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    Published on: January 12, 2009

    MorningNewsBeat is thrilled to welcome Kraft Foods to our extraordinary lineup of sponsors. For the next seven weeks, Kraft will be the MNB premium sponsor – making it possible for you to get the MNB Wake Up Call that arrives on your computer each business morning. And, as part of its sponsorship, Kraft will be demonstrating its commitment to the wide range of products and innovations that differentiate its brands in America’s supermarkets.

    This week…Kraft’s new 100-calorie packs of Nabisco Oreo Cakesters, which offer adults and kids alike the way to enjoy indulgent snacking without the guilt; the consumer can satisfy his or her sweet tooth and not worry about calories. (And speaking as someone with a pretty good sweet tooth, the Content Guy can tell you that it doesn’t get better than that!)

    At a time when snacking is at an all-time high, consumers continue to look for sensible snacking options that offer taste, convenience and even a little comfort to get them through the tough times. That’s just one of the things that Kraft has to offer as part of its customer-focused branded products and innovations.

    So check out how Kraft is talking to shoppers at:

    And thanks again to Kraft Foods for its commitment to the industry and support of
    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    The Wall Street Journal has a report on a new kind of shopper that has evolved in the marketplace, in part because of tough economic times and in part because of new capabilities made possible by technology. This consumer is called the “new info shopper,” and “these people just can't buy anything unless they first look it up online and get the lowdown. These shoppers have the Internet at work, typically hold information-based or office-park jobs, have some college or grad school, and are often making ends meet with two jobs, kids, and pets on a middle or upper-middle-class income.”

    Some interesting statistics that appear to back up this new definition:

    • One shopper survey suggested that 78 percent of respondents said that there is not enough information in most advertising for them to draw a conclusion about whether to buy a product.

    • According to the Journal, “A whopping 92% of respondents said they had more confidence in information they seek out online than anything coming from a salesclerk or other source.”

    • Seven out of ten survey respondents said that they check online product reviews before actually purchasing things, and 62 percent said that they spend at least-a half-hour online each week specifically reading consumer product reviews.

    The Journal writes, “We have seen many of the big market areas convert to an information-driven model -- cars, homes, personal computers and medical care are areas where nearly 4 in 5 shoppers say they gather information on their own from the Web before buying. ‘Do-it-yourself doctors’ (that is, info patients) show up at their doctor with the Web-derived diagnosis in hand, and a list of the medicines they need prescribed. Customers appear at the car dealership with the wholesale price and the model already picked out.

    “Information-seeking is not just an activity, it's a way of looking at the world. New info shoppers are proud of the progress they have made in putting facts over pablum.”

    Now, it is important to note that not every shopper is an “info shopper,” and that “there is still a healthy role for big emotional brand appeals and mega-advertising campaigns. For every trend there is a counter trend. But that's not the real new thing in consumer behavior.”

    KC's View:
    This isn’t just an argument for transparency, but for a complete redefinition of the function of the customer…especially the customers of the future. Retailers have to take this very seriously, understanding that it is a fundamental shift in the balance of power that traditionally has existed between consumers and product providers.

    The Journal makes a persuasive case: “New Info Shoppers are bigger than a microtrend. They represent a broad shift in the marketplace brought about by the Internet, higher education, and changing economic times. But the question is when is the marketplace is going to really catch up to them.”

    In other words, yet another example of the “new normal.”

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    Knowledge @Wharton offers research suggesting that the truism saying that 60-70 percent of all supermarket purchases are unplanned and impulse-driven may, in fact, be incorrect – and that the number is probably closer to 20 percent.

    According to the story, the “research does not indicate that in-store marketing is unimportant, but that retailers may need to rethink strategies for it. The researchers found that certain traits of shoppers, including age, income and their particular shopping style, have a greater effect on making unplanned purchases than does the store or environment.”

    The story goes on, “What the researchers found missing in the previous studies was ‘appropriate and robust’ data from actual purchases that would indicate what shoppers' intentions were when they went to a store. The previous studies also did not clearly define ‘unplanned purchases’ … Does it mean switching brands of detergent from what a shopper usually buys, or buying any product from a category not on a shopping list? And if a shopping list included detergent but not a brand or size, is the final purchase planned or unplanned?”

    As for conclusions, “The most basic information the research revealed is that no unplanned buying was done on slightly more than 60% of all shopping trips. On the rest of the trips, the shoppers made an average of three unplanned purchases -- far fewer than previous research indicated.

    “The amount of unplanned buying goes up with the total number of categories in which shoppers make purchases, such as bread or milk. But because a smaller percentage of shoppers are doing much of the impulse buying, the average number of unplanned purchases stays low.”

    KC's View:
    Regardless of whether previous estimates about impulse shopping is accurate, it seems to me that there will be changes taking place in how people make decisions while in the store…and, as a result, changes in how in-store marketing functions in order to be efficient and effective. It seems likely that cash-strapped consumers, dealing with recession’s impact on their lives, may be less susceptible to in-store marketing. It seems likely that the “new info” shopper written about above would be less likely to succumb to an impulse purchase. And almost certainly things will change as brick-and-mortar stores give up some market share to online retailers.

    Again, the “new normal” at work.

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a nationwide consumer survey by IBM's Institute for Business Value found:

    -- 63 percent are shopping only for products on sale and using coupons more often.

    -- 90 percent are sacrificing some spending, and 45 percent tapped fewer discretionary dollars in 2008 compared with 2007.

    -- 30 percent of shoppers fall into a category IBM researchers called "shifters," those highly motivated to go elsewhere if they don't get what they want.”

    However, despite all these changes, the Chronicle also reports that “the IBM survey, which refers to loyal customers as ‘advocates,’ found the number of people who remained loyal to a primary retailer doubled from 2007 to 2008. The report also found 31 percent of advocates said they actually increased their spending with their favored retailer within the past year … Retailers better able to weather this slowdown are those who have been able to turn an occasional shopper into a loyal customer.”

    KC's View:
    This may be because in tough times, trust is a valuable commodity. So is comfort. Both would seem to be integral to any real connectivity between a shopper and the retail experience.

    And so, while low prices and a focus on value certainly are important in tough times, they are not valuable to the exclusion of all other values.

    One other thing. I continue to believe that too many retailers define loyalty the wrong way, believing that they can buy it with low prices or certain services. It is far more effective and long-lasting, I believe, to think in terms of proving one’s loyalty to the shopper on a day-to-day basis.

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that “President-elect Barack Obama and congressional leaders plan to move soon to block the estate tax from disappearing in 2010,” and that “Democrats are determined to act quickly to prevent the estate tax's scheduled repeal. Elimination of the levy on big inheritances was approved by Congress under President George W. Bush in 2001, with rollbacks phased in slowly and its full elimination slated to take effect next year.

    “The Senate Finance Committee will move within weeks on legislation to reverse that law, and Mr. Obama is expected to detail his estate-tax preservation proposal in his budget next month, congressional tax writers said.”

    The Obama plan, as originally laid out during the presidential campaign, would make permanent the 2009 rates and exemptions, making estates of up to $3.5 million - $7 million for couples – free from the estate tax. Everything above that level would be taxed at 45 percent. Before the phased in repeal was passed in 2001, estates over $1 million were taxed at a 55 percent rate.

    The Journal writes that “for small-business groups, farmers' associations and the affluent families that created and bankrolled the ‘Death Tax’ repeal effort, the emerging Democratic plan marks a stark defeat. Advocates of killing off the tax say the emerging Obama policy is the wrong medicine for the recession, arguing the levy is economically burdensome like the income tax. Bill Rys, tax counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business, said small businesses struggling with falling sales and layoffs shouldn't have to devote resources to estate planning.”

    Elimination of the estate tax has also been a major priority of organizations such as the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and National Grocers Association (NGA).

    The Journal notes that the new Congress feels the need to act quickly on the estate tax since it feels that it would be politically a lot tougher to reinstate it at any level if it is allowed to lapse completely.

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    Coming on the heels of stories over the past few weeks about companies such as Stop & Shop, Giant, ShopRite and Wegmans offering free antibiotics to shoppers, the Newark Star-Ledger offers a cautionary note: “The supermarkets say their aim is to make life easier for customers, especially during hard economic times, but public health experts say they may be making a dangerous situation worse.

    “Antibiotics are natural and synthetically made substances that fight bacterial infections by killing or slowing down the growth of germs. For years, however, the effectiveness of some antibiotics has dramatically decreased through overuse, which is why public health experts fear the advertising of free antibiotics only encourages their undiscriminating use … antibiotics are never effective against viral infections, and because most colds are viral and not bacterial, the distribution of free antibiotics sends the wrong message to consumers and degrades the reputation of a precious medical resource.”

    KC's View:
    I get the point on this one, but isn’t the real issue with doctors who overprescribe antibiotics, not with people who take them?

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    A group of leading fresh-food associations and industry groups have formed the Fresh Food Trade Association Roundtable to facilitate the exchange of information, and to guide and support the use of GS1 standards in the United States fresh food industries. The founding groups are the Food Marketing Institute, GS1 US, International Dairy, Deli and Bakery Association, mpXML, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Fisheries Institute, National Pork Board, and the Produce Marketing Association

    The group says its “goals include expanded communications between the Roundtable’s association members, GS1 US and other GS1 organizations worldwide as the fresh-food industries pursue their incorporation of GS1 standards to address various supply-chain challenges. The group believes the only way to achieve a successful implementation of GS1 standards is with a focused effort obtaining critical mass for key industry initiatives facilitated by close collaboration and planning between the Roundtable and GS1 US.

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    Consumers Union has urged the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand testing of infant formula for melamine and related compounds, and to recall all contaminated products.

    According to the statement released by the organization, “Consumers Union noted that FDA posted new test data on infant formula on December 22. The test data said that a melamine derivative, cyanuric acid, had been found in two additional samples of formula - bringing the total to 4 contaminated samples out of 89 tested. ‘That is almost 5 percent of tested samples contaminated, a relatively high rate,’ stated Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Consumers Union. Three of the four positive samples found by the FDA are Enfamil with Iron or Enfamil Lipil with Iron milk-based powder, and the fourth is Nestle Good Start Supreme with Iron milk-based liquid.

    “’The FDA needs to step up and expand melamine testing. The failure to properly inform people about these findings undermines consumer confidence in a fundamental product that millions of parents depend on,’ Rangan said.”

    The presence of melamine in baby formula has been the subject of much debate over the past few months. Back in December, Consumers Union has called on the FDA to “immediately make public all of the results of its tests for melamine contamination,” which had been found in baby formula manufactured by the three major US formula suppliers - Abbott Laboratories, Nestle and Mead Johnson.

    In China, it has been reported that the melamine was used deliberately in baby formula to artificially inflate the product’s protein levels. Melamine contamination reportedly has been responsible for three deaths and the sickening of more than 50,000 infants. In the US, reports to this point suggest that the melamine contamination occurred during the manufacturing process, and was not put in the product intentionally.

    KC's View:
    There is no excuse, in my view, for the foot dragging taking place in the FDA when it comes to broad and extensive testing of baby formula for melamine and related compounds. None.

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    The New York Times over the weekend reported that the fragmented, sometimes bizarre division of labor among various federal agencies that have responsibility for food safety has only gotten worse, which would seem to make an effective argument for a single food safety agency.

    In just eight days, the Times writes, Barack Obama will be inaugurated as president of the United States. Obama, the Times notes, “has vowed to cut programs ‘that have outlived their usefulness or exist solely because of the power of politicians, lobbyists or interest groups.’ It would seem that the chances for a single food agency — which has the potential to cut all sorts of bureaucracy — would be better than ever.

    “Don’t hold your breath.”

    How come?

    In part, it is because there are a lot of other issues to be dealt with before food safety infrastructure makes it to the front burner. “In addition,” the Times writes, “some consumer advocates argue that the food side of the F.D.A., in particular, must be fixed before it can merge with the Agriculture Department’s food safety arm.

    “’To build the house, you need the same foundation,’ said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutritional advocacy group in Washington. ‘Now you’ve got two legal foundations that don’t mesh well.”
    The problem at the F.D.A. is that while it is called the Food and Drug Administration, a vast majority of the attention and financing is directed at drugs. With a limited budget and a huge workload, the food side of the agency has lurched from one crisis to the next.”

    The proposal that seems to have the most support would actually split up the FDA into two agencies, with one responsible for drug safety and the other merged with the USDA’s food safety agency.

    And, the Times reports, “Beyond the structure of the food-safety bureaucracy, there are all sorts of ideas for how the Obama administration could improve day-to-day oversight.

    “For instance, many consumer groups say the F.D.A. should scrap voluntary food-safety guidelines that are issued to the industry and replace them with concrete rules, backed by tough penalties.

    “In addition, they say the F.D.A. and the Agriculture Department should have mandatory recall authority if a manufacturer refuses to pull bad food off the market. And they argue that food processing plants in the United States and abroad need to be inspected more often, which requires more inspectors.”

    KC's View:
    I am as convinced as anyone that the food safety infrastructure has to be overhauled to be made more effective, but I sometimes wonder if the whole mess is simply too complicated to make what is necessary possible.

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    Let most of the media wail about the economy. US News & World Report offers six reasons the lousy holiday shopping season actually was good news for the US economy:

    • “Shoppers got great deals,” which meant that people willing to spent money, especially on clothing and consumer electronics, “were able to do so without breaking the bank.”

    • It sets the retail industry up for a great 2009, because any improved same-store sales will be impressive to stock market analysts.

    • People who want to travel can actually do so for far less money than in the recent past, when high fuel prices caused travel costs to skyrocket.

    • Internet sites that offer comparison shopping tools for consumers thrived…which helps keep this segment of the e-conomy vital and profitable.

    • A tough economy leads to the survival of the fittest…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it creates a stronger foundation for growth later on.

    • Consumers made smarter choices about what they bought, and also started saving…which in the long run will be positive trends in an America that has been too addicted to easy credit and instant gratification.

    KC's View:
    Not sure I feel a lot better. Maybe if I sing and whistle…

    For life is quite absurd
    And death's the final word
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.
    Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
    Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow…

    Still not a lot better. But I’ll work on it…

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    • The New York Times reports that “It wasn’t too long ago that McDonald’s, vilified as making people fat, was written off as irrelevant. Now, six years into a rebound spawned by more appealing food and a less aggressive expansion, McDonald’s seems to have won over some of its most hardened skeptics.

    “The chain has managed to sustain its momentum even as the economy and the restaurant industry as a whole are struggling. Month after month, McDonald’s has surprised analysts by posting stronger-than-expected sales in the United States and abroad.”

    • In the UK, the Sunday Telegraph reports that despite the recession, Tesco is saying that it saw an “unprecedented” trading up by shoppers to luxury foods, which supported CEO Terry Leahy’s contention that consumers would stretch their budgets during the holidays. However, it also is anticipated that with the new year will come at least some measure of a new frugality – the holidays, after all, are over.

    • The BBC reports that in the UK, frozen food retailer Iceland has acquired 51 former Woolworths stores, just three days after the last of Woolworths’ stores went out of business.

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    • Campbell Soup announced that Maureen Linder, formerly the VP-brand strategy and marketing services for Pepperidge Farm, has been named the company’s VP-global advertising and design.

    • Jamba Inc., parent company to the Jamba Juice smoothies chain, announced that Susan Shields has been named vice president of consumer products, licensing and growth initiatives.

    Shields, formerly an executive with Safeway, Del Monte and Quaker Oats, most recently was senior vice president of innovation and product management at Beautifull, Inc., a company focused on selling fresh prepared foods.

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    In my weekly MNB Radio rant last week, I said that I was really getting tired of all the sale ads I was getting both in email and snail mail, and that maybe –while it seems counter-intuitive – the recession might be a good time for retailers to show a little bit of sensitivity about their efforts to separate people from their money. In part, I said:

    There are lines that should not be crossed. Some will argue that it is the retailer’s job to sell, and the consumer’s job to decide whether to buy or not, and that’s true. But I think sensitivity is called for here, especially if retailers want to maintain long-term and positive relationships with the shoppers who will determine whether or not they will be successful, short-term and long-term. If you are selling something, I think it is important to be able to demonstrate the differential advantages of the product and the relevance it has to the shopper’s lifestyle. Of course, that’s a good idea all the time…but never more so than these days.

    Not everyone agreed. One MNB user wrote:

    I've been reading this thing for five or six years and think this may be the silliest, most anti-social opinion you've ever expressed.

    Consumers need to SPEND MONEY. It's the only way the economy can recover. Sitting back passively while they cut back spending is guaranteed to accelerate the downward spiral. Money spent voluntarily on things consumers want MULTIPLIES. Money confiscated as taxes disappears into a black hole.

    Anti-social? Well, I’ve been called worse. And I suppose that if we are to accept that my plan for the next couple of years – to spend money as much as possible only on necessities, and put off discretionary purchases until the economy gets better – is anti-social, then I’ll plead guilty.

    MNB user Jennifer Whetzel wrote:

    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you. Shoppers may not be doing a lot of shopping right now, but that doesn't mean that shoppers will stop consuming. People need to eat. Things break and need to be fixed or replaced. The economy can't and shouldn't come to a complete halt just because people are cutting back on their expenditures.

    As a consumer, I am thankful for the coupons and sales because it means that I can find ways to spend less on the things that I need. And I don't necessarily require that the retailer demonstrate the differential advantages of what they're selling and its relevance to me. If I need it, then I need it, and I'm happy that a retailer is helping me to spend less on it.

    MNB user Annette Knapp got my point:

    Thank you for articulating EXACTLY what I've been feeling regarding your MNB Radio column this morning. Between the TV news, newspaper articles, ads and email promos (which started in AUGUST) on how we should be spend, spend, spending for the holidays (and now beyond) when it is common knowledge that tons of Americans are out of work and can't afford high food prices and that sky high monthly fuel oil contract that they locked into last summer - made me mad enough to not put up a tree or even decorate for Christmas this year. Retail-mas is not a holiday I need to celebrate when I'm trying to stay financially afloat. I was beginning to resent the implication that I don't love my friends and family unless I buy them gobs of material goods on December 25. Do stores really want consumers feeling downright adversarial about shopping?

    MNB user John Hall chimed in:

    I like you do not want to be bombarded with ads and coupons for items I do not want or will never use and look forward to a 100% targeted marketed world. But, and especially in these tough economic times, this type of advertising is part of the larger puzzle: manufacturers manufacture; producers produce; vendor vend; sellers sell; advertisers advertise but buyers have the final decision to part with their money or not.

    The seemingly dozens of ads and coupons that appear in my mailbox almost daily get a quick review and then go to the recycle box. The online coupons and ads rate a quick review and are deleted. Thus is the advertising cycle of life.

    A number of people were, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about whatever skills former Nash Finch CEO Ron Marshall might bring to his new job trying to revive Borders. MNB user Harvey Gutman disagreed:

    Come on give, Ron Marshall a break. I worked with Ron for almost five years at Pathmark - he was smart, focused and tough. Frankly, I think that is exactly the type of leader which Borders needs right now. I would not bet against him.

    MNB took note last week of a study suggesting that supermarket front ends might be incorrectly merchandised. It seems that 74 percent of all customers – men and women alike – pull their carts through checkout lanes, as opposed to pushing them through. This is interesting, Revelation Research suggests, because most front end lanes are designed to market products to people who are pushing their carts…meaning that all sorts of sales and marketing opportunities are being missed in almost three-quarters of all cases.

    Lots of response to this one, as people considered their own checkout habits…

    MNB user Sara Freitag wrote:

    I too am a basket puller, but when I think about what happens when I only have a handful of items or use a hand basket – that’s when impulse purchases occur – the pack of gum, the Reader’s Digest (not the trash magazines, but I do read the headlines). If my hands aren’t busy unpacking a basket full of groceries, I have time to look around! I wonder if my spending dollars would go down if I always bought huge basket’s of groceries, somehow I don’t think so.

    MNB user Jackie Lembke wrote:

    I believe most of us became pullers when we started to place our own items on the belt. Showing my age, but I remember when someone else unloaded the cart, bagged the groceries and placed them in the car. Looks like in an effort to save something (not sure if it is time or labor), something else was lost.

    MNB user Chris Connolly wrote:

    I'm usually so concerned with getting my cart unloaded quickly that I, too, rarely make impulse purchases at the checkstand unless I am not using a cart.

    After 10 years out of the grocery business, 25 years in the business, and being the grocery shopper in our family, I can tell you that how a person handles their cart at the checkstand is entirely dependent on the design of the cart and whether or not the customer has to unload their own cart (or the cashier does it for you).

    Since many companies have gone to using large, deep carts to increase average order size most women (and shorter men) cannot reach the bottom of the carts if they have to unload them from behind.

    In this market, Fareway Stores still unloads the customer's cart for them, so I would guess that a very high percentage of their customers push their carts into the checkstands…….ironically, they probably have the greatest need for improving their checkstand merchandising.

    MNB user Theresa Ruppert wrote:

    I am a puller primarily because of my short stature. It is much easier to reach into the cart and to unload it. It would be interesting to know the research techniques used in this study. In spite of pulling my cart I still am able to peruse the entire front end impulse shopping section. Whether I buy anything or not has nothing to do with my position in relation to the cart. I, like you, choose not to buy for other reasons.

    Actually I have plenty of time to look at the high margin items due to my usual wait time in the line. Maybe they should do a research study on that…

    MNB user Randy J. Misener wrote:

    One issue is the design of the cart. Unless you have five foot long arms, if you push the cart, you cannot reach product in the cart to put on the belt. You have to pull to unload your purchase.

    And MNB user Richard Thorpe responded to my comment that I cannot remember the last time I made an impulse purchase at the front end:

    Perhaps the reasons you haven’t bought anything at the check stand when going through the register are:

    1. You are not a child so candy is out?
    2. Magazines like the “Enquirer” and Cosmopolitan are not your thing.
    3. There are no interesting wine selections at the register.
    4. You actually put everything that you wanted to buy in the cart already and being a disciplined adult you know there is NOTHING there worth adding to your purchase.

    Y’know, number three raises some interesting possibilities…

    Ron Burkle bought seven percent of Whole Foods last week, which led one MNB user to observe:

    It seems hardly a coincidence that a guy who is locked-in with influential Democrats like The Slickster would take a position in Whole Foods weeks before the new administration calls off the FTC. You think maybe he might have checked that out?

    It hardly takes a slickster of any party to realize that it seems likely that the FTC could be in for some needed changes once Obama is inaugurated.

    I said last week that I liked the notion that you don't need as much regulation if you have complete transparency, and MNB user Bob Gremley wrote:

    Great point, Kevin. Take the COOL labeling that was so heatedly debated in this forum recently. The COOL regulations are effectively regulations that CREATE transparency – so sometimes the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Nutritional information, ingredients, country of origin – all these are regulations that create greater transparency.

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    In the National Football League divisional playoffs:

    Baltimore Ravens 13
    Tennessee Titans 10

    Arizona Cardinals 33
    Carolina Panthers 13

    Philadelphia Eagles 23
    NY Giants 11

    San Diego Chargers 24
    Pittsburgh Steelers 35

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    If you are looking for a coffee – either branded or private label – that can drive sales and differentiate your stores in this all-important category, you need to check out White Cloud Coffee.

    A note from “The Content Guy”…

    It isn’t just any coffee that could get named as the “Official Coffee of MorningNewsBeat.” Then again, White Cloud Coffee isn’t just any coffee.

    Not that long ago, the folks at White Cloud sent me a new blend they’d created, looking for an opinion from someone who drinks an awful lot of coffee each week. My reaction was simple and immediate: “Yikes!” “Wow!” “Zowie!”

    This blend wasn’t just some sort of accident. It was the result of craftsmanship and artisanship on the part of the folks at White Cloud Coffee. This isn’t coffee made by some faceless, industrialized behemoth; rather it is a smooth and rich beverage with attitude and great taste, coffee that makes the morning a better place to be.

    Which is why I am thrilled that they’ve christened it the “Attitude Blend,” and we’ve named it the “Official Coffee of MorningNewsBeat.” And I am happy to welcome White Cloud Coffee to MNB as our newest sponsor.

    I repeat: If you are looking for a coffee – either branded or private label – that can drive sales and differentiate your stores in this all-important category, you need to check out White Cloud Coffee.

    For more information, go to:

    White Cloud Coffee - The Official Coffee of MorningNewsBeat
    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    The year 2008 was, to say the least, memorable. We started the year with industry concerns about the soon-to-retire Baby Boom generation, and how that knowledge and experience base would be replaced. And we ended the year with a recession, and headlines that trumpet cost cutting, layoffs and increased unemployment.

    But through it all, two things remained constant:

    1. There are some wonderfully innovative, talented and experienced people on the market.
    2. Companies are hiring – because they know that the quality of leadership within their organizations is the greatest differential advantage they can have.
    At Samuel J. Associates, we were privileged to help both retailers and manufacturers identify and hire the right people, who will provide them with experience and thought leadership for 2009 and beyond. We thank you for giving us these opportunities…and we look forward to working with you in what we believe will be an exciting, prosperous – and yes, memorable - New Year.

    Samuel J. Associates.

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009



    It is a simple proposition.

    Personalized communications with your shoppers is good for your business. It drives traffic, generates sales and builds loyalty.

    It often is assumed that creating a personalized, customized communications program that connects you to your shopper in an effective and profitable way has to be a labor-intensive effort better left to times of less stress and lower levels of economic pressure.

    But…Circular-Logic has developed an individualized communications program that is guaranteed to increase shopper traffic and generate greater sales and profits…and has removed all the obstacles that can make such an effort cumbersome and difficult.


    We can show you how we’ve done it in the past. We can show you how we’ll do it for you in the future. And, for qualifying retailers, we’ll even commit to implement our system at no charge, for a limited time.


    Want to know more?

    Go to .

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    MorningNewsBeat. For more than seven years, MNB has been providing its readers news in context, analysis with attitude, experience, perspective, and irreverence for sacred cows…all of which separate it from every other business communications vehicle.

    What defines MNB?

    • An expanding range of voices (75-100 new subscribers, including top ranking industry leaders, sign up every week)

    • Unparalleled engagement (hundreds of emails exchanged weekly on a variety of topics…and more than 10,000 emails since MNB was launched)• Intellectual and emotional intimacy that reflects & creates compelling content.

    Who reads MorningNewsBeat?

    • Executives from virtually every major retailer and manufacturer in the world, from CEOs to senior marketing and merchandising leaders, to store and department managers – all of whom matter most to your business, and who turn to MorningNewsBeat for the edge that can make the difference in their businesses.

    Who writes MorningNewsBeat?

    • “Content Guy” Kevin Coupe brings two decades of experience and passion to MorningNewsBeat. Even after more than 20 years of writing about the food business, Kevin likes nothing better than getting on a plane or behind the wheel of his convertible and traveling to someplace he hasn’t been before, where he can eat the local food, taste the local beer or wine, and find out what makes the local retailers tick. He’s reported from 45 of the United States and from some two dozen different countries around the globe.

    • Michael Sansolo, the long time senior vice president of the Food Marketing Institute and past editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, who each week offers a diverse and unique view of the changing nature of today’s shoppers and their impact on the food retail industry. Through countless studies and work with some of the world’s most innovative retailers and manufacturers, Sansolo has an excellent perspective on the changing nature of shopping, cooking, eating and competition.

    “I am a regular reader and really like the short, to the point summary of industry news. I always get a "kick" out of your comments, as they are not filtered and a little on the edge. Not always flattering, as we have taken our fair share of criticism, but candid and full of common sense. You tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. Keep up the good work, we like our dose with our morning Java!”
    -Eric Claus, President and CEO, The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company


    Contact us now!

    Call Michael Sansolo at 202-258-4365, or email Kevin Coupe at: .

    KC's View:

    Published on: January 12, 2009

    Is your company coping efficiently and effectively with the stunning economic changes that have taken place in the marketplace in the past few months?

    Michael Sansolo and Kevin Coupe can help.

    Are you turning challenges into opportunities, and providing your organizations with the tools to help people become thought leaders rather than lemmings?

    Michael Sansolo and Kevin Coupe can help.

    Are you waiting for the world to get back to normal, rather than seeing today’s world as the constantly changing new normal, and redefining your business to embrace new opportunities?

    If so, you could be making one of the biggest mistakes of your career.

    Michael Sansolo and Kevin Coupe can help.

    We’re not talking platitudes and pontification. We’re talking about hard-edged, straight-to-the-point thinking that puts your customers and business opportunities into the context of daily events and the ever-evolving big picture.

    Kevin Coupe and Michael Sansolo tackle this task every day on, and they’ve done it for years in presentations for groups ranging from 25 to 2500.

    And they can do it now, for your company or organization.

    Before it is too late.

    Want more information?

    Just contact Michael Sansolo at 202-258-4365, or email Kevin Coupe at: .

    KC's View: