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Leave coffee behind, tea is hip

Will rooibos, oolong and yerba mate replace espresso, cappuccino and latte as the beverages du jour?

Teashops are becoming more common, with several springing up around the Southeast Valley in the past few months. One major reason for the growth, according to the Tea Association of the United States, is that consumers are more health-conscious.

With blended, flavored coffee drinks pushing 300 and 400 calories, switching to tea sometimes or all the time can be a way to watch the waistline. Also, herbal teas – though not technically made from the tea plant – do not contain caffeine.

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And many studies have linked some teas to health benefits, including lowering the risk for cancer. The Food and Drug Administration, however, has rejected claims that it helps reduce heart disease.

Elaine Kerns of Sun Lakes drinks tea because she believes it’s more healthful, though that’s just part of it. Her new “home away from home” has become Urban Tea Loft in Chandler, a chic tea salon/bar/restaurant.

“I think it’s fabulous,” she said. “Every time I go, I pick a different flavor.”


P&G sees earnings goal hit even without coffee business

Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) expects core earnings per share to grow in double digits on a percentage basis, in line with the company’s long-term goals, despite expected dilution from divesting its Folgers coffee business, company executives said on Thursday. The company announced plans to divest its coffee business to shareholders on Jan. 31. Chief Financial Officer Clayton Daley confirmed on Thursday the divestiture would likely be accomplished in a transaction that would cut P&G earnings by 3 cents to 5 cents a share annually, starting in fiscal year 2009, which begins in July.

“Our goal is to deliver double-digit core earnings-per- share growth even without the coffee business,” Daley said.

The world’s largest household and personal-care products maker also said it has not seen signs of consumers leaving its brands — which include Tide laundry detergent, Pampers diapers and Gillette razors — for lower-cost alternatives, despite the sluggish U.S. economy.

“We have not seen trade down to private label or lower- priced products,” Daley, P&G’s chief financial officer, said during a presentation to the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, held in Florida.

“The products we sell are simply not seen by consumers as discretionary,” Daley said.

Private-label products are either seeing flat or shrinking market share in P&G’s top 10 categories, while P&G is gaining market share in two-thirds or its business, Daley and Chief Executive A.G. Lafley said.

Like most consumer products companies, P&G has been raising prices across a host of products to help offset rising costs for oil and other commodities.

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