Marketers are taking a page out of an old book to reach the world's largest TV audience: Product placement. Shows such as "Mommy & Baby -- Healthy World," paid for in part by the H.J. Heinz Co., center around a single product. The model allows TV stations to receive programming for free, while allowing marketers to tap into the burgeoning Chinese market.
Adored by prehistoric tribes, Anasazi beans, with their soft, creamy texture and their ability to fit in with many cuisines, are making a comeback in several dishes. Several other types of beans -- Appaloosa, Rio Zape, Bolita and Zuni Gold -- also are enjoying a renaissance, as cooks find new ways to incorporate them into dishes.
In a promising sign that the economy is strengthening, the Commerce Department said construction spending rose 1.3% in April, beating analysts' expectations. Separately, the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index remained above 60 for the seventh straight month, rising from 62.4 in April to 62.8 in May despite higher production costs. "Things looked good in May ... I think they will continue on that path, based on the way the data look," said the chairman of the institute's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
CEO Bob Ulrich said if Target decided to sell its Mervyn's and Marshall Field's retail divisions it would not be to free resources for continued expansion of their discount stores but possibly to pay down debt, buy back stock or increase company dividends. The company, which is expected to announce plans for the department stores in the next two to three months, is testing a new discount store prototype, featuring more consumable items and an expanded entertainment department.
Makers of soy products have touted the health benefits of the food, believed by some researchers to protect against heart disease and other illnesses. Solae has requested the FDA's permission to add wording on its label that says soy may have some cancer-fighting benefits as well, though other researchers say evidence is inconclusive. The FDA is taking public comment until the middle of this month.