Saturday, 25 June 2016


On Thursday last week the UK voted to leave the European Union, shocking the world and revealing a divided country. 51.9% of the votes believed that Britain would be better without the European Union. The high Brexit votes in the North of England were the first sign of things to come in the EU referendum - and 58 per cent of the North East backed leaving the EU. Statistics also revealed that 73% of 18-24 year old voters wanted to remain but following the defeat for the remain campaign the current Prime Minister David Cameron resigned. A new PM will be appointed in the coming months to lead the UK through their EU exit over the next couple of years but markets and currency tumbled over the uncertainty of what lies ahead for businesses & individuals.

M&M's Get Ready for Rio

M&M's have released a new colour mix in preparation for the Rio Olympics. The paccks will be available in peanut and chocolate and feature green, blue & yellow sweets. However you may not be able to find these in Sweden. This is because a Swedish court has ruled that the confectionery firm Mars can no longer advertise its M&M's brand with the lower case lettering "m&m". The court ruled that the logo is too similar to the single lower case "m" used by the Swedish chocolate covered peanut brand Marabou. If Mars doesn't appeal it will have to use the capital M&M logo in Sweden starting in July.


The British brand has emerged as one of the fastest-growing snacks in the UK. Though Propercorn has yet to make a profit, it now employs around 40 staff, had takings of £10m last year, and forecasts sales of between £15m to £17m this year. In 2009, aged 26, Cassandra Stavrou quit her job and moved back in with her mum in London, helped by a deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit. By working in pubs in the evenings and at weekends, as well as undertaking painting commissions, she managed to scrape together a £10,000 start-up fund. Their success has come in tandem with an explosion in popcorn's popularity, with UK sales increasing from £50m in 2010 to £129m in 2015, according to Mintel.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

EU Referendum Explained

The European Union - often known as the EU - is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. On 23 June Britain will decide by a referendum whether it will remain in the European Union or if it will leave – the so-called Brexit option. So are Britain better being in or out? It depends which way you look at it - or what you believe is important. Leaving the EU would be a big step - arguably far more important than who wins a general election - but would it set the nation free or condemn it to economic ruin? Big business - with a few exceptions - tends to be in favour of Britain staying in the EU because it makes it easier for them to move money, people and products around the world. 

Disneyland Shanghai Opens

Ten of thousands of people are expected to visit the Disneyland resort in Shanghai on Thursday as the $5.5 billion park opens its doors after five years of construction. The park, which is the largest investment from Disney overseas, opened its doors with fireworks, dancing Disney characters and support from two of the most powerful leaders of the world. Disney sees the resort as an opportunity to capitalise on China’s middle class and to capture a slice of the country’s $610 billion tourism industry. Disney estimates that 300 million people are living within a three hour commute to the park. That includes visitors who can afford the park’s entrance fee as ticket prices vary from $56 during off peak times to $76 at weekend. If Disneyland Shanghai manages to attract 18 million annual visitors, it should produce $150 million in earnings before interest, taxes and other items by 2018. The resort is Disney sixth park and fourth one oversees. The other foreign locations include Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Poppits Toothpaste

Many people are becoming more conscious of how much waste they produce, and that awareness leads to a secondary issue: we realize how many things in life lack a less-wasteful alternative, and toothpaste is one such thing. Sure, you could concoct homemade (and therefore packaging-free) toothpaste at home out of baking soda and some other ingredients, but it's going to taste vile. The alternative? Possibly, if its crowdfunding campaign is successful, it'll be the Poppits toothpaste pods. The company behind Poppits is seeking funding on Kickstarter, where they’ve so far raised about $39,000 of their $50k goal. A pledge of $12 will get backers a pack of whitening pods, which are anticipated to ship to backers in October of this year. There is also a kids version available that appears to come in three colors with three fruit flavors.

Avocado Thieves

High prices and surging demand have sparked a spate of avocado thefts in New Zealand. Hundreds have been stolen in bulk from orchards, with thieves using rakes to drag fruit straight from the tree before selling them on. The fruits themselves are immature this time of year so consumers buying them will have a "very bad eating experience", an industry body said.  In New Zealand avocado sell for between NZ$4-6 (US$2.8-$4.2; £2-£3) each.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sports Direct Under Spotlight

Sports Direct's founder Mike Ashley has admitted workers at its Derbyshire warehouse were paid below the minimum wage and its policy of fining staff for being late was unacceptable. HMRC is investigating the firm over the minimum wage issue, Mr Ashley told MPs. An internal investigation had discovered "some issues" with working practices at the warehouse, which he had "hopefully" addressed, he said. The firm had "probably" outgrown his ability to run it, Mr Ashley agreed. He said much of what he'd found out, after starting an internal investigation into how staff were treated at its Shirebrook distribution centre six months ago, was an "unpleasant surprise".

Amazon Fresh

Amazon is competing with British supermarkets as it launches its own food delivery service in the UK in 69 central and east London postcodes Amazon Fresh is available to Amazon Prime customers in areas including Camden, Hackney, Soho, Marylebone and Mayfair  as the service makes its first steps outside the US. Prime users are already paying a £79 annual subscription for the service which offers TV and music streaming and free deliveries on certain items. They can now sign up to the AmazonFresh service for an additional £6.99 monthly fee with unlimited deliveries for orders of above £40. Customers will be able to order from a catalogue of about 130,000 products. Same-day delivery will be available, allowing shoppers to order at lunchtime for a delivery at 5pm the same evening. It puts further pressure on Britain's big four supermarkets which are already facing a battle against the rise of German discounters Aldi and Lidl, which continue to win customers with their low prices and increased store numbers. 

World Beating Wine

It doesn't have to cost a fortune to stock your cellar with red wines to impress your guests at summer barbecues this summer. An Asda red wine priced at £4.37 has been named the best in the world in a blind tasting test with a panel of 240 experts at the world's largest and most influential wine competition. La Moneda Reserva Malbec from Central Valley in Chile (2015) was awarded best in show in the best single-varietal red under £15 at this year's Decanter World Wine Awards, from 16,000 other entries.The wine is currently sold out on the Asda wine shop but is still available at the grocery website.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Money Doesn't Equal Happiness

Scientists have revealed one of the most effective ways to increase how happy you are and it’s much simpler than you might think. Working for a charity, social enterprise or other not-for-profit organisation increases your happiness levels sharply, research has found. A study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology analysed data on 12,786 people working in the private sector and 966 people employed in not-for-profit organisations. It found that not only were those in the third sector happier, but that a person working for a private company would have to earn another £27,000 per year to be as happy as their not-for-profit counterparts.  The study also found higher pay does not result in higher pay satisfaction, as third sector employees expressed similar satisfaction levels over how much they earn compared to private sector employees, despite having significantly lower salaries than them. 
Feel Good Factor

Granny Cool Persevered!

Preserves brand Granny Cool appeared on Dragon's Den 16 months ago but they failed to get investment in their traditional recipe preserves despite praise from some of the Dragons. Peter Jones said that it was a 'fantastic product' but added 'this will only ever be regional'. After hard work from the partnership on the branding and product range they have now managed to secure a listing in 339 Sainsbury's stores. This can just show that the Dragons don't always know it all! Looking into the future they are looking to take the brand even further.

Plastic Bank Note

The design of Britain's first plastic banknote has been unveiled with the promise it will "stand the test of time". The five-pound note, which will be released into circulation in September, features former prime minister Sir Winston Churchill. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney paid tribute to the wartime PM's "bulldog spirit" as he revealed the design at Sir Winston's birthplace at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. "This spirit is just one, only one, of his many contributions that the Bank commemorates with the new fiver," Mr Carney said. The new design is set to enter circulation in the autumn with a first print-run of 440 million notes. They are said to last 2.5 times longer than paper money but beware the polymer notes are apparently prone to sticking together.