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Men’s Facial Skincare Market Growing, Though Only 25 Percent Of Men Use The Products

February 8, 2012: 02:16 AM EST
The vast majority of men over the age of 18 – 90 percent – are using grooming products, whether facial and body skincare, shaving products, hair care or fragrance products, according to a report from the NPD Group. But only a quarter of men are using facial skincare products such as moisturizers, cleansers, lip and eye products, and anti-aging treatments. Despite that, the men’s facial skincare market is growing steadily – up 11 percent in dollar sales in 2011 over 2010. NPD found that 37 percent use facial cleansers (not bar soap) and moisturizers, 30 percent use lip products and 26 percent use acne treatments.
"NPD Reports on the Men’s Grooming Industry: A Market Poised for Growth", News release, NPD, February 08, 2012, © The NPD Group, Inc.
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CDC Finds That Bread And Rolls Are The Major Source Of Sodium In The American Diet

February 7, 2012: 07:10 PM EST
A Center for Disease Control report on dietary sodium says bread and rolls – not salty snacks – are the number one source of salt in the U.S. diet. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said snack foods like potato chips, pretzels and popcorn rank only at No. 10 on CDC’s list of top sodium sources. The CDC was careful to clarify that bread and rolls aren’t themselves loaded with salt: but people tend to eat a lot more of them. The top 10 list accounts for 44 percent of the sodium in the American diet. Bread and rolls provide about seven percent of the salt, followed by cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, fast-food hamburgers and sandwiches, and cheese.
Mike Stobbe, "CDC: Bread beats out chips as biggest salt source", News feature via Google, February 07, 2012, via Google, © The Associated Press
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Walmart Spotlights Its Healthy Food Products With New “Great For You” Label

February 7, 2012: 08:17 PM EST
A “Great For You” label will begin to appear this spring on Walmart food products that meet the company's newly developed standards for healthiness and nutrition. The bright green labels, part of a recent commitment to boost the nutritional quality of the foods it sells, will appear on its Great Value and Marketside food lines. The labels will also be displayed on signs in the fresh fruit and vegetable sections of stores. The company will allow use of the label – without requiring a licensing fee – by non-store brands, as long as products meet the company’s nutritional standards.
Stephanie Strom, "Walmart to Label Healthy Foods", The New York Times, February 07, 2012, © The New York Times Company
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IFT To Work With U.N. Agency To Improve Global Food Safety, Security, Supply

February 6, 2012: 06:50 PM EST
The Institute of Food Technologists has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a U.N. agency to improve cooperation in “preventing and redressing the increased risks association with food safety and quality,” the IFT said in a statement. The mandate of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to world economy growth. According to the IFT, global food safety is essential to global food security, and through the MOU IFT hopes put its scientific and technical expertise to work toward achieving those goals. 
"IFT, FAO partner to address global food system needs", Press release, IFT, February 06, 2012, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Food Shoppers Are Planning Their Shopping Trips More Carefully To Stretch Their Money

February 4, 2012: 06:38 PM EST
Food and grocery industry researcher IGD says more than two thirds of British food shoppers take the time to plan their purchases before heading to the store, up from 47 percent in 2008. Planning usually involves a quick check of the cupboard, refrigerator, or freezer, the researcher said. In addition, consumers are shopping more frequently than they used to. Nearly half of those surveyed said they stop at the store at least three times a week, compared to 39 percent three years ago. Why the changes? Stagnant wages and rising costs (like fuel prices) are forcing shoppers to spend time planning grocery purchases “to secure the best value,” according to an IGD analyst.
"Shoppers plan and shop around more to secure best value", Press release IGD ShopperVista, February 04, 2012, © IGD ShopperVista
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Marketing To Ethnic Minorities Can Be A Tricky, But Profitable, Challenge

December 31, 2011: 10:55 PM EST
Some marketing experts believe that targeting ads at minority groups– who will be the majority of the American population within 30 years – is a waste of time unless the products are specifically for minorities. Instead ads for general consumer products should speak in “one voice” to the needs and desire that whites, African-Americans and Hispanics have in common. But other experts believe that ethic-focused advertising is still relevant today because ethnic origin is the real key to people’s identity. McDonald’s has had great success adjusting its menu offerings to appeal to Hispanics and African-Americans. Still, ethnic marketing can be tricky: neither Hispanics nor Asians, for example, are homogeneous markets.
"One message, or many?", The Economist, December 31, 2011, © The Economist Newspaper Limited
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Finish Closes In On Cascade’s Detergent Market Leadership With Controversial Advertising

December 27, 2011: 10:44 PM EST
The 2010 environmentally-inspired ban imposed on dishwasher detergents containing phosphates by several states has caused some controversy, Slate reports. When manufacturers removed phosphates, consumers found that their dishes weren’t getting as clean. Into the market breach came tough competition for stalwart brand Cascade. Finish, a longtime No. 2 contender in the market, touted in its ads – albeit obliquely – the high ratings from Consumer Reports as an effective post-phosphate product. The gambit has paid off – Finish has closed the market share gap with Cascade by 10 percent – but has spurred protests from Consumer Reports, which doesn’t allow tested products to use its ratings in ads.
Seth Stevenson, "The Dishwasher Wars", Slate, December 27, 2011, © The Slate Group, a Division of the Washington Post Company
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More And More Men Are Driving The Grocery Carts In A Recession-Induced Paradigm Shift

December 27, 2011: 02:49 AM EST
Though more and more men have been doing the grocery shopping and managing the household for decades, the recession – and the increase in layoffs – seems to have kicked the trend into high gear. The biggest of U.S. food and personal products makers have recognized the sea change and are paying closer attention to men, marketing products and rearranging store layouts to cater to them. Market researchers have noticed that males aged 18 to 50 are content to do the grocery shopping themselves or at least participate. GfK MRI and ESPN report that 31 percent of men nationwide are now the primary household grocery shoppers, more than double the 14 percent in 1985. And a Yahoo! survey of 1,000 fathers found that 51 percent were the primary grocery shoppers in their household.
Emily Bryson York, "More men taking the reins of the cart", Chicago Tribune, December 27, 2011, © Chicago Tribune
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In A Global First, Seoul Puts Electric Buses Into Commercial Service

December 27, 2011: 09:46 AM EST

For the first time anywhere in the world, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has put environmentally-friendly full-size electric buses into commercial operation. The move, which will improve the city’s air quality, is the culmination of a one-and-a-half-year long project, and, according to SMG, puts the city in the lead with respect to large-sized electric vehicle technology. The buses’ high-capacity lithium–ion batteries can reach full charge in less than one-half hour, and they incorporate an energy-saving system that captures and reuses energy generated from braking. SMG initially replaced five gas-powered buses with the new electric buses, and plans to put 120,000 electric vehicles into service by 2020.

"Seoul Starts Operations of Electric Buses -- First in the World", PRNewswire-Asia , December 27, 2011, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Despite Many Depressing Headlines, Africa’s Economy And Middle Class Are Surging

December 25, 2011: 02:22 AM EST
Economic growth is the watchword in Africa, supported by a burgeoning of a middle class that now comprises 313 million people – 34 percent of the population and triple the level of 30 years ago. Optimistic developers and entrepreneurs are reshaping Africa’s infrastructure to accommodate the new spending power, despite gloomy headlines in 2011 about revolution in north Africa and famine in Somalia. Since 2001, six of the world's 10 fastest-growing countries were African. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Africa’s economy will grow 6 percent this year and again in 2012, about the same as Asia. One of the more remarkable examples of Africa’s booming economy is Nigeria, where GDP quintupled from $46 billion in 2000 to $248 billion in 2011.
David Smith and Lucy Lamble Tunis, "Africa's burgeoning middle class brings hope to a continent", The Guardian (London), December 25, 2011, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Dollar Stores Rake In Holiday Business As Job Market, Economy Remain Mired In Slump

December 21, 2011: 11:46 PM EST
Consumers on a tight budget this holiday season have made dollar stores a favored destination for Christmas shopping. Many of the stores have done their best to provide a more attractive shopping venue, having spruced up their facilities and product lines to better meet the needs of budget-conscious gift givers. Industry observers expect dollar stores to turn in healthy sales performances as the job market and economy continue in a slump: fourth quarter sales increases of at least 4.2 percent are forecast for stores that have been open at least a year. Dollar stores have expanded rapidly in recent years, with several chains operating thousands of outlets across the country.
Shan Li, "Dollar stores thrive as holiday shopping destinations", Los Angeles Times, December 21, 2011, © Los Angeles Times
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Positive 4th Quarter Economic Data Does Not Necessarily Signal A Turnaround

December 22, 2011: 02:28 AM EST
Positive economic data released recently on jobless benefits claims, new home construction, and small business confidence are sparking optimism among investors, economists and policy makers. But, The New York Times warns, that optimism should be laced with a dose of caution. The positive economic signs may be caused by “temporary factors,” and some economic forecasters say the uptick does not signal “a strong, sustainable recovery.” Why the pessimism? Positive trends in the fourth quarter may not continue into next year, and the U.S. economy is still facing some major unsettling forces: Europe’s persistent sovereign debt crisis, domestic cutbacks beyond the control of President Obama, and the fact that the unemployment rate is likely to hover around 8.6 percent through next year’s presidential election.
Annie Lowrey, "Signs Point to Economy's Rise, But Experts See a False Dawn", The New York Times, December 22, 2011, © The New York Times Company
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Diversity In Advertising Means More Than Just Appearance

December 22, 2011: 02:35 AM EST
A survey by Yahoo!, Mindshare and Added Value has found that digital marketers are failing to reach blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans because the message often does not resonate with them at a cultural level. The survey found that 78 percent of blacks, 74 percent of Hispanics and 72 percent of Asians agreed that diversity in ads is important, but that diversity should not just be reflected in appearance, i.e., substituting a black family for a white family. According to a Yahoo! executive, respondents complained that brands “are not speaking to concepts that are relatable to me.” Ads need to reflect core values and interests: for example, an ad with a Hispanic family might show them sitting down and enjoying a meal together.
"Ethnic Groups Don’t See Themselves in Advertising, Digital Content", eMarketer, December 22, 2011, © eMarketer Inc.
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Facebook Expands Advertising Into News Stream With Sponsored Stories

December 20, 2011: 11:54 PM EST
In preparation for its upcoming IPO, Facebook says it will begin to feature "Sponsored Story" ads from marketers in users' news feeds in January. The change will boost the presence of marketers beyond the right margins of pages – and boost ad income. The higher ad rate sponsored story ads, which feature friend endorsements, are considered Facebook’s most “buzzed-about” ad product and for the first time will appear in the news stream, increasing their visibility. A small group of advertisers will take part in the launch. Users will see only one sponsored story daily in their news feed during the initial phases. In addition, mobile users will not see the sponsored ads until March, according to a Bloomberg report.
Cotton Delo , "Facebook to Start Placing Ads in User News Feeds in January", Advertising Age, December 20, 2011, © Crain communications
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Continuing Higher Prices: Just One Food Industry Trend For 2012

December 20, 2011: 11:52 PM EST
Supermarket Guru sees food prices continuing to rise in 2012, thanks to greater demand for exports and global weather and other environmental conditions, plus higher fuel, feeds, packaging and food safety costs. A growing sense of community, perhaps driven by food blogs and ubiquity of mobile devices, is fueling a trend toward group food experiences. Aand aging baby boomers – all 76 million of them – are driving the popularity of healthy foods and beverages. A few more of the 10 key trends for 2012: rising consumer interest in the origins of their food supply, increased use of mobile devices to obtain food information and bargain offers, and the rise of ethnic food trucks as a replacement for gourmet and specialty stores.
Phil Lempert, "2012 Food Trends to Watch", Supermarket Guru, December 20, 2011, © Phil Lempert/Consumer Insight, Inc.
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Data-Driven Forecasts For Social Media In 2012 From ClickZ

December 20, 2011: 12:06 AM EST
After scrutinizing millions of transactions powered by its platform, ClickZ came up with a data-driven group of forecasts for social media marketing in 2012. At the top of the list is the prediction that marketers will use Facebook less for purely promotional reasons, and more for gaining consumer feedback on improving brand experience using Q&A-style feedback formats. ClickZ also sees less focus on custom-tabbed Facebook pages and more emphasis on building apps with a “gamification” component. Other trends? More emphasis on building ongoing “social rewards” programs, more localization of content, more emphasis on visual content, and less analysis of “static, single-source social data” and more analysis of “integrated, real-time intelligence.”
Michael Heffring , "6 Reasons Why 'Less Is More' Will Be the Social Marketing Mantra in 2012", ClickZ, December 20, 2011, © Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC
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P&G Partners To Advance Smartphone Barcode Scanning Technology

December 19, 2011: 03:49 AM EST
Procter & Gamble says it is partnering with mobeam inc. to bring a fully mobile electronic couponing solution to market. Mobeam makes electronic coupons presented on a phone or other mobile device scannable so shoppers can use phones or handhelds at check out instead of paper coupons. Couponing has become a huge business – $3.7 billion in North America alone – as consumers search for greater value and savings. Smartphone coupon use has not been possible, however, because screen barcodes cannot be read by laser scanners. Mobeam technology converts the barcode data into readable light beams. The P&G partnership will test efficient methods for consumers to redeem – and retailers to accept – POS coupons.
"Mobeam Partners with Procter & Gamble to Reinvent the Coupon", News release, P&G, December 19, 2011, © Procter & Gamble
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Ad Agency Spotlights Six Trends Shaping American Society

December 19, 2011: 03:23 AM EST
Advertising agency Leo Burnett says American society has evolved to the point where the so-called “Big Plan” – school, marriage, kids, corporate ladder – no longer applies. Instead, America is now a place where men stay at home, women are the breadwinners, and 40 percent of children are born to single women. In a new study, the company sheds light on six key trends shaping American society: a decline in the sense of fairness and a rise in unhappiness; the disappearance of the “average” family;” the end of the universal archetype of masculinity; increasing interest in healthier restaurant fare; a rise in “collective bargaining” for better deals on consumer goods and services; and the pervasiveness of social/mobile technology requiring marketers to provide practical solutions to consumer problems.
"Six Key Consumer Trends for 2012 and Beyond", Progressive Grocer, December 19, 2011, © Stagnito Media
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L’Oréal To Build Research Center In Rio De Janeiro

December 19, 2011: 03:40 AM EST
L’Oréal says it will build a research and innovation center on Bom Jesus Island in Rio de Janeiro. The L’Oréal Group, which has been operating in Brazil for 50 years, is hiring local specialized talent and scientific partnerships with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro to pursue the work. The company will invest €30 million ($39 million) in building the center, and expects to create 150 direct jobs by 2015. A memorandum of understanding with the city of Rio is to acquire land with a total surface area of over 28,000 square meters. According to the company, the center will serve to accelerate the growth of innovative products tailored for the Brazilian and Latin American markets.
"L’Oréal Enters Deal To Build A Research And Innovation Center In Rio De Janeiro", Press release, L’Oréal, December 19, 2011, © L’Oréal
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Skin Care Market In Africa, Middle East Has A Healthy Glow

December 18, 2011: 02:19 AM EST
Market researcher Euromonitor is forecasting strong growth in the skin care category in Africa and the Middle East through 2015. Driving the growth are efforts by international giants like Beiersdorf, Procter & Gamble and Unilever to boost market share. Euromonitor says the trend will be especially strong in the large and robust markets of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iran and South Arica. The current CAGR of skin care sales between 2005 and 2010 is 12 percent, much healthier than the global market, which expanded by only seven percent. Key drivers in these markets: an expanding economy in South Africa, more female workers – and higher spending – in Saudi Arabia, aggressive marketing/advertising of skin care products in Iran, and the dominance of facial care products in the UAE.
"Africa and the Middle East: Skin Care Market Set to Beat the Recession", Euromonitor, December 18, 2011, © Euromonitor International
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Kraft Says Sustainability, Environmental Efforts Are Proving To Be Effective

December 14, 2011: 09:23 PM EST
Kraft Foods announced results of a sustainability and environmental survey that measured the company’s impact on climate change, land and water use. Most of the company’s environmental footprint – about 90 percent – originates on non-company farms that grow ingredients for its products. The survey supports the work of sustainable agriculture efforts on key commodities to improve crop yields, reduce environmental impacts and improve the lives of farm workers and their families. The company said it also continues to build upon previous success around energy, carbon dioxide, water, waste and packaging reductions.  The multi-year footprinting project was conducted with Quantis Inc. and reviewed by World Wildlife Fund and the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.
"Kraft Foods Maps Its Total Environmental Footprint", Press release, Kraft Foods, December 14, 2011, © Kraft Foods
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Healthy Slice Of American Adults Eat Vegetarian At Least Part Of The Time

December 14, 2011: 09:37 PM EST
A Harris Interactive telephone survey sponsored by the Vegetarian Resource Group has found that about a third of adult Americans eat vegetarian meals a significant amount of the time, along with committed vegetarians. The finding, according to the VRG, provides a reason for companies producing vegetarian foods to be optimistic. And, “No wonder so many restaurants have added vegetarian options.” Seventeen percent of adult Americans eat no meat, fish, seafood, or poultry at many of their meals, though less than half the time, and 16 percent don't eat these foods at more than half of their meals, but not all the time. Almost half (48 percent) of those surveyed said they eat meat, fish or poultry at every meal. The survey was conducted between March 30 and April 3 of 2011 among 1,010 adults.
Charles Stahler, "How Often Do Americans Eat Vegetarian Meals? And How Many Adults in the U.S. Are Vegan?", Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG), December 14, 2011, © Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG)
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Retail Stores Borrow From The Online Marketers’ Textbook: High-Tech Shopper Tracking

December 14, 2011: 02:02 AM EST
Use of sophisticated technology to track customer shopping and purchasing behaviors has been a tool of online marketers for many years. But now brick-and-mortar retailers are getting into the act, putting security cameras and mobile phone tracking to work to gain consumer shopping intelligence. The sophisticated technologies give retail store – from discount chains to luxury stores – the ability to analyze collected data and adjust marketing strategies on the fly. A brand manager for premium pen maker Montblanc says such intelligence led his company to deploy more salespeople to a particular department or moving high-margin merchandise to high-traffic areas in a store. The tactics seem to be working. Brick-and-mortar retailers have been able to boost sales and retain market share.
"Big Brother Is Watching You as Stores Seek Better Data: Retail", Business Week, December 14, 2011, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Vitamin D Supplementation Helps Protect Against Urinary Tract Infections

December 14, 2011: 12:24 PM EST

A study by Swedish researchers has found that boosting vitamin D levels in postmenopausal women to proper levels provides potent protection against urinary tract infections (UTIs). The researchers noted that vitamin D induces the production of cathelicidin, a human antimicrobial peptide secreted by bladder epithelial cells. Cathelicidin protects the urinary tract from threatening infections. The researchers examined biopsied bladder tissue from healthy postmenopausal women before and after intake of vitamin D over three months. Bladder cells infected with the bacterium E. coli, which causes UTI, showed a significant increase in cathelicidin expression after vitamin D supplementation. Taking a supplement to restore appropriate vitamin D levels “may therefore help prepare the bladder epithelium to mount a stronger and faster immune response once bacteria enter the bladder,” researchers concluded.
 

Olof Hertting, et al. , "Vitamin D Induction of the Human Antimicrobial Peptide Cathelicidin in the Urinary Bladder", PLoS ONE, December 14, 2011, © Hertting et al.
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Sales Of Herbal Anti-Lice Products For Children’s Scalps Are Anything But Lousy

December 13, 2011: 02:07 AM EST
With so-called “super lice” becoming more resistant to traditional treatments, parents have turned to such new herbal products as Rosemary Repel shampoo and conditioner, which the maker claims prevents lice from nesting in children’s hair. Other new products include Zippity Doo's Styling Gel for Children (with lemongrass, Tea Tree oil and other plant-based ingredients); Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel, sold at salons; and Lice Shield shampoo and conditioner (containing extracts of citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary and lemongrass). Sales of prescription lice removal treatments rose to $73.8 million last year, a 15 percent increase from 2006, according to market research. Sales of over-the-counter lice prevention and removal treatments are up 11 percent over the past five years to $78.9 million.
Timothy W. Martin, "Parents' Latest Pick: Herbal Shampoos to Keep Away Lice", Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Retail Convergence Trend: Brick-And-Mortar Retailers Use Pop-Up Stores To Boost Online Sales

December 12, 2011: 01:55 AM EST
Brick-and-mortar retailers are now using pop-up stores, which are open for a short time to boost certain brands, to drive shoppers to store Web sites. eBay’s London store, for example, opened a pop-up store to tout products available online to smartphone shoppers who can scan barcodes. Walmart is testing the pop-up concept with two stores that will close at the end of the holiday season. The stores, which highlight certain toys and consumer electronics, allow shoppers to sit at stations to browse and order additional products online using tablets and laptops. Industry experts say the phenomenon is a sign of the convergence trend: offline and online stores working together to boost sales and brand loyalty.
Olivia Oran, "E-Retailers Pop Up Outside Cyber Space", The Street, December 12, 2011, © TheStreet, Inc
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Dollar Tree Launches Mobile-Optimized Commerce Web Site

December 8, 2011: 02:47 AM EST
Dollar Tree has created a commerce-enabled Web site featuring inventory search by category or keyword, a store locator, advanced product image galleries, social sharing, and expandable and collapsible menus. Perhaps most important for the holiday season, the site is mobile-optimized for smartphones and tablets. The site also incorporates Facebook and Twitter so customers can interact and “further build on the brand and customer relationship.” The company hopes the new site will boost traffic to its stores in addition to enhancing online sales.
Rimma Kats, "Dollar Tree introduces mobile site for on-the-go shoppers", Mobile Commerce Daily, December 08, 2011, © Napean LLC
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Retail Sales Online, In Stores Leap To Record Levels Over Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday

November 30, 2011: 04:11 AM EST
The Monday after Thanksgiving, known as Cyber Monday, was a red letter day for online retailers this year. In a sign of consumers’ growing comfort with shopping on the Internet, online sales leaped 22 percent to $1.25 billion, with the average online order rising 2.6 percent to $193.24. Web traffic jumped 28 percent on Monday. A record 226 million shoppers visited stores and Web sites over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, up from 212 million last year. And Black Friday sales rose seven percent to $11.4 billion.
Mae Anderson, "Cyber Monday sales set online shopping record", The Boston Globe, November 30, 2011, © NY Times Co.
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Relaxation Of India’s Rules On Foreign Retail Ownership Could Energize Country’s Economy

November 25, 2011: 04:37 AM EST
The Indian government has agreed for the first time to allow multi-brand foreign retailers to own up to 51 percent of joint ventures in the country, a move that opens up one of the largest – 1.2 billion consumers and $400 billion – retail markets in the world. The government also loosened rules for single-brand retailers, allowing companies like Nike to own 100 percent of their businesses in India, instead of just 51 percent. The rule changes are likely to spur an influx of retailers, the Wall Street Journal reports, and have "the potential to transform not only the retailing landscape but also the nation's ailing infrastructure.” It is also likely to jump start the country’s sluggish economy.
Megha Bahree, "India Unlocks Door for Global Retailers", Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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New Outdoor Marketing Technologies Encourage Greater Consumer Involvement In Brands

November 24, 2011: 01:32 AM EST
Marketing Week provides numerous examples of how companies are applying interactive technology to outdoor marketing campaigns to boost and extend consumer awareness of brands through “experiential” activity. Smart outdoor media lengthens “dwell time” for brands such as Heineken, Lynx, Green Giant and British Airways by persuading consumers to interact with, for example, digital out-of-home (OOH) screens and other displays. According to Marketing Week, revenues tied to digital OOH reached £101 million ($156 million) in 2010. About 16 percent of the outdoor marketing expenditures last year were focused on OOH. A growing number of consumers – 60 percent according to a recent survey – want more interaction with digital OOH screens. Forty-seven percent are eager to download discount vouchers from OOH screens to their mobile phones.
Laura Snoad, "Smart media network enters great outdoors", Marketing Week, November 24, 2011, © Centaur Media plc
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Looming Retirement Crisis Has Many Implications For U.S. Economy

November 23, 2011: 01:28 AM EST
A recent Gallup poll found that 66 percent of Americans believe not having enough money for retirement is their top financial concern. That financial anxiety ranking is 53 percent higher than it was a decade ago and underscores the probability that baby boomers – the first wave of which turned 65 this year – are the first generation since the 1930s who will be worse off economically in old age than their parents. The findings suggest that the United States stands on the brink of a looming retirement crisis with many implications: for U.S. consumer spending, for younger workers as baby boomers stay in the workforce, and for “further strains on the federal government's already ugly budget picture” as the elderly seek financial aid.
Tom Brown, Reuters, "U.S. on threshold of retirement crisis amid rising baby boomer population, growing threat of poverty", Chicago Tribune, November 23, 2011, © Thomson Reuters
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Grocery Retailers Upgrade Marketing Of In-House Products To Lure Value-Conscious Shoppers

November 23, 2011: 01:01 AM EST
As budget-conscious grocery shoppers hunt for deals during the economic slump, retailers like Safeway, Kroger and Supervalu are paying more and more attention – and spending more dollars – hyping their own less-expensive product lines. No longer particularly worried about offending big packaged goods brands, retailers are devoting greater shelf space to their private-label offerings. Market researcher packaged Facts says that through mid-November store brands accounted for 31.4 percent of the 14,400 new food and beverage items that debuted this year in the U.S. That’s twice the share logged in 2010. To keep the momentum growing, retailers are plucking experienced marketers from companies like P&G and PepsiCo to revamp and innovate  their product marketing.
Matthew Boyle, "Why Grocers Are Boosting Private Labels", Businessweek, November 23, 2011, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Extended Families On The Rise In The U.S., And It’s Not A Temporary Trend

November 23, 2011: 01:09 AM EST
A variety of factors – economic, social and demographic – are working together to push more and more families to share living space at least temporarily, and often permanently. The recession has had a major impact, of course. But beyond that, people are waiting longer to marry and men and women are living longer. Immigration has risen steadily, and immigrant family members are more likely to live together. It’s an ongoing trend, analysts say. According to the 2010 Census, 5.1 million households in the U.S. (4.4 percent) are multigenerational – a 21 percent increase from 4.2 million (3.7 percent) in 2000. Between 2005 and 2011, the proportion of young adults ages 25 to 34 living in their parents' home rose from 14 percent to 19 percent for men and from 8 percent to 10 percent for women.
Sharon Jayson, "All together now: Extended families; Economy, immigration alter living arrangements", USA TODAY, November 23, 2011, © USA Today, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
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Retailers Lead Rankings Of U.K. Companies Most Loved By Families

November 23, 2011: 01:34 AM EST
The 2011 FamilyBrands survey, whose goal is to find out which consumer product brands in the U.K. are most favored by the whole family, ranks retailer Marks & Spencer at the top of the list, followed by cosmetics and skin care retailer Boots and household cleaner marketer Fairy. According to Popsop, it is not surprising that M&S tops the list because department stores are ”the symbol of unity for a family since there everyone can find something just for him or her.” The survey asked 1,500 adult consumers to rate brands on criteria such as “socially responsible,” “caring” and “good listeners.” Four other retailers besides M&S fill out the top ten spots, though the survey ranks companies in 12 categories, including food + drinks, politics, FMCG, digital, airlines, restaurants, etc.
Anna Rudenko, "UK’s Top Family Brands 2011: Retailers Take the Lead", Popsop, November 23, 2011, © Popsop Ltd.
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Do Low Heel Women’s Shoes Signal Rosier Times Ahead?

November 23, 2011: 01:26 AM EST
IBM researchers who analyzed data from social media sites and blogs found that women’s flat shoes and kitten heels are in fashion again – and that may portend an easing of the economic crisis. IBM’s Trevor Davis notes that heel height varies inversely with economic trends: “in an economic downturn, heels go up and stay up” because flashier fashions may be a way to escape dismal realities. Portfolio.com reports that at the height of the economic crisis in 2009, the median height of women's heels peaked at seven inches. That median has dropped to two inches in 2011.
"High Heels Are New Economic Indicator, IBM Analysis Shows", TheHuffingtonPost.com, November 23, 2011, © TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
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New App For Mobile Devices Tells Consumers Which Eco-Labels Are Truthful

November 15, 2011: 10:05 PM EST
Consumer Reports has introduced an app for smartphones and other mobile devices that tells consumers which green product labels are verifiably meaningful and truthful. The new Eco-Label app, available on iTunes, provides reviews of label terms like “hypoallergenic,” “natural,” and “organic”. The Eco-Label App lets consumers search for information by alphabetical label index or by product, including foods, cleaners, and personal care products. The app also provides a label "report card," which offers clear guidance on which labels make truthful and meaningful claims, and which do not. The app costs $.99 and is located under the Utilities category in the App Store, according to Consumer Reports.
"New Eco-Label mobile app for iPhone and iPad decodes green product labels and claims", News report, Consumer Reports.org, November 15, 2011, © Consumers Union of U.S.
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Emiratis Eat Breakfast Daily, But Few Partake In Regular Physical Exercise

November 15, 2011: 06:51 PM EST
A nationwide survey conducted among 750 residents of the United Arab Emirates has found that about three-fourths eat breakfast daily and nearly two-thirds eat three meals a day. The bad news, however, is that 59 percent consider themselves obese or overweight, only six percent consider fruits and vegetables a key component of a healthy diet, and most of the respondents relieve daily stress by surfing the Internet or watching TV rather than engaging in physical activity. Forty-nine percent of the respondents were of Arab nationalities, and of these 22 percent were Emiratis. Asians, subcontinent and Western expats constituted 51 percent of the respondents.
"Health survey shows 76% eat breakfast now", Khaleejtimes.com, November 15, 2011, © Khaleej Times
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Johnson & Johnson Says Its Removing Dangerous Chemicals From Baby Products

November 16, 2011: 02:15 AM EST
Johnson & Johnson announced that it will continue work toward removing traces of two unsafe chemicals from its baby products. The announcement reportedly comes after two years of pressure from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, an international coalition of consumer and environmental groups, to remove two potentially carcinogenic ingredients from Johnson's Baby Shampoo. J&J recently said it had removed the potential carcinogen 1,4-dioxane and quaternium-15, a chemical that releases the preservative formaldehyde from products in several countries, including the U.K., Scandinavia and South Africa. The campaign is pushing J&J to remove the chemicals from products sold in the U.S., China and elsewhere. J&J told The Associated Press that all quarternium-15 will be gone from its baby products within two years, and sooner for baby shampoo.
Linda A. Johnson, "J&J steadily removing toxins from baby products", News report, The Associated Press, November 16, 2011, © The Associated Press
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What Types Of Products Are “Necessities” Among Today’s Consumers – And Why

November 14, 2011: 03:24 AM EST
Despite the fact that jobless rates are still high, housing prices and demand are still low, and world financial markets are wobbly, consumers still purchase products they feel are a necessity, rather than just a want or a “can live without,” Advertising Age reports. But purchasing a necessity – an iPhone, for example, among some people, or Internet connectivity – means that other products are not purchased. Consumers are rethinking spending, they are reprioritizing. And that presents both challenges and opportunities for marketers: how do you move a product from a "want" to a "need" and keep it from becoming a "can live without"? Ad Age presents the results of a survey it conducted among 1,000 Americans, asking them what products or services they absolutely can’t live without – and which ones they can.
Matt Carmichael , "The New Necessities: What Products and Services Can Consumers Not Live Without?", Advertising Age, November 14, 2011, © Crain Communications
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Walmart To Award $1.5 M In Grants To Local Nonprofit Nominated On Facebook

November 14, 2011: 03:05 AM EST
Walmart has launched a campaign on Facebook that allows users to nominate nonprofit organizations from local communities to receive a slice of a $1.5 million grant pie during the holiday season. The "12 Days of Giving" campaign will accept submissions of local organizations that are providing basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and baby supplies. For the campaign, which runs through November 30, Facebook users need to provide a 200-word description, with photos, of a local nonprofit that describes the organization’s impact on the community. Winners of the grant money will be announced on Facebook daily from December 12-23.
"Walmart Launches "12 Days of Giving" Campaign on Facebook", News release, Walmart, November 14, 2011, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Mobile Commerce Surging, But Marketers Need A Strategy To Connect With Consumers

November 10, 2011: 03:15 AM EST
Consumers are gaining the upper hand in the buyer-seller relationship, The NPD Group reports, thanks to the increasing emergence of mobile devices, social networking and cloud computing. The trend is likely to continue for years, because shipments of smartphones and tablets are outrunning shipments of desktops and laptops. Within a couple of years, mobile commerce will surpass $100 billion worldwide. All of these trends suggest a huge opportunity for marketers who can connect with consumers and enrich customer relationships. But it requires a dedicated strategy for the development of viable mobile commerce models.
Jane Danziger et al., "Multichannel 3.0: The Mobile Revolution", Report, Boston Consulting Group , November 10, 2011, © The Boston Consulting Group
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Surging Spending By China’s Online Shoppers Presents A Huge Opportunity

November 10, 2011: 03:27 AM EST
Online spending by Chinese consumers will soar over the next five years, but marketers looking to take advantage of the trend will need an active, targeted online strategy that accounts for the unique behaviors, demands, and challenges, according to the Boston Consulting Group, which conducted a survey among 4,000 online shoppers. Two key drivers – rising personal incomes and comfort with online shopping – are fueling the projected spending increase. According to BCG, China’s 145 million e-shoppers aren’t just looking for bargains, they are searching for unique products and “an engaging online experience.” China’s e-commerce market could reach RMB 2 trillion ($315 billion) by 2015. Nearly half of China’s urban consumers – accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s GDP – will be shopping both on- and offline within the next five years.
Jeff Walters et al., "Selling to China’s E-Shoppers", Report, Boston Consulting Group , November 10, 2011, © The Boston Consulting Group
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Hispanics Who Dine Out Like To Have The Kids Along

November 9, 2011: 03:41 PM EST
About 40 percent of restaurant visits by Hispanics include children, according to a market study by The NPD Group. In fact, Hispanics who like to dine out say they would do it more often if more restaurants made children feel welcome. In contrast, only 30 percent of non-Hispanic restaurant visits include children. Forty-five percent of Hispanic restaurant visits are in groups of three or more compared to 32 percent for non-Hispanics. NPD’s Michele Schmal said that “restaurant operators and food manufacturers would do well to focus marketing to Hispanics around the family and children.”
"U.S. Hispanics Consider Restaurant Dining a Family Affair, Reports NPD", Market report, NPD, November 09, 2011, © NPD
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Americans Love Their Snacks – Survey

November 8, 2011: 06:56 PM EST
Forty percent of Americans say they prefer to curb their hunger with snack foods throughout the day rather than by eating the traditional three square meals, according to a survey by Snack Factory’s Pretzel Crisps brand. More than three fourths (78 percent) said they eat snack foods for lunch and 55 percent eat snacks for dinner. The trend toward substituting snacks for full-course meals is greater among younger people – ages 18 to 49 years. Only 31 percent of people age 50 or older skip meals for snacks. But the survey found that  whatever the age, “more and more people are relying on snacks to get them through the day.”
"A Little Bite Goes a Long Way: The Growing Role of Snacks in America", News release, Snack Factory, November 08, 2011, © Snack Factory
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Seven Key Restaurant Trends To Watch In 2012

November 8, 2011: 06:48 PM EST
Food industry consultant Technomic says restaurants will be affected by seven key trends during 2012. At the top of the list is a consumer preference for familiar comfort foods and formats that offer novel flavors. Also, diners are demanding rustic fare using simple preparations and fresh ingredients. This trend will push restaurant operators to curtail purchases of value-added items in favor of cheaper cuts, beans, grains and produce that can be transformed into home-style food. Other trends include: growing use of seasonal and local-sourced foods, greater use of social networking to share restaurant experiences and opinions, increased demand for product and menu nutrition information, etc.
"Technomic names seven leading U.S. restaurant trends for 2012", Press Release, Technomic, November 08, 2011, © Technomic
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Peruvian Legislators Ban GMO Imports

November 4, 2011: 06:54 PM EST
Peru's Congress has imposed a 10-year moratorium on imports of genetically modified organisms (GMO) to safeguard the country's biodiversity. The measure, approved by an overwhelming margin, bans the importation of  GMOs such as seeds, livestock, and fish for cultivation or to be raised locally. The Congress did allow some exceptions: for example, GMO can be used for research in closed environments though they must be carefully monitored. The bill requires the signature of President Ollanta Humala before becoming law. Humala is a strong opponent of GMO programs. Peru earns about $3 billion a year from the export of organic food, including coffee and cocoa.
"Peru's Congress approves 10-year GMO ban", AFP, November 04, 2011, © AFP/Yahoo
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Sustainability Remains An Important Driver In Packaging Innovation – Study

November 1, 2011: 05:03 AM EST
Though sustainability has grown steadily over the past five years as a driver of innovation in packaging, momentum appears to have slowed, according to a study by Packaging Digest. “Slippage on key questions,” editorial director John Kalkowski says, doesn’t mean packagers no longer feel sustainability is important. The emphasis is growing, but at a slower pace. Respondents who say they are moderately familiar with sustainability issues slipped to 80 percent from 83 percent last year. But that’s much higher than the 52 percent at the same level in 2007. Forty-one percent said the emphasis on sustainability remained the same, and 55 percent said it had grown in their companies. Respondents cited economic conditions as a major reason why some businesses had scaled back their activities in sustainable packaging.
"Sustainability Shown as a Driving Factor in Packaging Decisions", News release, Packaging Digest, November 01, 2011, © Packaging Digest
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Consumer Focus On Shedding Pounds Drives Healthy Retail Sales Of Weight Loss Products

October 29, 2011: 08:41 PM EST
Consumers interested in losing weight are responding to marketing promises, driving healthy weight management product sales, according to a Euromonitor report. Weight loss companies have successfully upgraded their meal replacement lines, introducing new flavors for current products, and launching new powders, soups and bars. All have enjoyed success at the retail level. Palatability and texture have improved markedly, thanks to the application of new ingredient technologies. Meal replacement slimming and weight loss supplements posted the highest sales in the U.S., mainly because of strong promotional efforts from direct sellers Amway and Herbalife. “A combination of high overweight/obesity rates, affluence and the desire for a perfect body helped North America dominate retail value sales of weight management products in 2010,” Euromonitor said.
"An overview of weight management results 2009-2010", Euromonitor International, October 29, 2011, © Euromonitor International
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Survey Finds That Americans Believe Canned Foods Are Not As Nutritious As Frozen Or Fresh

October 25, 2011: 07:45 PM EST
A survey conducted by a group representing steelmakers and some food processors found that only 46 percent of Americans know that canned foods count toward U.S. government recommended dietary guidelines; 40 percent believe canned foods are less nutritious than frozen foods; and sixty percent believes canned foods are not as nutritious as fresh. But according to the Canned Food Alliance, food packaged in steel cans “can be just as nutritious (and sometimes more nutritious) than fresh and frozen varieties.” CFA Executive Director Rich Tavoletti said canned foods provide affordable, accessible and convenient nutrition.
"Survey: Consumers Underestimate Canned Foods’ Benefits", News release, Mealtime.org, October 25, 2011, © Canned Food Alliance
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Energy Drinks Aren’t Just For Athletes -- U.K. Study

October 24, 2011: 08:25 PM EST
A report from market researcher Mintel finds that 73 percent of Britons born in the 1990s – a group known as “Generation Z” – are heavy consumers of energy drinks, compared to only 31 percent of people over age 55. Nearly three quarters of 16- to 24-year-olds say they buy energy drinks because they like the taste, but 70 percent say it’s the energy boost that has them coming back for more. And though energy drinks are primarily marketed as a way to improve sports performance, only 59 percent of the Z crowd drink them for physical activity: 57 percent rely on them just to get through the day.
"Generation Zzz: younger consumers kept awake by energy drinks", Press release, MIntel, October 24, 2011, © Mintel
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