Posts tagged with "Food"

Food for thought: Don’t make major decisions on an empty stomach

September 17, 2019

We all know that food shopping on an empty stomach is a bad idea—but research conducted at the University of Dundee in Scotland suggests that food is actually needed for thought and people might want to avoid making any important decisions about the future when they are hungry.

The study, carried out by Dr. Benjamin Vincent of the university’s Psychology Department, found that an unsatisfied appetite significantly altered people’s decision-making, making them impatient and more likely to settle for a small reward that arrives sooner than a larger one promised at a later date.

Study participants were asked questions relating to food, money, and other rewards when they were satiated; and again when they had skipped a meal. For three different types of rewards, when hungry, people expressed a stronger preference for smaller hypothetical rewards to be given immediately rather than larger ones that would arrive later.

The researchers noted that if you offer people a reward now or double that reward in the future, they were normally willing to wait for 35 days to double the reward, but when hungry this plummeted to only 3 days.

The work builds on a well-known psychological study where children were offered one marshmallow immediately or two if they were willing to wait 15 minutes. Those children who accepted the initial offering were classed as more impulsive than those who could delay gratification and wait for the larger reward. In the context of the Dundee study, this indicates that hunger makes people more impulsive even when the decisions they are asked to make will do nothing to relieve their hunger.

While it was perhaps unsurprising that hungry people were more likely to settle for smaller food incentives that arrived sooner, the researchers found that being hungry actually changes preferences for rewards entirely unrelated to food.

This indicates that a reluctance to defer gratification may carry over into other kinds of decisions, such as financial and interpersonal ones. Dr. Vincent believes it is important that people know that hunger might affect their preferences in ways they don’t necessarily predict.

There is also a danger that people experiencing hunger due to poverty may make decisions that further entrench them in a bad situation. “We found there was a large effect, people’s preferences shifted dramatically from the long- to short-term when hungry,” he said. “This is an aspect of human behavior which could potentially be exploited by marketers so people need to know their preferences may change when hungry.

“People generally know that when they are hungry they shouldn’t really go food shopping because they are more likely to make choices that are either unhealthy or indulgent. Our research suggests this could have an impact on other kinds of decisions as well,” said Vincent, adding. “Say you were going to speak with a pensions or mortgage advisor – doing so while hungry might make you care a bit more about immediate gratification at the expense of a potentially more rosy future.

“We wanted to know whether being in a state of hunger had a specific effect on how you make decisions only relating to food or if it had broader effects, and this research suggests decision-making gets more present-focused when people are hungry,” said Dr Vincent.

“We hear of children going to school without having had breakfast, many people are on calorie restriction diets, and lots of people fast for religious reasons. Hunger is so common that it is important to understand the non-obvious ways in which our preferences and decisions may be affected by it.”

Research contact: b.t.vincent@dundee.ac.uk

Greet (and eat) the ‘croiffle’ at one of Godiva’s 2,000 new cafes

April 18, 2019

For nearly 100 years, Godiva has made life sweeter and more pleasurable for chocoholics worldwide. But until April 17, the Belgian confectioner offered only its beloved premium-quality boxed chocolates, chocolate-covered strawberries, ice cream, and drip coffee at its 800 boutique stores across 105 nations.

Starting with a Manhattan location this week, Godiva has announced that it is rolling out 2,000 cafes through 2025, at which the company will offer a menu of fanciful food items, including the “croiffle”— a croissant and waffle hybrid that’s stuffed with fillings like cheese or chocolate and pressed on a waffle iron, The Chicago Tribune reports. Other items include an expanded list of coffees and a new collection of teas; as well as grab-and-go items such as sandwiches and yogurt parfaits. And of course chocolates.

The cafes mark Godiva’s first foray into prepared meals, the Tribune notes. It’s all part of an ambitious growth plan spearheaded by CEO Annie Young-Scrivner, who took over Godiva’s helm in 2017 after serving as a top executive at Starbucks. Her goal: to increase its revenue fivefold by 2025, the news outlet says.

The company, which is privately owned by Turkish Yildiz Holding, doesn’t report sales or profits—but according to reports, Godiva was about a $1 billion business in 2017. It expects 40% of its total sales to come from the cafes in the future.

“We really have a stronghold on formal gifting but we want to expand to everyday consumption,” Young-Scrivner said in a phone interview.

A few of the current boutiques will be converted into cafes, but Godiva is looking beyond malls and will also have stand-alone storefronts and airport locations.

Research contact: @GODIVA

Will this food trigger allergies? Label Insight discloses the ingredients

March 26, 2019

Label Insight, a Chicago-based firm that “decodes” and “interprets” food label data for retailers—and, in turn, for U.S. shoppers who want to know more about the ingredients they will be consuming—has raised $21 million in new funding, The Chicago Tribune reports.

The series C round brings the company’s total funding to roughly $35 million; the company closed its last round in January 2016, The Chicago Tribune notes. Delta-v Capital led the round alongside River Cities Capital Funds. Delta-v managing partner David Schaller joins Label Insight’s board along with the deal.

The company—which was founded by brothers Dagan and Anton Zavier in 2008 in order to increase transparency in food, pet, and personal care marketing and enable customers to make more-informed purchasing decisions—claims to offer “more than 22,000 high-order attributes per product.”

Thus, a shopper with an allergy can ask a store rep and quickly figure out what products to avoid. Retailers get a tool to help customers understand what they’re buying, while companies can offer more information to sway ingredient-conscious shoppers.

The company says it works with top brands like Unilever, Conagra, L’Oreal, and Ocean Spray, and its database has information on more than 400,000 products. It provides that information to retailers like AlbertsonsMeijer, and Raley’s.

Earlier this year, Label Insight announced it was expanding into products like pet food, over-the-counter medicine, vitamins and supplements, and personal care items. CEO Paul Schaut said Label Insight plans on building its database to one million items with the new funding.

The series C round brings the company’s total funding to roughly $35 million; the company closed its last round in January 2016, The Chicago Tribune notes. Delta-v Capital led the round alongside River Cities Capital Funds. Delta-v managing partner David Schaller joins Label Insight’s board along with the deal.

“The consumer’s mandate for more information doesn’t stop with what they eat—it includes what they put on their bodies, personal care; it includes what they feed their pets, pet food; or their babies, baby food,” Schaut told the news outlet. “It’s not going to stop at what they buy at the grocery store. You get on a plane, you go to a restaurant, you’re going to want to know more about what you’re eating. Our business is just to support the industry any place the consumer is asking for more information.”

Schaut said Label Insight currently employs about 115 people, split evenly between its Chicago and St. Louis offices. With the funding, it plans to bring that number to 170 within the next 12 months. The hires will be focused on the company’s data science team,s as well as its sales and marketing teams, he said.

Research contact: bmeyerson@chicagotribune.com

Gwyneth Paltrow signs with Netflix for Goop original content

February 5, 2019

Goop—the lifestyle and wellness juggernaut founded a decade ago by actress, fashionista, and social influencer Gwyneth Paltrow—is expanding its original content with a new docuseries on Netflix; an exclusive podcast partnership with Delta Airlines; and a slew of programming centered around beauty, food, and books, Variety reported exclusively on February 4.

But can you be populist and inspirational while touting $995 wireless headphones and $2,780 handbags? The new sponsors seem to think so.

Still untitled, Goop’s streaming series will hit Netflix next fall, comprising 30-minute episodes hosted by the site’s editors, chief content officer Elise Loehnen and Paltrow. The team will talk to experts, doctors, and researchers to examine issues relating to physical and spiritual wellness.

We were speaking to the platform question, and where our people are. They’re watching Netflix. Some of the more strategic, bigger stories we want to tell require a TV budget. Obviously, there’s no better partner in that,” Loehnen told Variety of the deal.

Loehnen’s content team of about 20 will work on shaping the series with Netflix, which she said seeks to dial up the aesthetics and quality of storytelling surrounding issues like mental, physical and sexual health — and address larger thematic questions the Goop audience has about leading optimal lives. It doesn’t hurt that Paltrow knows her way around a Hollywood set. The actress has appeared in over 40 films, including Avengers: Endgame, coming in April.

“Gwyneth is a highly visual, tactile person. The quality of everything that we produce is very important to her,” Loehnen said. “She’s always looking for white space. Whether it’s developing physical products or thinking of content. With this show, I think she’s only really interested in opportunities where we can uniquely be ourselves and do things potentially disruptive.”

Goop’s eponymous podcast also has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Delta Airlines. The podcast is hosted by Paltrow and Loehnen, and was one of the iTunes store’s most-downloaded in 2018. Beginning in February, eight episodes will stream on 600 Delta planes and push the show’s reach to over 18 million listeners, the company said. The inaugural batch will include a one-on-one conversation between Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey.

In addition to Netflix and Delta, Goop is developing standalone podcasts with in-house beauty expert Jean Godfrey-June (whom, Loehnen said, is the most popular staffer at the company’s Santa Monica offices), a food program hosted by an award-winning chef, and a Goop book club featuring author interviews and reviews.

In light of the digital content ramp-up, Goop will pause production on its quarterly print magazine and resume publication after the Netflix series hits.

Research contact: @MattDonnelly

Cold comfort: If you always feel ‘chilled out,’ here’s advice on bringing the heat

November 27, 2018

Does even the thought of winter send a shiver down your spine? Most of us want to bundle up when the temperature drops—but if you are always turning up the thermostat or turning down the AC, there may be some good reasons.

The Huffington Post talked to experts and posted some advice on November 26. Do any of the following factors apply to you?

  1. Your thyroid is out of wack. Hypothyroidism—a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormone to regulate the body’s metabolism—can cause cold sensitivity, Chirag Shah, a specialist in Emergency Medicine and co-founder of Accesa Labs, a thyroid lab-testing service, told the online news outlet.
  2. You’re older: “The elderly [are] more prone to being cold because their metabolism is slower and they produce less heat,” said Marcelo Campos, an Internal Medicine physician at Atrius Health, a large nonprofit independent medical group based in Newton, Massachusetts. Another factor may be decreased muscle mass.
  3. It could be something you’re eating. Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, told HuffPost that certain foods may be to blame. “People who eat lots of water-dense, cold foods are going to feel cooler,” he said. Examples of these are smoothies, iced drinks and salads. To combat this, try switching to items like soups instead of smoothies, and stir-fry meals in lieu of salads.
  4. You’re anemic. Shah also said that iron deficiency anemia can definitely cause a person to feel frostier than usual—noting that iron is a mineral that is a key component of red blood cells. “Red blood cells are important for carrying oxygen around the body. Without enough iron, the red blood cells cannot function properly and can lead to the sensation of feeling cold in addition to other symptoms,” Shah said. Other symptoms may include exhaustion, light-headedness, rapid heart beat, or shortness of breath.
  5. You’re pregnant. When you are carrying a baby, your body temperature rises, HuffPost reminds us. A pregnant woman’s normal core temperature rises from a norm of 6 degrees to around 100 degrees. “What’s more, pregnant women are prone to both anemia and poor circulation, especially in their legs. They are likely to complain about feeling a chill, especially in their hands and feet.
  6. You’re dehydrated. Carol Aguirre of Nutrition Connections, a nutrition counseling center in South Florida, said that water drives the metabolism by helping break down food, which creates energy and heat. “Not enough water slows your metabolism and prevents your body from making enough energy to keep you warm,” she said in an interview with the news site.
  7. It could be your hormones. According to the experts, estrogen generally dilates blood vessels—dissipating heat in the body. Progesterone has the opposite effect. For women, the time of month may affect how warm or cold they feel. In men, higher testosterone levels may reduce sensitivity to the cold by desensitizing one of the main cold receptors in the skin.
  8. You have poor circulation. If your hands and feet feel like ice but the rest of your body is comfortable, a circulation problem that keeps blood from flowing to your extremities might be to blame.
  9. You may be anxious. “People with anxiety usually feel cold more than others,” said Maryam Jahed, founder Airo Health, which makes an anxiety-tracking wearable device. When you experience anxiety, she told HuffPost, the feeling activates your amygdala ― the part of the brain responsible for protecting the body and responding to danger. “This makes your body put all of its reserves and energy into keeping you ‘safe,’” she said—and your extremities may feel colder, because it’s harder for the blood to circulate there and keep you warm.
  10. Your BMI is too low. Your body mass index affects whether you feel cold, but the amount of fat and muscle you have can also be a factor.  “Muscles are metabolically more active and this generates more heat. Fat is an insulator and this can reduce the amount of heat you lose,” Campos said.

Research contact: @NicolePajer

FDA approves first generic version of EpiPen

August 20, 2018

When it comes to life-threatening allergic reactions, time is of the essence. Whether it’s a peanut allergy, a bee sting, a reaction to a medicine, or some other serious hypersensitivity, it is crucial for many Americans to have the correct drug on-hand and ready-to-use at a moment’s notice. Anaphylaxis occurs in approximately one in 50 Americans. People who have had an anaphylaxis episode always face the risk of another one. Because of this risk, they must carry an emergency dose of epinephrine at all times. Many must keep more than one dose at hand.

However, until now, the expense and frequent lack of availability of such pharmaceuticals has been a problem. Not anymore: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on August 16 that the agency has approved the first generic version of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr (epinephrine) auto-injector for the emergency treatment of allergic reactions, including those that are life-threatening (anaphylaxis), in adults and pediatric patients who weigh more than 33 pounds. When given intramuscularly or subcutaneously, it has a rapid onset and short duration of action. Epinephrine works by reducing swelling in the airway and increasing blood flow in the veins.

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA gained approval to market its generic epinephrine auto-injector in 0.3 mg and 0.15 mg strengths. Teva spokesperson Doris Saltkill said the price of the drug and the exact launch date were not yet available, but the company’s statement suggested it would not be in time for many parents who are scrambling to find EpiPen in their pharmacies now. “We’re applying our full resources to this important launch in the coming months and [are] eager to begin supplying the market,” the statement said.

“Today’s approval of the first generic version of the most-widely prescribed epinephrine auto-injector in the U.S. is part of our longstanding commitment to advance access to lower cost, safe and effective generic alternatives once patents and other exclusivities no longer prevent approval,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “This approval means patients living with severe allergies who require constant access to life-saving epinephrine should have a lower-cost option, as well as another approved product to help protect against potential drug shortages.

“The path to developing generic drug-device combination products like this one is challenging,” Gottlieb commented.”We remain committed to doing our part to provide scientific and regulatory clarity for sponsors seeking to develop complex generics, as well as prioritize the approval of medicines with little or no generic competition as part of our overarching effort to remove barriers to generic development and market entry of critically important medicines. Many of these steps were outlined in our Drug Competition Action Plan, announced last year. We’re especially committed to the development of generic copies of complex products. These products can be hard to copy, and therefore sometimes don’t face timely generic competition once patents and exclusivities are no longer a block to approval. We’re advancing new guidance for sponsors to make the development of generic versions of complex products more efficient, and we’re prioritizing review of many complex generic drug applications.”

The FDA has approved several epinephrine auto-injector products under new drug applications to treat anaphylaxis, including EpiPen, Adrenaclick and Auvi-Q. In addition, “authorized generic” versions of EpiPen and Adrenaclick are marketed without the brand names. An authorized generic is made under the brand name’s existing new drug application using the same formulation, process and manufacturing facilities that are used by the brand name manufacturer. The labeling or packaging is, however, changed to remove the brand name or other trade dress. In some cases, a company may choose to sell an authorized generic at a lower cost than the brand-name drug product.

The most common side effects associated with epinephrine injection are anxiety, apprehensiveness, restlessness, tremor, weakness, dizziness, sweating, palpitations, pallor, nausea and vomiting, headache and/or respiratory difficulties. Rare cases of serious skin and soft tissue infections have been reported following use of the drug. In patients with heart disease, use of epinephrine injection may cause chest pain (angina pectoris) or abnormal heart beats (ventricular arrhythmias). Following use of epinephrine injection, patients should seek immediate medical or hospital care. Epinephrine should not be injected into the vein, buttock, fingers, hands or feet. To minimize risk of injection-site injury, movement of the leg should be limited during injection.

Research contact: fdaoma@fda.hhs.gov

Made to order: Why we personalize our purchases

June 15, 2018

Do you like using products that have a personal touch, in terms of color, design, initials, or even taste? Just three years ago, only 17% of U.S. consumers ever had purchased a personalized sneaker, technology product, meal, vacation, or household appliance. However, YouGov reports that, the so-called “personalization economy” has experienced a major increase in demand. Today, at least one in four Americans (26%) say that they have added a personal touch to a product, either for themselves or someone else.

Why personalize? According to the researchers, there are five major reasons why consumers take this approach—among them:

  1. To design a product to meet a specific need (types of materials, shape, size, duration);
  2. To identify a product as “belonging to me;”
  3. To design something just for fun;
  4. To feel pride in creating/designing something;
  5. To demonstrate creativity; or
  6. To stand out from other people.

Among those who create their own unique products, sneakers (29%) and other forms of apparel are tops for personalization, tied by food and beverages (29%); and followed by technology products (27%), vacation and travel experiences (25%), and household goods (22%).

What’s more, personalizers can be identified by their age and personality traits. They are generally younger (40% Millennials), highly educated (30%), and have disposable income to spend (31%). Indeed, nearly half of this group (46%) say that they would be willing to pay more for an individualized product; which enables brands to market to them at a premium.

In addition, most personalizers could be described as social, outgoing, and optimistic, according to YouGov.

Data on the online behaviors of this particular consumer segment is rich, YouGov says. It demonstrates that personalizers aren’t simply tech-savvy—they strive to be early adopters of technology. That may explain why they’re more likely to be a part of the ever-growing live streaming audience. Live streaming may not be new, but fueled by social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and Twitch, the format has been reinvigorated by a surge of mobile users. Personalizers tend to use their smartphones (38%) most of all of their devices and a majority (62%) say they watch live streams.

Given that personalizers tend to be social and that the heart of a live streaming channel is its community, the two seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s also an interactive platform that allows brands to get immediate, real-time data about their viewers.

What’s more, compared to people who have never done so, personalizers are more likely to go to movie theaters, listen to online radio, or play games on a console. A multi-platform approach may prove the best way to stay connected with these digital natives.

Finally, the researchers believe, the personalization economy will continue to grow and shape what consumers expect from products and services. Whether a brand already offers personalization or is still testing the waters, looking to what makes the consumer tick is the key.

From an opportunity perspective, they say, brands can get closer to their customers by using personalization as a transformative tool—one that turns a product into a shared experience using a brand’s resources and consumer’s sense of identity.

Research contact: ted.marzilli@yougov.com