Lending to emerging markets increased a record 8.4% in the first quarter compared with Q4, according to a report from the Bank for International Settlements. Brazil, China and Russia accounted for 85% of that growth. "Especially in emerging Asia and Latin America, countries generally have been affected less by the global financial crisis," the report says.
Store-brand organic products account for 22.7% of organic food sales, up from 13.6% for the same 52-week period in 2007. As the trend grows, Safeway has begun selling its organic products to other retailers, and SUPERVALU expanded its Wild Harvest organic brand to 312 items, from 150 last spring.
Austin, Texas-based Cocoa Puro, which sells chocolate-covered, hand-roasted cocoa beans, sources its beans from a single organic grower in Costa Rica. The final product, Kakawa Cocoa Beans, is available at Whole Foods Market as well as local specialty stores.
A new study by Hershey Co. and Brunswick Laboratories found that benefiting from cocoa's heart-healthy antioxidants in finished products greatly depends on the other ingredients, specifically leavening agents. The study revealed that in chocolate cake, using baking powder instead of baking soda helps cocoa best retain its nutritional value.
The Bank for International Settlements said a deterioration of cross-border financial flow is threatening global trade and finance. "Large-scale reversals of exposure have started in the fourth quarter of 2008, and it's been pretty serious for six months now," said Stephen Cecchetti, chief economist at the BIS. "The risk is that national authorities will require banks to operate only inside national boundaries."