October 23, 2021

Food marketers taking notice in the rise of male shoppers

Women are known to be the decision makers in the home, which is why many advertisers cater ads for household goods toward them, but times are changing.

Food makers are revamping their packaging towards men in reaction to a growing trend that males are doing more grocery shopping and meal preparation, according to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal.

Companies such as General Mills and Kraft Foods redesigned their product packaging in hopes of attracting a new customer for products they might not normally buy, such as yogurt. They're selling larger portion sizes, using darker-schemed designs with red and black and also using words, such as "ultimate," for the product to appear more manly.

Apparently, many products in grocery stores don't appeal to men, the head of research at Innova Market Insights told the WSJ. "A beer or soda in a long-necked, brown bottle makes a man feel like a man. Drinking out of a straw does not—puckered lips and sunken cheeks are not a good guy look," she says.

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October 09, 2021

Cheap flavoured tobacco is turning out to be a big money maker

An explosion of cheap, flavoured cigars in recent years has delivered a nice boost to cigar sales in North America and may be changing the demographics of cigar smoking.

Despite a four-year-old ban on flavoured cigarettes, more than half of Canadian high school students admit they’ve tried smoking some sort of flavoured tobacco within the past month, according to a new study.

Fruit- and candy-flavoured tobacco packaged in bright colours aimed at children-- flavours available include chocolate, mint, cherry, peach, and strawberry -- makes it easier for youth to become addicted to tobacco, warns Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society.

Cheap, flavoured, small cigars are marketed aggressively to young people and have resulted in high school kids being twice as likely as their older counterparts to pick up the habit, according to some estimates.

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August 08, 2021

The secret behind a best-selling product

Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle me Elmo, Furby, Sophie the Giraffe.

What do these toys all have in common?

Well, they were all highly sought-after toys that stores just couldn't keep on their shelves.

And even though Sophie the Giraffe -- a baby teether -- originated in France in 1961 it is still a hit today with parents and babies alike across the globe.

In fact, more Sophie's are sold each year in France (816,000 in 2010) than babies are born (796,000).

But what is it that makes a tiny teething toy like Sophie so popular?

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July 02, 2021

Celebrity chef Paula Deen finds herself in hot water

There have been many news stories brewing about celebrity chef Paula Deen amid reports of her spouting racial slurs some 25 years ago.

Her empire is quickly crumbling like her buttery apple pie crust.

First The Food Network dropped her followed by other giants including Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Caesar's Entertainment, Novo Nordisk, Target, Home Depot, Walgreen's, J.C. Penney, Sears, and Ballantine Books, the publisher of her upcoming cookbook, Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favourite Recipes, All Lightened Up, in which pre-sales have rocketed the book to the number one best-selling spot on

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July 01, 2021

Why you're better off sticking to that grocery list

It's no secret that supermarket layouts, promotions and even smells are designed to encourage consumers to spend. Every section of the grocery store is designed to make you buy more food than you need.

But, according to one New Zealand study, making a list before shopping is an effective way to resist temptation and avoid last minute deals at the check-out. Written shopping lists significantly reduce average spending. In addition, those with a list also finished shopping more quickly, the researchers report.

All of which is no surprise to Crystal Paine who blogs at MoneySavingMom.

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June 28, 2021

Mac's wants to sell liquor, hire more staff

Mac's logoForget the about a case of beer?

Mac's Convenience Stores is set to create 1,600 new, full-time jobs in Ontario if given the go-ahead to sell beer, wine and spirits in it's stores.

The petitions have been on store counters for quite some time now gaining signatures in support from customers across the province.

Currently, two Mac's stores in Ontario (located in Thamesford and Craigleith) are permitted to sell alcohol.

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June 20, 2021

Obesity on the menu for children

Fast food giants are wowing kids with their enticing marketing tactics including  talking dogs, kooky clowns, and colourful cartoon and crowned characters.

And don't forget, each kids' meal comes with the latest and greatest toy.

The list goes on. And so does the obesity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), childhood obesity is not improving.

The organization points the finger at advertising as the main culprit specifically targeting children via television, social media and smart phones.

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June 19, 2021

Smoking ban at work might help employees butt out

Employees need to quit -- smoking that is.

According to a new Conference Board of Canada report, smoking bans on all company property should be part of a comprehensive non-smoking policy in Canadian workplaces.

The report revealed, as well as prohibiting smoking both indoors and outdoors on company property, that additional measures such as smoking cessation programs would also encourage employees to quit smoking.

Statistics Canada 2012 figures show that 20.3 per cent of Canadians still smoke despite warning labels on cigarette packages, hidden packages behind the counter in stores and even clever advertising by the Ontario Ministry of Health aimed at preventing people from smoking.

The Quit the Denial campaign claims social smoking is as ridiculous as social farting, social nibbling and social earwax picking.

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June 04, 2021

Many Canadian retailers oppose lifelong confinement of pigs

I think it was CTV's W5 investigation into pig farms called "Food for Thought" that did it for me.

I haven't eaten meat since.

Now, the Retail Council of Canada and some of Canada's largest retailers are jumping on board to sourcing fresh pork products from alternatives to gestation crates over the next nine years.

Canadian companies Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, Loblaw, Metro, Federated Co-operatives, Sobey's and Co-op Atlantic are all on board.

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April 03, 2021

Phone for a pizza in April

Ever wonder what to do with your old mobile phone?

Or that outdated iPod that you upgraded from years ago?

Or the myriad of chargers tangled up in a drawer that don't seem to fit any of your current gadgets?

If you're hungry for an answer, Pizza Pizza might be the solution.

In delivering on its commitment to the environment, the pizza giant is offering up free pepperoni slices in return for your old phones, iPods and chargers during the month of April.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...