sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2013 01:47 PM
If Coca-Cola and Cargill aren't on the horn already, they should be. Coke is staking the future of calorie-reduced soft drinks on stevia, and ingredient giant Cargill is staking its future in that segment on stevia-based ingredient systems.
Meanwhile, PepsiCo is approaching the future of calorie reduction in soda from a different direction. CEO Indra Nooyi recently pooh-poohed the long-term usefulness of stevia, so her company reportedly has steered toward an intriguing alternative: a new chemical called S617 that cuts the amount of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup required in beverages to obtain the same sweet taste.
One thing is for sure: Both soft-drink giants have to do something. US soda consumption last year declined by 1.2 percent, which brought the category back down to 1996 levels, according to Beverage Digest. And even diet-soda consumption has begun to hit the skids as American consumers appear increasingly concerned about artifical sweeteners and are turning away from soft drinks to alternative beverages as a whole.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 3, 2013 12:42 PM
Amazon may think its on its way to world domination with the announcement of its under-development drone-delivery service and its ability to get the United States Postal Service to actually work on Sundays, but one entity—the Supreme Court—has managed to put the kibosh on one of the company's most important efforts.
On Cyber Monday, while online shoppers across the globe took advantage of mega deals all over the internet, the Supreme Court was giving Amazon and Overstock.com some bad news about a fight that other online retailers, such as eBay, were watching closely. The Court said it won’t stop New York State from forcing online retailers to charge sales tax to those who buy products in their state. The Court rejected the appeals of the retailers.
Amazon and Overstock had been arguing that since there were no facilities owned by either company in the state of New York, there should be no sales tax paid by those who purchase items from the online retailers while in the borders of the Empire State. According to Bloomberg, “states lose an estimated $23 billion a year in uncollected sales taxes from web retailers.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2013 11:17 AM
Will Carrie Underwood be able to hit the high notes like Julie Andrews? Will she botch a line? Will one of the Von Trapp children forget what follows "do"? And how in the heck can you simulate the Austrian Alps in a live production?
NBC is hoping that viewers by the millions will tune in on Thursday for the answers to those questions and more as the network stages one of the most interesting—and gutsiest—holiday TV specials in some time: a live new interpretation of The Sound of Music starring the Nashville songbird who first won fame on American Idol.
Underwood has done a bit of acting and has live-hosted the Country Music Association awards show with Brad Paisley for a few years—and she's sure done a lot of singing. But NBC is making a huge bet on Underwood's ability to stretch herself professionally in a completely new way. Already there are haters nixing her for even daring to reprise Andrews' role in the movie version of the Broadway musical, but Underwood also has defenders including other cast members.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2013 09:13 AM
Amazon finds sales-tax challenge rejected by US Supreme Court as it opens holiday pop-up shops in malls across America.
Facebook adds more "news" to news feed as site proves its worth to CPG marketers.
Chrysler posts 16 percent rise in November sales.
Apple buys Twitter-data tool.
Audi seeks edge over BMW in high-tech headlights.
BP could be spared hundreds of millions by court ruling.
Canon connects consumers with Santa.
Constellation Brands is alleged to mislead on US beer prices.
Cyber Monday blew past $2 billion in online sales.
Dow Chemical launches margin-boosting makeover and considers name change.
Enterprise launches loyalty points-doubling promotion.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 2, 2013 08:08 PM
Most consumers shop Zappos.com for its good prices and customer service, but the online marketplace has plans to up its luxury game—and it's starting with some heavy-hitting recruiting.
Former Vogue editor André Leon Talley has been named the artistic director of Zappos Couture, the company's luxury arm. The site already serves up high-end brands such as Armani, Balmain, and Burberry, but Talley will “oversee fashion shoots, videos and trend selection starting next year” in the hopes of bringing in more revenue from luxury-oriented shoppers.
Talley will be working with the company for one year, Women’s Wear Daily reports, and says that his aim is to “create something unique, in terms of a Web magazine within the Zappos Couture website, that conveys the immediacy and excitement of luxury retail products, season by season.” And as for leaving the print world, Talley seems hopeful for what digital content can bring to the brand. “The digital universe is a new, exciting opportunity for me to reach a broad audience in terms of the global luxury market."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 2, 2013 07:36 PM
WhatsApp, the free Internet-based messaging service is now the most popular mobile messaging platform, according to a survey of more than 4,000 smartphone owners in the US, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and China.
Leapfrogging Facebook, 44 percent surveyed use WhatsApp at least once a week, compared to 35 percent for Facebook messenger. The study also found that mobile messaging apps in general, such as WhatsApp, WeChat and even BBM are more popular than calls and texts: 60 percent of respondents used emails; 75 percent SMS text; 73 percent voice calls; and 86 percent said they used social messaging apps daily.
WhatsApp has a stronger following abroad than in the US, but reportedly has more users than Twitter and carries 25 billion messages a day. Most popular among teens, school friends and extended families who create groups for shared texting, photos and status updates, WhatsApp allows free communication without the threat of divulging personal details—an increasing concern for competitors like Facebook and Google.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 07:02 PM
The machinery may be creaky and the model basically a rehash, but two and a half years after Sweden produced what could have been its last Saab automobile, the brand rolled a new sedan off its assembly lines in Trollhattan, Sweden, today.
Newly owned by Chinese company National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which bought Saab out of bankruptcy last year, the venerable automotive brand presented its new Aero 9-3 sedan as the first in a series of new cars it will produce, according to the Associated Press.
"It's very similar" to the old 9-3 sedan that Saab stopped making in April 2011, Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for the Hong Kong-based new owners, according to the BBC. "We acquired the assets in August last year. Our focus has been to get the co-operation up and running with 400 suppliers and ensure the facilities were working."Continue reading...
games people play
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 2, 2013 06:39 PM
Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 were both released in the weeks before Black Friday in the hopes of generating some early holiday sales. But whatever happened ahead of the biggest shopping weekend of the year is now forgotten, as Microsoft's Xbox systems have emerged as the clear winner in console sales.
According to Escapist Magazine, Xbox One and Xbox 360 accounted for 61 percent of all gaming consoles sold on Black Friday. So where was Sony? The company’s PS3 and PS4 systems were responsible for 30 percent of the sales, but the consoles were also apparently understocked, according to analyst Jon Brelig. "Microsoft's success can be largely attributed to limited availability of the PS4, in addition to Walmart discounting the Xbox 360 down to $99 for Black Friday," he said.
The Black Friday victory may be sweet for Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean the company gets a free PR pass. Microsoft, which has had a few marketing hiccups lately, had to apologize to the gaming public for a marketing coup that many felt was sexist.Continue reading...