Friday, May 29, 2009

This Modern Life...

Not What Charlie expected.

Todays sensationalized over-reaction comes courtesy of the National Sleep Foundation, claiming that "many teens get 3 to 5 hours of sleep" per night - and this is caused by electronics and caffeine.

Within the story, they say that their sample averages 4 electronics items per bedroom (ipod, computer, TV and phone), and that they average 100mgs of caffeine a day required for them to stay up late - and not get the 8+ hours of sleep the NSF recommends.

It does seem to me that they are going after the wrong stuff. Surely it is the demands (and opportunities) of modern life that are the challenge. Combine schoolwork, after school activities and an active social life - and you squeeze the time resources available. Who could fault a teen for not wanting all of those outlets.

Back at Cadbury, we called this a "fully loaded life". The challenge is more about compressing those opportunities rather than holding the enablers responsible?

Thursday, May 28, 2009


As we all become more digital-reliant, saving interesting stuff has become tougher... Especially if you just print everything - or rely on Google Desktop to do the heavy lifting for you.

A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to Evernote, which can save whatever you want to clip from online - and save it: Once saved the data is searchable (both in graphic and character form), and links back to the original source.

Love it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The "Whys and Wherefors" of Sugar vs HFCS

There is a substantial interest in traditional sugar-sweetened soft drinks Vs their current HFCS sweetened descendants, driven by Pepsi Throwback.

In some quarters the switch is regarded as a move back to a healthier product... with HFCS being an evil sweetener. This article from Agweek challenges the notion, with a nice analysis on the realities of HFCS vs Sugar as an ingredient.

To my mind the only real difference is in taste. Sugar (or medium invert as it often gets called), just tastes better - more pleasant mouth feel, less coating, and it helps fruit flavors blend. The products I have had the chance to work on always benefited from the intense and rounded sweet taste that real sugar provides.

So enjoy the real sugar alternatives while they are around. And use them as mixers for alcohol (a really good application)... But don't kid yourself that they are better for you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cola Sensationalism

Coke's Cool Summer 2009 Look

So it turns out that drinking between 3 and 10 liters of cola per day could be bad for you. Anyone surprised? Thought not.

But this comment was most interesting: "In a commentary, Dr Clifford Packer from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Centre in Ohio said... "With aggressive mass marketing, super-sizing of soft drinks, and the effects of caffeine tolerance and dependence, there is very little doubt that tens of millions of people in industrialised countries drink at least 2-3 l of cola per day."

Tens of millions of people drinking 5 - 9 cans per day, or 4 - 6 single serve 20z bottles. Must admit that seems high. Yes, I have seen and met the biggest consumers who love their chosen beverage to the tune of a 12 pack-a-day... but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Again sensationalism mixed with guestimation leads nowhere.

Monday, May 11, 2009

NY's Bigger Better Bottle Bill - What a Disaster!

The politicians at NY state government want state specific UPC's for deposit required containers... And by June 1st!

Just insane!

  • It will increase consumer prices through increased complexity

  • Its a trend could grind the US food system to a halt. Imagine each of the 50 states decides its own UPC, for each beverage in its grocery stores...

I am all for a greener supply chain approach, but adding a NY specific UPC code is no solution.

Stop the insanity.

Innovation on the Ropes...

Mintel is reporting that new product launches have declined by 51% in 1Q 2009 vs 1Q 2008. Looks like the constriction of capital, allied with changing consumer needs is finally arresting a decade of innovation.

Of specific interest to me is the data that the non-alcoholic beverage segment has declined by 56%. Its interesting that the new product with most interest within the investment community is Orange Crush through the Pepsi system, while the energy segment consolidates, the water segment declines and sports drinks enter a phase of price promotion.

Now is the time for a new idea to kick start the cycle again.