Articles

Is this the $10 Christmas?

Since America’s consumers got a fat lump of coal as an early holiday gift from Wall Street, they’ll be figuring ways to surround the bottom of their Christmas trees with festive wrapped packages that don’t put them further in debt. More price-sensitive and cash-poor than any Christmas in recent memory, shoppers won’t disappoint their kids even if they can’t afford much. Low-cost presents will rein. The Walmart 2008 Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey found that one-third of Americans buy gifts for their children before spouses, friends, anyone. The current twist in a dismal economy: 39% plan to buy less expensive items, 35% will start shopping earlier, and 35% will scratch people off of their gift lists. Therefore, Walmart dropped prices on 10 popular toys to $10 for the holiday season. Among them: Barbie, Play-Doh, Hot Wheels, Tonka and Clue branded items. Rival Target also promised “popular toys for $10 or less” and “the best prices on the most-wanted items.” Once consumers recover from the shock of Dow Jones gyrations, and start to focus on the holiday, advertising from these big media spenders could begin to register and imprint 2008 as the Year of the $10 Christmas.

Oct 10, 2008 Read More

Why Wegmans’ Self-Scan Test Matters

One could understand the reluctance of Wegmans to test self-scanners until now. Impulse purchases by women drop by 32%, and by men 16%, in self-checkout lanes, according to the latest North American Self-Checkout Systems Market Study by IHL Consulting Group. But 72% of U.S. consumers already hold a positive view of self-checkout, said IHL, so even a service-leading chain like Wegmans risks little on this count by introducing the front-end technology. It’s mainstream, after all: think pay-at-the-pump fuel, bank ATMs—and the $137 billion in self-checkout rings in 2006.

Oct 10, 2008 Read More

Coffee and Cigarettes: One May Help Curb Alcohol Addiction

The ubiquitous image of attendees at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings grasping a mug of coffee may turn out to be a revealing portrait of behavior that can actually contribute to longer lasting recovery, according to a report featured in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER).

Oct 06, 2008 Read More

Myrna's Skinny Crisps and Pancake Mix

Last week Phil reviewed a great new products in his 5 New Products in 5 Minutes weekly video - Skinny Crisps Gourmet Crackers Seeded Flavor (they got 97 out of 100, in case you're wondering).

Oct 03, 2008 Read More

Paul Newman, R.I.P.

The food world lost a one-of-a-kind food visionary this week. Paul Newman, who in 1982, along with author A.E. Hotchner, started Newman's Own with a single product, Italian salad dressing, died this past week. Newman changed the food world in many ways. He did not follow the tried and true path...

Sep 30, 2008 Read More

The Right to COOL

The once lively and heated discussions about Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) are hushed these days, with the law finally taking effect on September 30th after 6 years of fighting. Many groups are still touting their projections that this new regulation will cost the industry (and subsequently the consumer) $2.5 billion in just the first year of implementation; and questioning just what is the point. The point came clear this past weekend with the announcement that over 50,000 children in China have become sick from tainted infant formula. Four children have already died. Unlike many of the food safety problems that we read about, this one was caused not by a bacterium or disease – but just from greed. Dairies in China had reportedly watered down milk and then added melamine to boost the protein levels, and their profits. Melamine, you may recall made headlines in 2007 when it was discovered that the compound was added to pet foods for the same purpose, and with similar results.

Sep 28, 2008 Read More

A Coupon is Now Worth ~ $1

Industry experts estimate a whopping 400 billion coupons will be distributed this year ... and this comes just in time! As more of us struggle to keep up with the rising food prices, using coupons is a quick and easy way to save big bucks. Since January of this year, more than $173 billion in coupons have been delivered just in those newspaper supplements and mailings alone. With the average face value of food coupons now at 91 cents each and non-food coupons worth an average $1.61 the savings can add up quickly. Tom Lemke, a talk-show guest on "Oprah", explained years ago how he bought more than $400 of groceries for less than $100 using coupons. And, while Lemke's level of success is rare, coupons can easily shave 15-20 percent from every grocery bill. That's an annual savings of over a $1,000 for a family of four.

Sep 26, 2008 Read More

Forget Irradiation!

Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved use of irradiation on still more foods; this time they approved the process for spinach and iceberg lettuce. Irradiation has been used for over 50 years on spices and in the past decades has spread to use on meats, poultry, and some shellfish. Irradiated foods must be labeled as such and carry the "radura" symbol. This logo is a green leaf like abstract centered in a white circle. Irradiated foods have not become mainstream. Many food industry experts believe that consumers are confused by the term "irradiation" and their questioning the safety of the process is an error in judgment. Although in Friday's announcement, the FDA did state that irradiating spinach and iceberg lettuce produces furan, a cancer-causing chemical – but did add that the level of the substance isn't high enough to cause worry.

Sep 26, 2008 Read More

Food Safety Warning

Over the past couple of years, the food industry has talked and talked and talked about what we would do to reduce the amount of food recalls and food safety problems. And how we as an industry could correct the problems, self-monitor and rebuild consumer confidence in the food supply. We talked too long - and now it's too late.

Sep 26, 2008 Read More

What's Next in Yogurt?

Let's take a look at the rise of yogurt and some new products that are destined to take the category even further. But first, what is yogurt anyway? All yogurt is made from milk and cream that has a culture of lactic acid producing healthful bacteria, either lactobacillus bulgaricus or streptococcus thermophilus or acidophilus. Read the labels to see if these are natural bacteria or acidified to produce the lactic acid necessary to sour milk into yogurt. Sweeteners may be added in the form of honey, sugar, or artificial sweeteners like aspartame or Splenda. Like all dairy products, yogurt should be refrigerated at least 40ºF; and will last for about one week at home. Read the expiration date before you buy. Freezing fresh yogurt is not recommended. The milk solids and water will naturally separate in most yogurts after opening. Simply discard the water, or mix it back into the yogurt. Although some commercial flavors include sweetened lemon, it is best not to add fresh lemon or the yogurt will curdle and sour. Here's what is coming next:

Sep 26, 2008 Read More

Back to Top