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April 12, 2014 

Food and beverage

When the stewardess gives you lemons …

Airline passengers might notice something missing these days from their vodka tonics or Diet Cokes: the lime.

A recent spike in the price of limes has caused some airlines – for now – to stop offering the fruit in their beverage service.

“We temporarily pulled limes about two weeks ago, due to skyrocketing lime prices,” says Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Halley Knigge. She says the airline normally goes through about 900 limes a day.

Lime growers in the Mexican state of Michoacan have reduced their supply because of unrest caused by drug cartels and flooding from heavy rains. That, combined with drought in California and an overall growing demand for limes for margaritas, tacos and other dishes, has driven up prices to a three-year high.

The average advertised price of a lime in U.S. supermarkets was 56 cents last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s up from 37 cents the week ending March 28 and 31 cents a year ago.

Online video

WWE’s new online network popular

Vince McMahon is on the way to pinning down online video.

WWE’s new online network has signed up about 667,287 subscribers and is projected to hit 1 million by the end of the year, which the company said was the magic number for the service to break even.

Launched on Feb. 24, the WWE Network costs subscribers $9.99 a month. Content includes access to all of WWE’s pay-per-view events including Sunday’s “Wrestlemania” event. There is also a library of vintage WWE programs available. Subscribers must make a six-month commitment.

Advertising

Taco Bell targets McDonald’s again

Taco Bell is taking another jab at McDonald’s in a new ad for its breakfast menu.

The fast-food chain will begin airing a TV spot that is set to the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and shows a man who has been eating Egg McMuffins since 1984. After trying Taco Bell’s breakfast, the man trims his mullet, switches to tighter pants, gets a smartphone and takes down his “Loverboy” poster.

It’s a follow up to another ad that featured real-life men named Ronald McDonald professing their love of Taco Bell’s breakfast (notably, the men were paid to appear in those spots). If Taco Bell seems fixated with McDonald’s, it’s with good reason; McDonald’s has long been the heavyweight in the fast-food breakfast category with 31 percent of the market, according to food industry researcher Technomic.

The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times contributed.

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