Boomers and Millennials alike are buzzing about CBD

New study reveals generational preferences in the use of CBD oil.

Hiding in plain sight for decades on the shelves of specialty stores and online, cannabidiol (CBD) oil is taking the mainstream health, wellness and beauty industries by storm. While likely benefiting from the legalization of medical marijuana in many states, the CBD oils market is now poised for even more dramatic growth.

That’s due, in large part, to the 2018 Farm Bill, signed by President Donald Trump in December. The bill designates hemp as an agricultural crop and makes hemp farming legal nationwide, though states can create their own growing and use regulations. It also puts hemp-based CBD oil front and center, including with FDA, which continues its stance that CBD is a drug ingredient requiring agency approval to add to food or health/supplement products.

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Source: Supermarket News


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Arizona Holidays

The Grand Canyon State

Arizona, the name itself inspires images of sun-drenched desert cities, spas and dazzling resorts. Experience Old West legends, Native American and Hispanic heritage, adventurous guest ranches, shopping, sports and much more. Blessed with bright sunshine and fine weather year round, Arizona has some of the most varied landscapes on the planet. Endless places in which to fish, sail, swim, peddle, paddle or even just sit around and be amazed. Climb into the sky by balloon or hang-glider, explore the depths of great caves, go white-water rafting or put miles between you and civilization on horseback or in the comfort of a roof down convertible.

Arizona is regarded as the birthplace of desert-style golf and is also home to many alpine fairways and more traditional courses – over 300 offering a tee to suit all tastes. As well as its many campgrounds and cabins, Arizona also offers some more unusual places to bed down including houseboats on Lake Powell, Navajo hogans near Monument Valley and yurts at Lyman Lake State Park. Whatever you are looking for in a holiday the chances are you’ll find it in the Grand Canyon State.

Source: Visit USA

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Colorado Holidays

The Centennial State

Colorado invites you to come and be captivated by its western history, world renowned ski resorts, modern art, famous breweries, wonderful wineries and the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains; just imagine your perfect holiday hot spot and make it a reality in Colorado. Ten hours flying time from the UK, Colorado is a year-round destination. During the spring, summer and autumn months visitors can experience the vibrant capital city of Denver and explore the four national parks and a World Heritage Site. Take in the scenery on 25 scenic and historic byways, enjoy wine tasting in over 80 vineyards, relax on one of eight historic train rides or tackle a myriad of world class outdoor activities. Then in the winter months head to one of the 26 world-class ski resorts where skiing and boarding the world famous Rockies while admiring panoramic vistas of jagged mountain peaks is the norm. Add crisp, blue-sky days and incredibly varied terrain, and it’s easy to understand why Colorado attracts more skier and snowboarder visits than any other state in the US. From sky-scraping, snow-capped mountains, to rolling prairies, rushing rivers to desert lands, in Colorado visitors can be sure to experience it all.


coloradoSource: Visit USA

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California Holidays

The Golden State


Gaining an insight into the minds of the locals often helps visitors paint the clearest picture of what makes California truly special. For many it’s the climate – temperate year round along the OC and in San Diego, dramatic in San Francisco and the North Coast and with snow guaranteed for up to six months of the year in Lake Tahoe and Mammoth. Or, maybe it’s the natural wonders – from the desert oases of Palm Springs and barren Death Valley to the volcanoes in the Shasta Cascade and the waterfalls in Yosemite.

While many come here to take time out, for others the urban meccas of LA, San Francisco, San Diego and now Sacramento provide more than enough glamour, cuisine and culture to satisfy the most demanding palate. And speaking of palates, the winelands are never far away offering tastings from the most well-known names in Napa and Sonoma to a more personal experience tasting from the barrel whilst listening to the winemakers’ own story in the Gold Country or Central Coast. You are never far away from an icon – the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood sign, or the redwood trees – and to really get to the heart of the Golden State just explore, discover and create your own story about what makes it special to you.



Source: Visit USA

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10 Macro Trends Impacting Food And Beverage Innovation In 2019

According to Forbes, food developers love thinking about which “it” flavor is going to pop this year, or which vegetable will replace kale and cauliflower. But there are generally bigger, longer-term societal changes that drive these things. We call them Macro Trends, and we’re thinking about them in the short term, and considering how they will impact things in the long term. Forbes’ picks for 2019 are the following:

1. Factory Automation Hits QSR

2. The Sprouting Plant-Based EcoSystem

3. The New Ag: From Sea to Cell

4. Sweetness Preference Shifting

5. The New Head Buzz

6. Cannabis Compound Callouts

7. Clean Label Commoditization Drives Brand Importance

8. Big Food And $ Offer Motivation to Start A Food Biz

9. Single-Serve Plastic Packaging at Risk

10. The Devaluing And De-socializing Of Dining Out

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Source: Forbes


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Was 2018 the year of the influential sustainable consumer?


Nearly half of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment, according to a survey from Nielsen. Consumers spent $128.5 billion on sustainable fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products this year. Since 2014, sales of sustainable products have grown nearly 20 percent, with a compound average growth rate four times larger than conventional products.


Today, sales of products with sustainable attributes make up 22% of the total store, with organic, sustainable and clean attributes driving the majority of the sustainable category’s growth. Notably, sustainability’s share between 2014 and 2017 grew nearly three percentage points, while conventional products’ share of sales dropped by almost four. By 2021, we expect sustainable goods will make up 25% of store sales.


In the U.S., there is a large gap between generations when it comes to sustainable purchase intent. When surveyed, Millennials are twice as likely (75% vs. 34%) than Baby Boomers to say they are definitely or probably changing their habits to reduce their impact on the environment. They’re also more willing to pay more for products that contain environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients (90% vs. 61%), organic / natural ingredients (86% vs. 59%), or products that have social responsibility claims (80% vs. 48%).


Millennials, however, are also more likely than Baby Boomers (53% vs. 34%) to say they’d be willing to forgo a brand in order to buy products that are environmentally friendly. They also find it much easier to find environmentally friendly products in the stores where they shop (74% vs. 46%).

“The generational divide in sustainability is fueled by technology. We’ve found that sustainable shoppers in the U.S. are 67% more likely to be digitally engaged, which means they are used to having the products and knowledge they want right at their fingertips. With their devices playing a significant role in their purchase decisions, a simple and frictionless shopping experience between on and offline is critical,” said Sarah Schmansky, Vice President, Fresh/H&W Growth & Strategy, Nielsen.

Age isn’t the only factor to consider when looking for sustainable consumers. According to Nielsen and Natural Marketing Institute’s (NMI) segmentation, 60% of Americans fall into the “Sustainable Mainstream” category. They want to be more sustainable, but they are also searching for some added benefits, such as improving health or cost and environmental savings.

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Source: The Nielsen Company (US)


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5 Trends That Will Redefine Retail In 2019

ecommerce-1The retail industry has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade, and it continues to evolve quickly.

Led by advancements in digital channels, 2018 has been kind to retail in the US, with the market reporting growth every month so far after a record-setting 2017. Even so, the face of the market is quickly evolving, and retailers must adapt to new shifts in demographics, attitudes and consumer preferences.

In 2019, the market will be defined by emerging technologies that change the way consumers interact with their favorite brands, a shift in preferences, and the emergence of new battle lines for e-commerce.

Let’s look at five trends that will shape retail in the year to come.

1. The glass box and brands-as-a-culture

More and more, consumers are shopping with their emotions instead of their wallets. Indeed, millennials’ changing preferences and attitudes regarding corporate responsibility, social consciousness, and more have already impacted how retail brands present and position themselves. The trend has resulted in brands having to equate their internal culture with their exterior identity, turning companies into what some have dubbed “culture coders”.

Companies are increasingly engaging consumers outside of traditional shopping parameters and becoming cultural figures. This trend cuts both ways, however, as this new measuring stick can also result in unintended consequences.

“Today, brands need to look more actively and purposefully at the culture buzzing around them—in entertainment, in fashion, in news, on social media—and use that awareness to inform how they should best position and integrate themselves into the world,” Peter Grossman stated on Quora.

Companies will have to consider the image their brand conveys to the world, and work to create cultures that match consumers’ changing values and world views.

2. Making e-commerce shipping faster

E-commerce continues its march toward becoming the most popular shopping medium across the board. In September 2018 the sector expanded by 11.4%. Today, most major brands have an online presence, and they all offer comparable prices. Even stores like Amazon and Walmart have become largely homogenous in this regard, so retailers seeking to differentiate themselves have found other avenues to deliver value to consumers.

A recent study found that the amount of time people are willing to wait for free shipping has dropped from 5.5 days in 2012 to 4.5 days on average. Programs like Amazon Prime have made two-day shipping the standard, so cutting down on shipping time is vital for any e-commerce business looking to stay afloat.

Importantly, this trend is set to continue well into 2019 as brands evaluate new ways to differentiate themselves from an increasingly saturated crowd. And no, this doesn’t necessarily call for drone delivery systems.

“What happens if customers don’t have to compromise on their buying experience because they get the exact same delivery experience (if not better) on their favorite brand’s website?” asks Dhruv Saxena, CEO of logistics innovator ShipBob. “This is the version of the world which excites us; the power of any individual anywhere to create a brand they are passionate about, to be able to serve and treat their customers the way they would want to be treated.”

3. The rise of experiential retail

The old model of in-store (and even online) retail strictly focused on products being sold. However, consumers have slowly but surely been moving away from strictly shopping for products, instead seeking a more engaging experience. The trend has been driven largely by millennials and their preference for experiences over things.

Even so, simply remodeling a store isn’t enough. Nearly 3,800 storesare expected to close their doors by year’s end, and the brands that do survive will have done so by creating engrossing experiences.

Stores like Sephora, for example, have rethought their stores by combining traditional elements with mobile apps and activities that are completely unrelated to making a purchase. Samsung unveiled a $43 million “pop-up” that features its products, but doesn’t have any for sale. The emergence of virtual reality, augmented reality, and improved mobile technology will continue to push retail brands to add layers and new experiences to their traditional retail models.

Of course, many of these retail “experiences” that have become popular in recent months depend on a plethora of connected hardware. “Smart IoT devices such as beacons and smart shelves offer retail companies the efficiency to ensure their staff are effectively utilized, but physical IoT technology that is not secured properly can leave networks accessible to threats,” notes Rob Brown, director of services at Cloud Management Suite.

“Although smart in name, smart IoT uses open wireless networks and Bluetooth in order to communicate, creating more vulnerable endpoints in brick-and-mortar establishments,” he continues. “Tracking these IoT devices in retail companies is essential, because without knowing which ones you have, you cannot identify which ones are less secure or have known vulnerabilities which can be exploited.”

4. The rise of subscription e-commerce

Today’s buyers are also increasingly seeking shopping that is tailored to their preferences and delivered directly to their doors. The confluence of these trends has resulted in the emergence of subscription e-commerce, businesses that curate products and ship them to customers on a regular basis.

The sector has been witness to explosive expansion since 2010, growing from $57 million in sales to more than $2.6 billion by 2016. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, 15% of online consumers signed up for subscription services in 2017.

The trend goes hand in hand with users’ search for experiences, as they are more willing to shell out cash for a service that delivers a tangible benefit along with a personalized offering.

The trend should continue to build momentum in the year ahead.

5. Multi-channel is the new normal

One of the interesting dichotomies of the current retail model is that despite their alarming closure rates, brick-and-mortar stores still play a key role in the sales process. Nevertheless, it has transitioned from the primary point of sales to being part of a broader retail strategy. Instead of a single touchpoint for consumers, the trend in retail over the past few years has been to widen the net that brands use to catch leads and convert them.

This is largely a result of the changing methods consumers employ to make shopping decisions. BigCommerce’s 2018 Omni-Channel Retail Report found that only 11.8% of Gen-Z shops on Facebook, while nearly 25% of Baby Boomers shop on the social platform. Millennials, meanwhile, prefer to buy products they discover on Instagram and Snapchat.

How can independent retailers maintain active presences in all of these places and keep fulfillment streamlined? This calls for deep integration across all channels, including websites, marketplaces, social media and brick-and-mortar.

Multi-channel is vital for captivating consumers and keeping them engaged from first impressions to the eventual point of sale. Focusing on providing excellent service across sales channels will pay big dividends in the coming year.

The latest trends in retail are driven by a combination of an evolving technological landscape and the shifting preferences of consumers as demographics start to skew younger. By embracing these trends and preparing for them, retailers can look to 2019 as another positive opportunity to grow.

Source: Forbes


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Connecticut Holidays

The Constitution State

With its beautiful coastal drives, world-class museums, renowned attractions and rich history, Connecticut offers a charming New England feel with a cosmopolitan style. Connecticut is filled with postcard scenes on the water, resplendent fall foliage, stunning architecture and inviting farms and vineyards. For couples there are romantic and luxurious B&Bs like the Mayflower Inn and Spa, or the Bee and Thistle Inn, acclaimed restaurants, fine wineries, and boat rides along the Connecticut River.

Families and kids love theme parks like Lake Compounce, the acclaimed Connecticut Science Center, aquariums and the family-fun filled Mystic Seaport. Adults can test their luck at the world-famous Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods Resort Casino and take in exciting live entertainment. History and culture buffs will marvel at the historic homes like the Florence Griswold House and the Hill-Stead Museum. Renowned art and famous architecture can be found throughout the state, from Yale University in New Haven to the Mark Twain House in Hartford and Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan. Travellers enjoy Connecticut because they can create any kind of holiday experience they want. Just a quick, scenic drive from New York, Boston and any other New England state, Connecticut…it’s closer than you think.

Source: Visit USAconnecticut

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Majority of Consumers Eating More Plant-Based Foods

More than half of U.S. consumers, 52 percent, are eating more plant-based foods and beverages, according to a study by DuPont Nutrition & Health. The number rises to more than two-thirds (65 percent), globally.

The study explored six consumer groups—Health Helpers, Weight Strugglers, Health Wise, Taste Driven, Good Life and Just Food—that all said that eating plant-based food makes them feel healthier. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of respondents said their change to plant-based food was permanent or they hoped it was permanent. Taste was cited as the top response as a barrier to consuming plant-based food.

According to Greg Paul, Ph.D., MBA, marketing leader, beverage industry at DuPont Nutrition & Health, the study reveals a “bright immediate future” for the megatrend of plant-based eating. He notes a seismic shift occurring in eating habits globally, which creates a significant market opportunity.

Source: Specialty Food Association


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