to subscribe.

Chart of the week

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Combined Fiat Chrysler/Peugeot would be larger but leaner, say analysts

Despite some product overlap in Europe, the potential deal is being seen as a way for the two carmakers to establish a global presence and critical economies of scale as competition and investment pressures mount.

CEO: Fiat's merger with Peugeot would help EV plans, add value

Fiat will start negotiating terms of a new four-year labor contract with United Auto Workers, the executive said in an Oct. 31 call with analysts.

GM execs: Strike costs to hit harder in Q4; lost production to linger into FY'20

Concessions from the new labor contract will also add millions to GM's operating expenses each year, analysts said.

Lyft expects more riders, headwinds in Q4

The ride-hailing company said there will be 400,000 more active riders in the fourth quarter of 2019.


Amazon expected to protest Microsoft award of $10B Pentagon contract

Amazon was favored to win the defense contract, the 10-year cloud infrastructure contract known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, but analysts say the company is likely to protest the award in an attempt to overturn the decision.

Alibaba preps for Singles Day as revenue growth outpaces slowing Chinese economy

Alibaba's 40% revenue growth during the quarter ended Sept. 30 outpaced the slowing Chinese economy and retail sales ahead of the company's Singles Day shopping festival, executives said.

Hong Kong retail sales fall 18.3% in September

Though the figures showed a slight improvement on August's performance, Annie Yau Tse, chairperson of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, warned that retail sales for October could be even worse.

European electronics supply chains look vulnerable to Brexit

Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands have the most at stake, with Dutch electronics exports particularly at risk. Shipments of devices are already in decline, while components have seen a rebound.

Shopify to scale $1B US fulfillment network

The company announced in June that it plans to spend $1 billion to build out its own network of fulfillment centers. It will work with third-party warehouses to scale the business instead of investing capital in brick-and-mortar centers.

Food, Beverage & Tobacco

Beyond Meat under no pressure from competitors, CEO says

Despite raising its revenue outlook for fiscal 2019 and exceeding analysts' estimates for its third-quarter earnings, the company's shares were down 9.8% at $95.08 in after-hours trading.

Yum! Brands COO defends Grubhub investment after mark down

The company's shares were 8.7% lower in midday trading after it disclosed a $60 million adjustment to the value of its investment in Grubhub.

Kraft Heinz CEO: Fewer products, creating new ones will be key to strategic plan

The executive also praised the company's zero-based budgeting approach as a way to "to free up resources to invest in the business" during an Oct. 31 call with analysts.

Altria reveals FTC probe into company's role in Juul's executive swaps

The Marlboro maker separately outlined its vision for the e-cigarette market after booking a $4.5 billion write-down on its investment in Juul during Altria's third quarter.

S&P 500 Consumer Staples and Discretionary indices

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