Not so sweet now


April 30, 2019

Today, Japan’s population is shrinking, and what was Accenture thinking, but first…
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The bitter truth behind the Nutella economy

Thanks to the popularity of products like Nutella, hazelnuts are in high demand. 

But in Turkey, where 70% of the world’s hazelnuts are grown, the industry’s horrendous human rights record is regressing, The New York Times reports

Big business, small farmers

Turkey’s 600k hazelnut farms are so small (just 4 acres on average) that they hire minimum-wage earning migrant workers — including thousands of Syrian refugees without work permits or legal protections. 

Since Turkey’s Labor Code doesn’t apply to farms with fewer than 50 employees, most hazelnut farms are not subject to any government regulation or scrutiny. 

With no one to monitor working conditions at farms other than large candy companies like Ferrero or Nestlé, working conditions are worsening.

Hazelnut hazards

For harvesters, hazelnut farms are not sweet: 99% work 7 days a week, often toiling from 7 am to 7 pm on dangerous cliff sides.

Many families — particularly Syrian refugee families — don’t earn enough money to afford shelter unless all of their kids work, which has caused child labor to increase.

Making matters worse, unregulated hazelnut hustlers called “dayibasi” charge impoverished laborers more than 10% of their wages and then force them into quasi-indentured servitude with exploitative payday loans.

Ferrero protects its nuts before it protects its workers

Turkey’s hazelnut crop brings in $1.8B each year, but little of that cash ends up with all the laborers working their nuts off. Instead, it ends up with dayibasis — and big candy companies.

Ferrero Rocher — the Italian confectioner that makes Nutella — buys ⅓ of Turkey’s hazelnuts (if you’re keeping score, that means Ferrero buys more than 23% of the entire world’s hazelnut crop).

But although company chairman, Giovanni Ferrero, has a personal fortune worth $22.3B, Ferrero refuses to disclose its suppliers, instead relying on child labor and exploited refugees to produce its profits.

The Nutella biz is nuts
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How Hanover, PA, became ‘all that and a bag of potato chips’

Through a combo of heritage and modernization over the past century, the town of Hanover, PA, has become one of the snack food capitals of the world — home to potato chip giants like Utz Quality Foods, and Snyder’s of Hanover (2016’s best-selling pretzel brand in the US).

More importantly, in an industry where even the largest multinational snack-glomerates struggle to keep up with the ever-changing tides of ‘big snack,’ a small town of 16k people has managed to maintain its empire. And it all started with that Dutch flavor.

Living lard in Hanover, PA

According to food historian, William Woys Weaver, the Dutch mixed their own culinary traditions with American innovations to make hard pretzels and potato chips some of the most recognizable Pennsylvania Dutch foods.

But, it was Dutch cuisine’s penchant for pork products that helped put its pretzels and potato chips on the map. The Pennsylvania Dutch diet includes everything from sausage to scrapple to hog maw — but most importantly, the tasty lard that helps put the crunch in its snack. 

Then the 20th century hit

Even with the recipe perfected, it wasn’t until the Pennsylvania Turnpike was completed that Pennsylvania pretzel- and potato chip-makers were able to expand their footprint.

According to Weaver, once it became easier to ship food to metro areas outside of Pennsylvania, Hanover’s snack companies capitalized on the low cost of rural labor without the fear of city workers unionizing.

Today, Hanover continues as a snack food hub by trying its best not to fix what isn’t broken. Over the years, some of Hanover’s companies have folded into larger operations, but others (including Utz) are still family-owned and operated in the same small town.

» Snack attack
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Japan’s population continues to shrink at an alarming rate

According to Quartz, Japan’s population is disintegrating; it fell by almost 450k last year while simultaneously setting a record for the fewest number of babies born since 1899, AKA the birth of official records (#goals amiright??).

In other words, oldies are going out but babies aren’t coming in — a trend that has only gotten worse for Japan since the problem took shape in the late 1970s.

But if no one’s getting busy, and all the oldies are dying, what demographic does that leave the country with?

Welcome to the aging baby boomer mecca

More than half of Japan’s population is over the age of 46, while 70-year-olds and above account for 1 of every 5 people. Because of this, new economic findings are beginning to show face. 

It’s the latter demographic that has left over 13% of Japanese homes abandoned — that’s 8.5m homes without souls in them (up by 260k from the previous 5 years).

They need immigrants

Other nations that have experienced similar declines have turned to immigration to make up the difference. Problem is, Japan historically gives a sharp thumbs down when it comes to letting outsiders in.

But, as we’ve pointed out, Japan ain’t getting any younger (it’s the oldest large country in the world), and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Now, they need to find native educators to teach foreigners the language. 

» One thing after another

That’s gotta Hertz: The rental company is suing consulting giant Accenture over a big-time website design fail

Hertz, one of the world’s largest car rental companies, hired Accenture back in 2016 to revamp its digital presence… annnnd the entire project pretty much crashed and burned. 

Hertz fired Accenture in May 2018 after receiving a string of (allegedly) crappy and late deliverables, but only after paying $32m for said crap. Now they’ve filed a lawsuit seeking a full refund and then some. 

A bumpy road strewn with broken promises and PDFs

According to the lawsuit, the two-year engagement yielded a pileup of issues: Accenture missed three go-live deadlines, then tried to charge Hertz for delay costs. — Because they were busy pouring extra time into delivering an excellent product, you ask? 

— Mmm, not quite: Hertz claims Accenture “deliberately disregarded” several contract specs (including global/cross-brand extensibility and responsive design for tablets)… oh, and barely tested the system. 

Also, Accenture allegedly kept delivering PDF guides despite Hertz’s requests for an editable format. I mean, is there anything more frustrating than trying to edit a PDF? We’d sue for $32m, too. 

In both cases, Accenture refused to fix the issues without additional payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Bold. 

To the scrap yard it goes

The lawsuit says that Accenture’s site code was so defective it ultimately had to be scrapped, and the company “never delivered a functional website or mobile app.”

Hertz is seeking a full refund plus additional repair and design costs, a demand Accenture says is “without merit.”

» When consulting goes wrong
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How a parenting dilemma led to $254m in funding

Two years ago, CEO and co-founder of Divvy, Blake Murray, was in a parenting pinch. 

He wanted to give his kids money to spend on things like ice cream, but the thought of handing a child a credit card scared the sprinkles off him. 

Blake wanted a card without a balance that would let him fund and monitor his kids’ spending — without worrying about it falling into the wrong hands.

And like that, Divvy was born. 

Since January 2018, the company’s grown 8000%, secured $254m in funding, and has billion dollar companies as clients.

How?

By rethinking the corporate card

Divvy distributes both virtual and physical corporate cards, so every employee — from the intern up to the CEO — can have their own with the funds they need to do their jobs, and here’s the kicker — you control exactly how they spend. 

Plus, there’s no end-of-the-month receipt scramble. The moment the card is charged, Divvy automatically categorizes and expenses from the right budget. At the end of the month, snappy reporting and forecasting dashboards then makes review a breeze.  

Oh, and did we mention it’s free? Divvy makes their living off credit card transaction fees, so you don’t pay an extra penny. 

Don’t band-aid your budget problem with more ‘expense tracking’ software. Solve the corporate card madness with Divvy — decision makers get $100 for watching a demo.

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