What we're about to tell you may well make you spit up your cappuccino.
The best selling coffee brand in stores in this country isn't Starbucks or those single-country of origin grown beans you get from your corner café.
According to Venessa Wong at Bloomberg Businessweek, the best-selling coffee is none other than Folgers.
"Folgers has a pretty solid lead in the coffee market, they had an average of 15.6 percent market share in the U.S. market," says Wong.
And the second best-selling coffee? Maxwell House. (Private labels came in third and Green Mountain Coffee in fourth.)
"Starbucks held only 3.3 percent [of coffee sales in the market] and I think that's because people prefer to drink Starbucks at ... their locations," Wong says.
According to Wong, Folgers "attributed part of the jump last quarter to marketing efforts, such as a Folgers's jingle contest in June that resulted in this folksy song about coffee and sunrises, and an aroma that 'fills the room and inspires life.'"
Wong says "it feels a little bit like Jack Johnson meets Mumford and Sons with a twist of caffeine."
Overall, coffee sales, and our caffeine levels, are way, way up.
"We are drinking so much coffee, and we're drinking more Folgers Coffee, so we probably all need a nap," she says. "But it's easier to get a coffee in the middle of the day."
It’s last call for that all-American rite of summer vacation: a hike or family picnic in a national park. Heads up, though. That park might be BYOB, as in bring your own garbage bag. That’s because at more and more national parks, trash cans are disappearing along with federal dollars.
A couple weeks ago, I went for a day hike in Great Falls Park, in Virginia. My friend Stephanie Van Bebber came too, along with her little kid and their dog. As happens with little kids and dogs, nature called in a rather inconvenient place. By the end, Steph was carrying something one of our group left behind.
It was in a bag. Tightly cinched.
“It’s from one of my walking partners,” Steph said. “And now I want a trash can.”
There weren’t trashcans on the trail, of course. Or in the big picnic area. Or even the bathroom. That’s because Great Falls removed its trash cans this year as part of a new waste management strategy. “Carry in/Carry out” is a core backcountry principle. Applying it here in this land of baby diapers and grills and hamburger wrappers means changing behavior.
“I was shocked. I was shocked," said Ricky Bush, who was having a family cookout at Great Falls. "I just never been in a park where they don’t have trash cans.”
His wife Lynn said she was a little annoyed, since they had to pay to get into the park.
On the other hand, she said, “It actually looks much cleaner, because usually when you come here the trash cans are overflowing. So it actually looks nicer.”
It turns out when people are asked to take their trash home, they generally do. The proof is right across the river, where the C&O Canal National Historical Park has been trash-can-free for more than a decade. The Great Falls site manager says his trash-free program in rooted in sustainability. For other parks it’s about sequestration and budget cuts.
“Well, we had to reduce costs this year, like all of the national parks,” said Patty Wissinger, superintendent of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Georgia, where more than three million people go every year to beat the Atlanta heat.
“Trash operations and picking up litter are pretty expensive for us,” she said. “Because we’re spread out 48 miles, we have 18 different recreation areas in those 48 miles that we’ve got trash cans at.”
Or did, until April, when they took out 134 of them. The fuel, vehicle, and labor savings add up to about $76,000 – still just part of Chattahoochee’s required budget cut. And Chattahoochee’s not alone. National parks in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Mississippi have all reduced or removed trash cans as budgets tightened in recent years.
Patty Wissinger says she’s been pleasantly surprised how supportive people are. There’s just one group of holdouts.
“What we just haven’t seemed to be able to conquer yet is how to get people to take their pet waste with them when they leave the park,” she says.
They just leave it in politely tied baggies along the trail. But Wissinger also points out that, years ago, nobody bagged their pet waste at all. Behavior does change. And as trash cans disappear from parks, it will just have to change a little faster.
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