More than 165 million Americans shopped either in-store or online from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. More than 89 million people shopped both online and in stores, up nearly 40% from 2017. Spending was consistent with NRF's forecast of up to a 4.8% increase in holiday spending over the months of November and December. Top shopping destinations during the weekend included department stores (42%), online retailers (38%), grocery stores (30%), and discount stores (29%).
Just Imagine What The Numbers Would Be If Men Didn't Wait Until Christmas Eve To Shop! GI
A record $6.2 billion was spent online on Black Friday, a 23.6% increase from 2017, according to RetailNext. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar stores saw heavy traffic, but down from past years. For Thanksgiving and Black Friday, preliminary numbers show between a 4% and 7% decrease in sales in-store, and declines in foot traffic in the range of 5% to 9%, reported Newsday.
Once Again... See Comment Above! GI
Dasha Fincher had a bag of blue cotton candy in the car with her when two Monroe County, Georgia, sheriff's deputies pulled the vehicle over on New Year's Eve in 2016. The deputies—who said they pulled the car over because of its dark window tint, but allegedly later admitted the windows were legal—asked her about a bag on her seat; but didn't believe it was cotton candy. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes Fincher and the driver allegedly had suspended licenses at the time.) A roadside field test said there was meth in the bag and Fincher was arrested and charged with meth trafficking and possession with intent to distribute. She couldn't pay her $1 million bond and stayed in jail for three months; in March 2017, Georgia Bureau of Investigation tests revealed there had been no meth in the bag. Four weeks later, charges were dropped, and now Fincher is suing over the whole ordeal, WMAZ reports. Her federal lawsuit names the county, the deputies, and Sirchie Acquisitions, the company that manufactures the roadside drug test. Fincher alleges the test has a history of false positives, and that the blue food coloring used in the cotton candy triggered one. She also alleges the deputies were not trained in administering the test or in identifying street drugs, and that they ultimately violated her civil rights as a result. The suit says Fincher's incarceration caused her to miss "several major life events," including the birth of her twin grandsons, and that when her son brought the babies to the jail to meet her, he was arrested on an outstanding bench warrant. Shortly thereafter, the suit says that Fincher, "frustrated with her incarceration," broke her hand on a concrete wall.
If It Weren't For Bad Luck...She'd Have No Luck It All! Now I Want Some Cotton Candy! GI
Commercial crabbers in Oregon and California are suing 30 fossil fuel companies, alleging the companies are to blame for climate change, which has hurt their industry. The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations filed the lawsuit that points to scientific linkage between the combustion of fossil fuels and ocean warming, which resulted in a domoic acid outbreak that reduced the length of the crabbing season, reported OregonLive.com.
Now Global Warming Is Affecting A Crab's Sex Life! Just Throw Some Blue Pills In The Ocean...That Should Help! GI
New Jersey's restaurants can advertise that they let patrons bring their own alcohol after a federal judge found the state law unconstitutional. While the state has the authority to regulate conduct related to the alcoholic beverage industry, the judge ruled the authority doesn't extend to related speech, reported The Wichita Eagle.
We Like This Judge! "Judge BYOB"! GI
Dunkin' is testing self-serve cold-brew taps, order-pickup lockers, and AI technology that can help suggest orders based on customers' gender, age and mood. Dunkin' Brands' VP of strategic initiatives notes the company plans to embrace automation as it continues to rebrand. By moving towards automation for ordering, he adds, crew members can focus on preparing coffee and food, reported Business Insider.
Do We Really Need Some AI Computer Figuring Out What Doughnut We Should Eat? GI
Dunkin' warned customers that its mobile order and pay app DD Perks may have been hacked. Some usernames and passwords were obtained by third parties, gaining them access to customers' first and last names, their email addresses and their Perks account number. Dunkin' launched an internal investigation and forced a password reset, reported CNBC.
See...Modern Technology Stuck These People Right Up The Doughnut Hole! GI
CVS Health plans to reduce the amount of store space devoted to retail and shift more to healthcare after its acquisition of Aetna, according to the retailer's CEO. He notes CVS stores would still have an "array of products that are focused on health, beauty, personal care and elements of convenience" along with "added services," like recently hospitalized patient transportation to checkups and "access to food services," reported USA Today.
CVS-One Stop Medical Store! Prescriptions, Condoms, Snicker Bars & "The Doctor Will See You Now"! GI
Kraft Heinz will purchase Primal Kitchen for about $200 million, as it seeks to add healthier options to its offerings to increase sales. Primal Kitchen, a maker of condiments and salad dressings, is expected to generate about $50 million in sales in 2018 with its health-focused products based on the paleo diet, reported The Chicago Tribune.
Oh Great! I See Caveman Ketchup In Our Future! GI
Plant-based foods, robots and artisanal doughnuts are some of the restaurant and hospitality industry trends predicted for 2019, according to consulting firm af&co. Other trends include globally inspired breakfast and brunch menus, reducing food waste, Georgian cuisine and reinvented teas, reported Dallas Business Journal.
What The Hell Are Artis"anal" Doughnuts & Reinvented Teas? GI
Curcumin may improve exercise intolerance related to heart failure, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. The researchers found levels of antioxidant enzymes improved in mice given curcumin, a chemical that comes from the turmeric plant, and they had improved exercise capacity when compared with the untreated groups, reported ScienceDaily.
Be Careful How You Say Curcumin! GI
Starbucks signed a long-term renewable energy agreement with Constellation, an Exelon company. Under the agreement, Constellation will power more than 340 Starbucks company-operated stores in Illinois with 100% renewable energy produced by Enel Green Power North America Inc.'s Hill Topper wind project.
Renewable Energy From A Company Called "Enel"... Be Careful With That Name Too! GI
Merlin Entertainments will phase out the use of plastic straws at all of its Legoland parks by the end of 2018. The company will switch to paper straws by Dec. 31 and review other single-use plastic within its operations, reported The Ledger.
I'm Going To Start An Amusement Park Called Strawland! Can Probably Get A Good Deal On Plastic Straws Now! GI
Democratic lawmakers in Washington state plan to introduce legislation to ban single-use plastic bags in 2019. The measure would eliminate all plastic bags used for purchases and levy a 10-cent fee on paper bags. Passage of the bill would make Washington the second state in the U.S., after California, to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, reported The Seattle Times.
The Bags Aren't Single-Use! They Are Great As Trash Bags And Dog Pooper Bags! GI
Meanwhile, Salem, OR, banned plastic carryout bags throughout the city following a vote from the Salem City Council. Shoppers will be required to bring reusable bags to stores, or will pay a small fee for recyclable paper bags starting in 2019, reported The Oregonian.
Just Another Way For The Store To Make Money...Charging For Something That Used To Be Free! GI
German antitrust officials are investigating whether Amazon is preventing fair competition in the country's online marketplace. The Federal Cartel Office "initiated an abuse proceeding" over the company's treatment of third-party sellers, including withholding payments, blocking seller accounts without explanation, and use of sellers' information. The office will examine if Amazon's dominance is hindering other online retailers and if sellers have become dependent on Amazon to make sales, reported CNBC.
Stop The Investigation... Of Course They Are! For Years! That's Amazon's Plan To Take Over The World! GI
CDC issued an update in a salmonella outbreak linked to tahini products made by Achdut Ltd. As of Nov. 28, the outbreak reached five cases across three states.
Uh Oh! The Magic Humus Ingredient! The Chickpeas Are Getting Nervous! GI
A potential class action lawsuit was filed against Reed's Inc. alleging breach of express warranty, common law fraud, unjust enrichment and other counts. The suit argues the company's Root Beer and Orange Cream Soda are falsely advertised as being preservative-free as citric acid is an ingredient, reported Legal Newsline.
Do These Whackjob Plaintiffs Really Believe Citric Acid Isn't Natural? Shove An Orange Up Your Lawsuit! GI
Ninety-three percent of Americans live within 10 minutes of a convenience store, including 86% of those living in rural areas, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores' Time To Shop report. Convenient location was cited as the top convenience attribute by consumers, outpacing "no lines," plenty of parking spots close to the store and the ability to order online. Nearly half of all customers said they are in and out of the store with a purchase in under 3 minutes, while 21% spend more than 5 minutes inside the store
Hmmm We Always Wondered Why They Didn't Put Parking Three Blocks Down The Road! GI
Meal kit sales will likely reach $3.1 billion by the end of 2018, up almost 22% from 2017, with growth expected through 2023, according to Packaged Facts. Subscription-based services are expected to mature as consumers gain access to other options, such as one-time online purchases and in-store sales, which will stabilize that market to put the items on par with other convenience foods that sell at a premium, such as precut produce.
There Are Way Too Many Lazy Non-Cookers Out There! GI
Feeding the planet is growing increasingly difficult as climate change and depletion of land and other resources undermine food systems, according to the UN's International Food Policy Research Institute. The institute renewed appeals for better policies and technologies as population growth requires supplies of more nutritious food at affordable prices, reported The Wichita Eagle.
The Crabs In Oregon & California Agree! GI
Maine-based VitaminSea received a $600,000 grant from USDA to help develop a kelp-based additive for bread. The company's SeaKelp+ received a grant in 2017 to show evidence of the feasibility of adding kelp to bread and the new grant is a phase two award to help the company develop a prototype, reported The Modesto Bee.
Leave Kelp Out Of Bread! Why Is This Even Necessary? Hey USDA Give Us $600K...We Want To See If We Can Add Grass Clippings To Bread! GI
CDC narrowed its E. coli warning linked to romaine lettuce products, informing consumers not to eat romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. The agency reported 11 additional illnesses in connection to the outbreak, totaling 43.
Meanwhile, FDA partnered with major trade associations to develop labeling to identify origin of harvest regions for romaine products, according to the FDA Commissioner. The labeling will help improve FDA's ability to provide targeted information in the event of a future outbreak of illness.
Romaine lettuce prices are in flux as the product returns to market. Salinas, CA-based Coastline Family Farms argued strong pricing was expected before health warnings as many growers reduced winter plantings due to prior poor markets over the past 12 months. South Bay, FL-based Hugh Branch Inc. noted romaine would become more available on the East Coast the week of Dec. 2, reported The Produce News.
Workers Are Taking Craps On The Lettuce Or In The Irrigation Canals In CA! Why Is This So Hard To Figure Out? GI
U.S. agriculture suppliers are stockpiling Chinese chemicals and fertilizers before tariffs on the products more than double on Jan. 1.
Obviously With All This Inventory...Sales For Ag Supplies Are Going To Drop In China In Early 2019! GI
Researchers linked several kinds of produce to better memory in men, according to a study published in the journal Neurology. Scientists at Harvard University found that men who consistently ate leafy greens, orange and red vegetables, berries and orange juice over a period of 20 years were more likely to have better memory skills than those that did not. The results improved if men steered toward carotenoid-rich vegetables, such as carrots, pumpkin and spinach, reported New York Post.
They Proved This Years Ago! Guess The Men In The Study Forgot & Need To Eat More Produce! GI
Sysco's e-commerce platform, Supplies on the Fly, partnered with Frieda's Specialty Produce to offer next-day delivery of specialty produce items to customers across the U.S. Customers will have over 150 items to choose from and orders are delivered next-day in packaging developed specifically for the program.
Good...Now Send Some Produce To The Researchers At Harvard In The Story Above! GI
McDonald's extended the timeline for U.S. remodels to 2022. The company originally planned for most freestanding locations to be updated by 2020, but franchisees are pushing back citing cash flow and financial concerns. Additionally, locations that remodeled often found projects took longer than projected and foot traffic and sales didn't recover as fast as expected, reported Bloomberg.
Hold Up On The McBuilding Permits! GI
Baskin-Robbins will launch a next-generation store in Fresno, CA, with plans to open six to 10 new or remodeled stores in 2019. The format includes elevating the prominence of its classic 32 flavors, adding handheld ice cream novelties and upgrading the decor with modern fixtures and artwork, reported Nation's Restaurant News.
Can't Remember The Last Time We Ate An Ice Cream Cone! GI
Arby's is testing a pair of beer-marinated chicken sandwiches in Augusta, GA, Minneapolis and Tulsa, OK. The Original Beer Can Chicken Sandwich and the Tall Boy Sandwich are made with Molson Coors Brewing Co.'s Miller High Life, reported Denver Business Journal.
Arby's Would Have Even Better Luck Just Selling The Beer! GI
A New York City Council Member plans to introduce legislation to fine businesses that implement a cashless system. He argues the cashless business model excludes anyone who might not be able to afford smartphones loaded with digital currency or qualify for credit cards, reported Eater.
Ridiculous! Now We Need To Worry About Credit & Net Worth Discrimination? GI
For each 1% of sales at fixed self-checkout machines, a typical retailer will see stock loss increase one basis point, according to a report from NCR Corp. and the ECR Community Shrinkage and On-shelf Availability Group. Stores using scan-and-go technologies could see an increase of 0.7 and 10.4 basis points of additional stock loss.
We Told You Months Ago This Was Going To Be A Thief Paradise! GI
A federal judge tossed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement filed by Texas-based Buc-ee's against Nebraska-based Bucky's, a gas station and convenience store chain. The lawsuit alleged that Bucky's was trying to unjustly profit off of its work to build its brand, along with claims that the public might be confused by the similar sound and spellings of the brands' names. Bucky's is now free to open stores under its own name in Texas, reported Omaha World-Herald.
That Verdict Is Bucked Up! GI
Instagram is the platform of choice when researching restaurants and sharing food experiences, according to the The National Restaurant Association. A panel of Gen Z consumers, all of whom work in restaurants, expressed that the age group cares about sustainability as well as employer ideals, and enjoys loyalty reward cards. The group also noted take-out is important, but they find eating on-site to be a more enjoyable experience.
Note To Self... Don't Fret About Instagram! GI
One in six pints of milk produced around the world is lost or wasted, according to research conducted at Edinburgh University. It was calculated that retailers, distributors and consumers are responsible for half of the waste and most is lost before reaching the store. Some analysts believe dairy waste figures could be as high as 30% if inefficiencies such as using milk as animal feed and overconsumption are taken into account, reported The Guardian.
Crying Over Spilled Milk! GI
The Food and Drink Federation's CEO claims there is no bookable space remaining in UK warehouses that can store frozen or chilled produce in the near future in the run-up to Brexit. There is still availability for food that can be safely stored at room temperature in a sealed container, but not necessarily where it would be needed for companies' supply chains, reported BBC.
Guess All Their Assets Are Frozen Now! GI
France was named the most food sustainable country, according to an index by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation. France topped the list due to its measures to tackle food waste, promote healthy lifestyles and adopt eco-farming techniques. The Netherlands, Canada, Finland and Japan rounded out the top five, while Rwanda scored highest among low-income countries, reported Reuters.
Glad To Hear That Rwanda Is Doing Their Part To Save The Universe! GI
Smithfield Foods Inc. partnered with Dominion Energy to form Align Renewable Natural Gas. The joint venture's initial projects in North Carolina, Virginia and Utah will use a technology known as anaerobic digestion to capture methane emissions from hog farms and convert them into clean renewable energy to heat homes and power local industries.
Honey It's Cold..Turn Up The Heater... What's That Smell? GI
Sugar-sweetened beverages may boost the risk of type 2 diabetes more than the sugar found in fruit of 100% fruit juices, according to a study published in the BMJ. The analysis of prior trials found that sugar-sweetened beverages were linked to type 2 diabetes when compared to other products, and that fruit could even have a protective effect on blood sugar levels, reported HealthDay.
That Was A Sweet Story! GI
Food distributors expect the trend of rising costs to continue as record-low unemployment forces them to boost wages and benefits for drivers, while higher oil and freight prices have pushed up transportation costs. To adapt, distributors are shifting some deliveries to smaller trucks, trying to pack trucks more efficiently and breaking down delivery routes to make them shorter. Restaurants are also taking steps to protect their supply, such as Texas Roadhouse, which is making bigger, less frequent orders, while Firehouse Restaurant Group is looking to expand storage capacity at new restaurants by 15% and is testing new distribution centers to shorten delivery routes, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Time To Go In The Trucking Business! GI
Rising temperatures are influencing farmers to turn to warmer climate crops. Warming has helped increase U.S. corn harvests, delivering more than one-quarter of the yield growth across corn-belt states since 1981, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Canada's corn acreage climbed 20% over the past decade, while soybean acreage roughly doubled during the same time period. In addition, Bayer is breeding corn plants to be faster-maturing to produce crops in warmer climates, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Nice Thing About Humans..We Know How To Adjust The Thermostat On Things! GI
About 1 million pigs have been culled in China due to African swine fever, and authorities have restricted shipments of the country's nearly 700 million swine. Supplies are being disrupted to big cities, which resulted in price collapses as farmers cannot ship the products to other provinces, reported Yakima Herald-Republic.
Pork Ribs & Chops Are Super Cheap Here! GI
Teens whose families eat dinner together are more likely to make healthy food choices, according to a study in JAMA Network Open. The researchers found that the more often teens and young adults had dinner with their parents, the more their overall diets included more fruits and vegetables and less fast food and sugary beverages, reported Reuters.
To This Day...Mom & Dad Are Still Making Kids Eat Their Vegetables! GI