Sunday, 17 September 2017

Apple iPhone X

Apple has revealed a high-end smartphone with an "edge-to-edge" screen that has no physical home button. The iPhone X - which is referred to as "ten" - uses a facial recognition system to recognise its owner rather than a fingerprint-based one. Apple said FaceID can work in the dark by using 30,000 infra-red dots to check an identity, and was harder to fool than its old TouchID system. It is Apple's most expensive phone yet. A 64 gigabyte capacity model will cost $999 (£999 in the UK) when it goes on sale on 3 November. A 256GB version will be priced at $1,149 (£1,149 in the UK). One expert commented that Apple's ability to get consumers to spend more on its smartphones than rivals' was "legendary".

Growing Clothes

Clothes that grow with your child have won the UK's annual James Dyson prize for innovation. The prototype garments fit children aged between six months and three years, and were created by engineering graduate Ryan Yasin. His creation is now being considered for a worldwide prize. Parents spend more than £2,000 on clothes for one child before they even reach the age of three. Does this solve a problem? Why might this idea not make the shops?

New £10 Note

The new £10 note featuring novelist Jane Austen has entered circulation - marking a return of a woman in addition to the Queen on Bank of England notes. The launch comes after a four-month period when women, apart from the Queen, have not been represented on the Bank's notes.One billion polymer Jane Austen £10 notes have been printed and will be fed into general circulation over the coming weeks and months. There is also less than a month to spend or bank the old £1 coins which will be withdrawn from circulation on 15th October. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Hot Crisps

Claimed to to be the UK's first 'hot crisps', Essex's very own 'artisan' snack purveyor Fairfields Farm is bringing out a new product called Heat & Eat. The range of potato crisps comes in 'patented triple-layered packaging', which allows the snack stay crunchy despite 30 seconds in the microwave. The idea is that the crisps taste as if they've come straight out of the fryer – warm, crispy potato, glistening with oil and dusted with seasoning. Fairfields Farm said: "Ever wondered what hot handcooked crisps taste like fresh from the fryer? With Heat & Eat, you can experience the most delicious hot crisps ever, straight from the microwave in just 30 seconds". Heat & Eat has been created to "revitalise the snacking market and give consumers a whole new eating experience". Fairfields Farm believes that manufacturers have been focusing their innovation on flavours, rather than new, bolder concepts. 

Smile to Pay

Diners at a KFC store in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou will have a new way to pay for their meal. Just smile. Customers will be able to use a “Smile to Pay” facial recognition system at the tech-heavy, health-focused concept store, part of a drive by Yum China to lure a younger generation of consumers. Diners can pay by scanning their faces at an ordering kiosk and entering a phone number - which is meant to guard against people cheating the system.The store’s menu offers seasonal produce, made-to-order salads and paninis. The chicken on the menu is “roasted”, while drinks include freshly squeezed juices, gourmet coffees and craft beer. KFC have also launched a limited edition smartphone to celebrate 30 years since it first opened in China.


McDonald's workers are staging their first UK strike after walking out at two stores in a dispute over zero-hours contracts and conditions. Some workers at Cambridge and Crayford, south-east London, began the 24-hour action at midnight. A union called it a "brave" move by low-paid staff. The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union said staff wanted a wage of at least £10 an hour and more secure jobs. McDonald's said only 14 of the 33 union members balloted had joined in. McDonald's, which employs about 85,000 people in the UK, announced in April that workers would be offered a choice of flexible or fixed contracts with minimum guaranteed hours, saying that 86% had chosen to stay on flexible contracts. And it pointed to a series of pay rises as evidence that it treated its staff well.

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Better Burger

Burgers used to be fast and cheap - the epitome of fast food. But now a different type of patty exported from the US is rapidly expanding across the globe. US burger chain Five Guys International, is "the complete fundamental change" that has taken place with people prepared to pay more and wait longer for a more upmarket burger.So called millennials, the generation that came of age after the 2008 financial crisis, are their core customers. The trend of diners wanting to know where their food comes from, how it was prepared, and the "story" behind it has also helped drive the better burger's rapid expansion. Nonetheless, it's a profitable market, worth some £3.3bn in the UK last year, according to market research firm Mintel.Making sure its overseas burgers taste the same as those in the US is important, he says. "Unless you have consistency there is no brand... you've got to have some confidence that the burger you have in Dubai and Paris is the same as the one you have in California and Miami," he says.

Rosemary Water

If you can bottle it, it might make you a fortune. That is according to market research carried out by the world’s drinks industry. Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) says sales of bottled water outstripped sugary soft drinks in the US for the first time last year, while Zenith Global, a consulting firm, estimates that the global market has grown by 9 per cent annually in recent years and is now worth $147bn. It’s an increasingly crowded market, but an eye-poppingly lucrative one if you can get it right. Traditional beverages are losing ground to niche, healthier brands that communicate a story about purpose and function. After carrying out formal experimentation with various botanical scientists, he raised £2m worth of investment, which included £1m of his own money, and secured an exclusive deal with Harvey Nichols to sell his product - Rosemary Water. Retailing at £3.95 for a 750ml bottle, the water is made with rosemary extract and contains no sugar or preservatives.

Museum of Failure

Don't let the name fool you — Samuel West's "Museum of Failure" is an act of celebration. On June 7, West, a collector and self-described innovation researcher, debuted 51 failed products in a museum exhibition in the Swedish city of Helsingborg, all in the name of honoring the creative process. Visitors will get reacquainted with familiar names like Betamax and Blockbuster, and perhaps meet lesser-known flops — Twitter Peek, anyone? — all of which West has been collecting for the past year. "Even the biggest baddest most competent companies fail," West tells Business Insider. "The trick is to create an organizational culture that accepts failure so that you can fail small ... rather than failing big."
Museum of Failure

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Breaking 2

For Nike, this was glorious failure. The sportswear giant’s attempt to propel one of its athletes to the “impossible” feat of a sub-two-hour marathon may have come up an agonising 26 seconds short, but the #Breaking2 “moonshot” is likely to be remembered for setting new standards in sports marketing regardless. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the fastest person in history to run a marathon when he set a time of 2 hours and 25 seconds, about 2 and a half minutes faster than the current world record. But that will not trouble Nike, which is today basking in the praise of Kipchoge’s remarkable run, which was broadcast live simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter and can be watched in full on YouTube.Kipchoge and the two other runners who were attempting to smash the two-hour barrier were each wearing a specially customised shoe called the Zoom Vaporfly Elite. Having now been splashed all over the world's media, these futuristic trainers will soon go on sale to casual runners around the world backed by acres of earned media coverage.

Starbucks Launch Two New Healthier Drinks

Starbucks is launching two new coffee-based drinks in the UK, as it strives to tap into consumers’ growing appetite for healthy beverages. The Cold Brew Vanilla sweet cream and the Cappuccino Freddo, will both be available in stores throughout the UK from Thursday. The former combines vanilla syrup and semi-skimmed milk with cold brew coffee – coffee that has been brewed by steeping beans in cold water for 20 hours or more. The latter is espresso topped with foam made from skimmed milk. Starbucks said that both drinks are lower in calories than the average coffee drink it sells. Starbucks is not alone in facing the challenge of changing consumer behaviours and tastes, and swelling demand for healthier products.

The Bakers Who Boogie

This bakery encourages its staff to dance among the cakes to aid well-being and improve performance. A choreographer worked with the bakery in Burnley to turn their work movements into a dance. Their aim is to reduce repetitive strain injuries and also bring some motivation and joy to the members of staff. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Boohoo Profits Double

Annual pre-tax profits at online fashion retailer Boohoo have almost doubled to £31m - up from just under £16m last year.  Its sales have jumped by 51% to almost £300m, thanks to new overseas markets.  The Manchester-based firm puts its success down to "combining cutting-edge, aspirational design with an affordable price tag". Its booming sales growth has also been reflected in its share price, which has more than trebled in the past year. On its stock market flotation in 2014, it was valued at £560m. It is now worth about £2bn. The firm has gone from strength to strength in recent years, while its High Street rivals have had to deal with increasing competition from Boohoo and other online retailers. The company now has 5.2 active million customers worldwide, and crucially is able to rely on social media "influencers" and video bloggers - "vloggers" - to spread the word to its 18 to 24-year-old target market.

Happy Hiring

You can turn up for your Timpson interview with the world's finest CV or resume, and all the interviewer will do is work out whether you are a Mr Lazy (you don't have a hope), or a Mr Cheerful (you have a very good chance). "We purely interview for personality," says Mr Timpson, who has been leading his family's firm for the past 42 years. "We're not bothered by qualifications or CVs. We just look at the candidate and work out who they are, are they Mr Grumpy, Mr Slow, Mr Happy? "If they tick all the right boxes then we put them in the shop for half the day. That's it, I dreamt that up years ago." In explaining the thinking behind this rather novel approach to recruitment, Mr Timpson, 74, says that while you can train someone to do a job, you cannot train their personality. And if you look at the continuing performance of the business, the Mr Men method appears to work rather well. Timpson, a household name in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, saw sales rise 8% to £130m in the year to September 2015, with pre-tax profits up 65% to £10.3m.

Pawternity Leave

Scottish brewer Brewdog announced a rather unusual new employee perk earlier this year - one week's paid leave for all workers who adopt a puppy or rescue dog. Unsurprisingly the announcement - which was released to the media in a press release rather than just told to staff - made headlines around the world. Newspaper reports were quick to praise the scheme that Brewdog has dubbed "pawternity" leave. Also last year New York-based online retailer Boxed was praised when its co-founder and boss Chieh Huang announced that the company would contribute to the cost of employees' weddings.cMr Huang says he was inspired to start the unusual scheme when he saw one of his employees crying at work because he was struggling to cover the cost of his mother's medical bills and save for his forthcoming wedding. What perk would motivate you?

Coca Cola to cut 1,200 Jobs

The US firm Coca-Cola has said it will cut about 1,200 jobs due to falling demand for its fizzy drinks. Its global carbonated drink sales fell 1% in the quarter to 31 March, Coca-Cola said. Coca-Cola and rival PepsiCo's sales have taken a hit as consumers in North America and Europe have increasingly turned away from sugary drinks. The Coca-Cola cuts will begin in the second half of 2017 and continue into 2018, the company said. The firm said it was increasing its cost-cutting target by $800m in annualised savings, and now expects to save $3.8bn by 2019. The majority of the extra cost savings will come from corporate job reductions, incoming chief executive James Quincey said in a conference call. A spokesperson added that savings would also be made through the firm's supply chain, marketing, and changes to its operating model. Coca-Cola added that it expected its full-year adjusted profits to fall by between 1% and 3%, compared with the 1% to 4% decline it had forecast in February. The firm has more than 100,000 employees globally.
Coca Cola Job Cut

Sunday, 2 April 2017

April Fools

Brands were out in full force on Saturday trying to see if anyone would fall for some classic April fools pranks. With the amount of fake news out there on the internet these days it is becoming more difficult to tell whether or not it is real or not. The Subway brand is launched its first ever ice cream range… inspired by the nation’s most love Subs called - 'SUBzero' and  Burger King were trying to fool people with their launch of a Whopper Toothpaste. Google were also having fun by turning maps into a game of pacman whilst also trying to fool us with Google Gnome. 

Crayola Ditching Dandelion

Crayola is ditching one of the colours in its range. The company announced that it would be removing the gold-tinged dandelion stick from its boxes on Friday, to make way for a new one. It also ties in with National Crayon Day in America. It's only the third time in Crayola's history that it has retired one or more of its colours, and the first time it's taking one out of its box of 24. Other colours consigned to history are maize, raw umber, blizzard blue, mulberry and orange yellow. "Fans" of dandelion, which was introduced in 1990, aren't happy on Twitter. Crayola crayons were first produced in 1903 by Binney & Smith Co.  Based in Easton, Pennsylvania, Crayola is a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, which has its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Do even Crayola crayons have a product life cycle?

Loyalty at McDonalds

A 94-year-old American is celebrating more than four decades of working at McDonald's restaurants. Loraine Maurer of Evansville, Indiana, works two shifts per week, 44 years after joining the hamburger chain. The great-grandmother first joined in 1973 after her husband retired due to disability. "I told him we were too young to stay at home and so I went for a job," she recalled after enjoying a cake at a special party colleagues threw for her. She never meant to stay as long as she did, Mrs Maurer told ABC News, adding that she never thought of becoming a manager because she prefers to interact with her customers. Even though she contemplates retirement every winter, she says she never plans to leave. Even though she contemplates retirement every winter, she says she never plans to leave.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Britain's Cheapest Supermarket

Nathaniel Richards fell on hard times in 2011 and had to turn to food banks. When he heard that supermarket suppliers were throwing away food that was still safe to eat he decided to do something.  He set up Nifties in Dover in 2016, where the average price of an item is just 60p. The business is run as a social enterprise or social supermarket. Nathaniel also deals with local suppliers and farmers to get their wonky veg, which is rejected by supermarkets but is perfectly fine to eat.  The wonky veg is the cheapest food sold in Niftie’s, with white onions costing from just 2p each. In fact, veg sold in store is sold on a “pay what you like basis” where customers put what they want into an honesty box. While Nathaniel only currently has one Niftie’s store and one warehouse, he also runs an online shop that ships his discounted products across the UK.

Digital Advert Future

A company called  Lightvert is experimenting with the future of digital advertisements  It  has developed technology can produce images that appear to be 200m (656ft) high, but which only exist in the eye of the viewer for a fraction of a second. So could we be on the verge of seeing giant digital ads in our cities, similar to those featured in the seminal 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner? He is hoping that landlords will grab the opportunity to turn their buildings into revenue-generating digital billboards that are huge, yet physically unobtrusive. These are very early days for the firm, but Mr Siden believes outdoor advertising generally is overdue a leap forward in innovation. They are trying to generate £670,000 via crowdfunding to patent & develop this technology.

Has This Dress Been to More Countries Than You?

"Made in Morocco" says the label on the pink Zara shirt dress. While this may be where the garment was finally sewn together, it has already been to several other countries. In fact, it's quite possible this piece of clothing is better travelled than you. If it was human, it would have certainly journeyed far enough to have earned itself some decent air miles. The material used to create it came from lyocell - a sustainable alternative to cotton. The trees used to make this fibre come mainly from Europe, according to Lenzing, the Austrian supplier that Zara-owner Inditex uses. These fibres were shipped to Egypt, where they were spun into yarn. This yarn was then sent to China where it was woven into a fabric. This fabric was then sent to Spain where it was dyed, in this case pink. The fabric was then shipped to Morocco to be cut into the various parts of the dress and then sewn together.From dresses to t-shirts and trousers, most items of clothing sold around the world will have had similarly complicated journeys.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Expensive Jar of Air

Waitrose has asserted it offers "great value for money" - despite selling empty jam jars for 29p more than the cost of a full one. Shopper John Kilbride, from Glasgow, noticed that a branch of the supermarket was selling luxury Bonne Maman conserve for £1.71, while at the same time offering empty jars for £2. In a Twitter post, which has been liked more than 5,000 times, he wrote: "At Waitrose you can buy an empty jam jar for £2 or an identical one full of jam for £1.71. You decide..." The post prompted ridicule on social media as some consumers said the empty jar should be re-labelled as "Waitrose Bottled Fresh Air". However, some shoppers defended the grocer and pointed out that the Bonne Maman was on offer and the empty jar was bigger.

Crafting Local Success

Louise Clark started with a stall at Tynemouth Market but has now launched Elsee Crafts in Park View, Whitley Bay, thanks to support from North Tyneside Business Factory. Her new store features a dedicated gallery space to create and sell her range of unique art, stationery and prints. Louise said: “I never dreamed that when I made my first greetings card two years ago that I would now be opening my first shop. Elsee Crafts sells prints, photographs, gifts and stationery while the product range has now extended into photographic prints by a local photographer as well as a selection of items designed by her daughter, an art student. “We are now entering an exciting time in the evolution of Elsee Crafts from market stall to online and retail outlet and we are looking ahead to the future with a great deal of optimism for the opportunities opening up to our business.”

Gig Economy Exploiting Workers

Hundreds of thousands of workers in the gig economy want guaranteed employment rights such as holiday pay, and say that the Government should take action, a new survey shows. More than 1.3 million people are now working in casual jobs without guaranteed hours or pay if they are sick, research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found. The majority of those surveyed (63 per cent) believe they should be legally entitled to the basic rights enjoyed by employees. More than half felt gig firms were exploiting a lack of regulation and just 38 per cent said that they feel like their own boss. Many people in the gig economy may already be eligible for basic employment rights, Mr Cheese said, but are confused by their employment status. Currently, people can be defined as an employee, a worker or fully self-employed, with each category entitled to different rights.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Domino's Feels The Heat From Pizza Hut

Domino’s Pizza suffered a sharp slowdown in sales growth in early 2017 as rival Pizza Hut cut prices and consumers reined in spending. David Wild, the Domino’s chief executive, said Pizza Hut was “very aggressive” in January and that consumers were more cautious about spending. “Looking forward, the UK consumer environment is more difficult,” he said. “Our research tells us that customers are worried about rising prices. They’re not worried about job security but they are worried about prices. Over the first nine weeks of the year, sales growth at Domino’s stores open for more than a year dropped to 1.5%, down from 10.5% in the same period a year earlier. He said that Domino’s could gain from that because it “sits neatly in the middle” and could gain from customers opting for a takeaway rather than eating out. “This is a more value-conscious environment,” he added. Investors lost their appetite for Domino’s Pizza on Thursday, with shares plunging 16%.

VW ID Buzz Gets Green Light

Volkswagen's Microbus-inspired concept has the 'thumbs up' for production so far, but it needs a global green light first. Volkswagen is optimistic about a Microbus-style production car with design cues from the classic T1 and T2 buses - and the new model could even spawn a whole range of electric vehicles. Built on the new MEB platform, this potential EV MPV product family was previewed by the ID Buzz concept at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show. Speaking at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, VW design boss Oliver Stefani told Auto Express, “We would like to bring this back because it fits so well to what the brand stands for: it’s emotional, it has functionality, it makes your life easier.”

Giant Kinder Egg

The company has just launched a Kinder egg that weighs 100g or five times the traditional version, while still offering the same much-loved taste and texture, and of course the traditional toy hidden inside the chocolate shell. The eggs are themed as either My Little Pony or Transformers Robots in Disguise and cost between from £5 to about £10 depending on where customers buy them. The traditional Kinder egg, costs about 80 pence and weights 20g.
Giant Kinder Egg

Friday, 3 March 2017


The days of standing in line to get your hands on some chicken nuggets and a burger appear to be numbered. McDonald’s has announced plans to roll out its own delivery services in a bid to reignite sales and win back loyal customers after seeing global restaurant visits decline by 500 million since 2012. The fast food giant on Wednesday signalled a major shift in its operations, saying that it is experimenting with different models of food deliveries. Its teamed up with companies including UberEATS in Florida, and is trialing the service across several countries.It will also launch a mobile order and pay platform in 20,000 restaurants in the US by the end of the year, allowing its customers to order and pay for their food on their smartphones. McDonald’s said it sees an unexploited opportunity for delivery in its top five markets - the US, the UK, France, Germany and Canada. In each, there is a McDonald’s restaurant within three miles of 75 per cent of the population, the company said, allowing it to use its network to bring food directly to customers' homes.

The Smell of Play-Doh

How much is a smell worth? A lot, it seems, to multinational toy company Hasbro. Last month, the group submitted an application to trademark the distinctive scent of Play-Doh in the US. The application to the US's Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), covers all toy modelling compounds. t describes Play-Doh’s particular smell as “a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough.” A container of Play-Doh was sent to the USPTO as part of the application process. Lee Curtis, a partner and chartered trademark attorney at law firm HGF, said: “Hasbro’s trade mark application shows that the use of smells in branding, and companies desire to protect them is increasing.” While it is rare for smells to be successfully trademarked in the US, it is not unheard of. According to Mr Curtis, the first was a flowery scent used on yarn, registered in 1990.

Cadburys New Bars

Mondelez International has not proved immune to price pressures and the new launches might bolster sales at a challenging time for the whole market. UK confectionary giant Cadbury has launched two new chocolate bars, hoping to lure those with a sweet tooth and perhaps help combat some of the challenges it faces from rising commodity prices and a post-Brexit  slump in the value of the poundThe company’s new products will be peanut butter and mint flavoured. They will be available in most major super markets as 120g bars, priced at £1.49, according to the company. The company’s choice of flavour for the new chocolate bars appears to be in-line with previously successful releases. Kale, wasabi and beetroot were among the new versions trialled at Mondelez's research and development labs in Bourneville - though Cadbury said it had no plans to put those flavours on sale.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Nokia 3310 Re-Launch

News of a potential re-launch for the iconic Nokia 3310 took the world by storm earlier this month, and the likelihood of a resurrection is growing stronger by the day. Fresh leaks have shed more light on the capabilities of the heavily tipped 2017 version of the handset, which is expected to go on sale for €59 (£50). According to Chinese site Vtech, the new Nokia 3310 will feature a colour screen, rather than the monochrome 84 x 84 display of old. It won’t be particularly sharp, in order to avoid sapping battery life, but the splash of colour should make old favourite Snake a little more compelling to play. It won’t run Android, unlike the other handsets that HMD Global, which owns the rights to the Nokia brand, plans to unveil at MWC 2017 this weekend, and will be marketed as a feature phone. The new 3310 is also expected to be available in a range of new colours, including red, green and yellow, and will be slimmer and lighter than the original. It was well-designed, boasted terrific battery life and was incredibly hard-wearing, with fans hailing it as ‘indestructible’.  Consumers will be hoping that the revamped handset doesn't stray too far from its roots.

Takeover Rejection

Unilever, which owns some of the UK's most famous household brands, has strongly rejected a takeover bid from US food giant Kraft Heinz. The maker of Marmite and PG Tips said it saw "no merit, either financial or strategic" in Kraft's offer, worth about $143bn (£115bn). But Kraft, which makes Heinz ketchup, indicated it would continue working on a deal for the Anglo-Dutch firm.  The deal would be one of the biggest in corporate history. It would combine Unilever's dozens of household names, which also includes Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Dove soap, and Hellmann's mayonnaise, with Kraft's own wide range, such as Philadelphia cheese and Heinz baked beans. Shares in both companies rose sharply on Friday, as investors welcomed the possible creation of such a powerful firm. But a deal could also raise concerns about job cuts and would probably be examined by competition regulators, analysts said.

John Lewis Cuts 800 Jobs

John Lewis is to axe nearly 800 jobs in its customer restaurants and store administration in its biggest ever round of redundancies. The department store chain said it was consulting 773 people about redundancy as it attempts to cut costs and become more efficient. The cuts are the first sign of change since the department store’s managing director, Paula Nickolds, took the helm in late January.  The cuts come just weeks after Waitrose, John Lewis’s sister company, revealed plans to close six stores and remove a level of management in its supermarkets, putting nearly 700 jobs at risk. John Lewis said it planned to centralise the administration behind its curtain and carpet estimating and fitting services, moving jobs out of stores to its office in Didsbury, Manchester.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

No Smiling At Work

Employers working for online fashion retailer risk getting fired for smiling or checking their mobile phones, an investigation by Channel 4 has found. The investigation comes after online fashion retailer Asos was accused last year of exploitative working practises with staff reportedly unable to take regular water and toilet breaks for fears of missing targets. The company denied those allegations. Working conditions at Boohoo, which posted a 55 per cent jump in sales to £114.3m over the four months to December, were exposed as part of an investigation conducted for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme into Britain’s cheap clothing industry. The investigation suggests contracts can be terminated after three strikes – often for minor infringements. Workers claimed they had been given a strike for things like checking the time on their mobile or showing up five minutes late for work.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Sweetest Job Ever!

The company responsible for some of your favourite chocolate brands – think Cadbury, Milks, Prince and Oreo – have officially announced an opening to join their team as a professional chocolate taster. The successful candidate will help them to test, perfect and launch new products all over the world. Posted on employment social-networking site Linked In, Mondelez International is looking for someone with a passion for confectionary, the ability to be honest when giving an opinion and who is eager to try new and inventive products. The lucky candidate must, of course, be able to taste chocolate and cocoa beverage goods and use clearly defined vocabulary to describe products. Located out of a Mondelez building in Reading, the position is advertised as part time and ‘to work 7.5 hours per week Tuesday-Thursday 12:15-2.45pm.’

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Lego Building Brand Power

Lego has been named the most powerful brand in the world, knocking entertainment king Disney off the top spot. The traditional construction toy, which dominated the play charts last year, scored 92.7 out of 100 compared with Disney’s slide to sixth with 91.3. According to a company superleague compiled by Brand Finance Global 500, Danish owned Lego took the power brand crown following the success of movie spin-off merchandise from Star Wars and Harry Potter to its own Lego Batman Movie out this month. But Google took a bite out of Apple’s supremacy to be named the most valuable brand in the world. With a price tag worth £86.7 billion compared with the iconic iPhone maker’s £84.8 billion, it is the first time in five years that Apple has been knocked off the top of the superbrand tree.Trend setting gadget king Apple slipped to second in the Brand Finance Global 500 after it’s brand value tumbled by 27% from £115.2 billion to £84.8 billion in 2016.

The Warehouse Run By Robots

Ocado are offering a vision of the future - with all of the promise and challenges that entails. The Hatfield warehouse is enormous and is one of the two where Ocado assembles shopping orders. The other even larger warehouse is in Tamworth, which together with Hatfield enables the company’s delivery network to cover 70% of the country. Hatfield apparently processes 1.5 million items every day - and it was all being operated by what felt like a tiny number of people. The main feature of the warehouse is a 25km long network of conveyors which are used to transport different coloured tote boxes around the building. Green boxes contain stock - and red boxes contain people’s shopping. And they share tracks - and it is by using barcodes and some complex software, they can be directed to wherever they need to be.The big optimisation challenge for Ocado is making sure that the right boxes arrive in the right places at the right time.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Real Business Radio Success

Whitley Bay had success at the regional finals of this years Real Business Challenge. They had already done incredibly well to make it down to final ten and went one step further by picking up the prize for the best radio advert in the final. The team of girls from Year 10 worked alongside business experts from Coca-Cola to create a fundraising idea and promotional plan to help raise awareness for the Special Olympics. The team had to work under pressure to hit their deadlines in the Apprentice style task but their creative thinking #SOwhat? campaign impressed the panel of judges which saw them pick up the prize for best radio advert. The judges felt their consistent approach to their communications was very sophisticated and impressive. Well done team Achieve!

Snap Floatation

Snap, owner of the Snapchat messaging app popular with teenagers, is to sell its shares on the US stock market. The California-based tech firm, which allows users to send images and messages that vanish within seconds, is set to be one of the major US share listings of recent years. The flotation is expected to value the business at between $20bn and $25bn, although Snap has never made a profit. It will turn the company's founders into multi-billionaires. Snap wants to raise $3bn through the share sale, a small percentage but one that will set the market price for the rest of the company. The company began in 2011 when co-founder and chief executive, 26-year-old Evan Spiegel, was still at university.  Mr Spiegel and fellow founder Bobby Murphy, 28, have stakes in Snap that would be worth about $5bn. Snap now has nearly 160 million daily users and last year revenues grew by nearly 600%, the listing documents revealed. Most of Snapchat's revenue comes from advertising, and it is seen as an appealing way for companies to reach young people, with over half of its users aged between 13 and 24.

Tip of the Iceberg

Lettuce rationing has proved to be just the tip of the iceberg: the UK’s third largest supermarket has introduced a ban on bulk purchases of aubergines, broccoli, loose courgettes and cabbage. Asda said it was limiting bulk purchases to six items on iceberg lettuce and each of the other vegetables as an almost unprecedented cold and wet weather in southern Spain has hit supplies. The shortages are also hitting restaurant chains. Sandwich chain Pret a Manger said it had been using alternative varieties of leaf in its salads. Meanwhile, eBay had listings for iceberg lettuces for between 99p and £4.99. Supermarket shelves have been left empty and prices soared to as much as three times their usual price as supplies from Murcia, where more than 80% of many salad and vegetable crops sold in the UK usually come from over the winter, have slumped.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Local Entrepreneur Makes Forbes 30 List

Fashion entrepreneur who launched her business empire on a shoestring budget has been singled out as one of the names to watch in European business after making the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe List. The prestigious publication last year launched the first list of its kind to highlight the key players in Europe, bringing into sharp focus 300 people from a list of thousands of nominations in 10 sectors. Alice Hall, who founded Pink Boutique with a £45 investment, features in the line-up, joining other big names from the worlds of music, the arts, industry, policy and entertainment. Mrs Hall, now 28, is among 30 movers and shakers singled out for their prowess in retail and commerce, with Forbes highlighting how she has grown online fashion business Pink Boutique into a successful venture, having started with just £90 – £45 of her own money and £45 from her mother. She was chosen for her leadership skills, entrepreneurial mind-set and for the growth and phenomenal results that Pink Boutique is achieving. From humble beginnings the firm now ships out more than 4,000 products a day, operating from a 60,000sqft factory employing more than 60 people. The company now achieves annual sales of around £9m and has plans to expand into the US and Australia.

Burberry Sales Soar

The Brexit vote and the slump in sterling that followed the referendum has delivered a big boost to sales at luxury label Burberry – powered by overseas shoppers who have flocked to the UK to stock up on branded goods. The classic British label, famous for its beige check design, said sales in the UK surged by 40% in the final three months of 2016, boosted by strong demand for goods such as its buckle bags, which start at around £500 for a mini leather version and climb to £8,000 for an alligator version. One reckons that about 70% of shoppers visiting the brand’s flagship outlet are now tourists from China, a big surge in the last yearThe cheapest item on offer is a £14 nail varnish and the most frequently bought items are “charms” for fixing to handbags or keys, including tiny teddies for £150 and sequinned hearts for £105. 

Free Big Mac's

McDonald’s may have come up with a new twist on the fast-food restaurant experience that has nothing to do with what’s on the menu — doing away with interaction between customers and employees. The giant chain next Tuesday plans to operate what it calls a “customized digital Big Mac ATM” in Boston, USA which will will dispense Big Macs — at no charge. But that doesn’t mean lunch will be free. To get a Mac Jr. or a Grand Mac — both new sizes — customers will have to enter their Twitter handles on the machine’s touchscreen. Before they can even take a bite out of a burger, the machine will generate a tweet from their personal account that reads: “Check out the new Big Mac.”
Free Big Mac

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Most Annoying Advert 2016

Twerking businessmen in denim shorts, blind footballers kicking cats and the ancient rivalry between England and Scotland all feature in the Advertising Standards Authority’s top ten list of most complained about ads last year. Price comparison site dominates the overall list, nabbing three spots in the top five including the top two. Betting shop Paddy Power also features twice in the top ten and online dating site’s ad featuring two women kissing received over 800 complaints putting it third in the list. "The ads that attract the highest number of complaints are often not the ones that need banning,” said ASA chief executive Guy Parker. Advertising that pushes the boundaries invariably lands better with some people than others,” he said. “But last year we thought the ads that attracted the largest number of complaints fell the right side of the line."

Sainsbury's Food Dance

Sainsbury's has unveiled a dramatic new creative direction with the launch of its "food dancing" advert. The advert shows real-life food lovers dancing in their kitchens as they prepare dishes. The ad was filmed using GoPro & iPhone cameras and will appear on the TV with a background track also available for download. The campaign will also attempt to gain social media engagement by encouraging customers to post their own videos on Twitter using the hashtag #fooddancing. 

Tesco Launch Relaxed Lane

A supermarket in Moray has introduced a "relaxed" lane aimed at making life at the checkout less stressful for some of its more vulnerable customers. Checkout staff at Tesco in Forres have been trained to identify any special needs of customers and operate at a speed that suits them. Tesco has developed the scheme with Alzheimer Scotland. The store's Kerry Speed said: "We want them to be confident they can shop at their own pace." She added: "It was highlighted to me that people living with dementia can feel under pressure when they reach the checkout, and it struck me that this could be true for others as well. "Early feedback from customers has been very positive. Although it's a simple gesture, we hope this will make a difference."

Friday, 13 January 2017

Freddo Price to Hop Up

It’s been a tough time for chocolate lovers. Mondelez international, the company which cut the weight of Toblerone bars by widening the gaps between the chocolate peaks, is now expected to raise the prices on Cadbury’s Freddo bars. It’s been a tough time for chocolate lovers. Mondelez international, the company which cut the weight of Toblerone bars by widening the gaps between the chocolate peaks, is now expected to raise the prices on Cadbury’s Freddo bars. Mondelez, which bought Cadbury in 2010, said rising commodity costs combined with the slump in the value of the pound since the UK voted to leave the EU meant its products were becoming more expensive to make. A spokesman said: “Increasing prices is always a last resort, but to ensure we can keep people’s favourite brands on shelf and look after the 4,500 people we employ in the UK, we are having to make some selective price increases across our range.”
Freddo Inflation

Nutella Fights Back over Cancer Claims

Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, has hit back at claims that palm oil used in their hazelnut and chocolate spreads could cause cancer. In May, the European Food Standards Authority warned that the contaminants found in the oil’s edible form are carcinogenic. It warned that even moderate consumption of the substances represented a risk to children and said that, due to a lack of definitive data, no level could be considered safe. Palm oil is found in hundreds of household name food brands including Cadbury’s chocolate, Clover and even Ben & Jerry’s, but Nutella has so far faced the brunt of a consumer backlash. Sales fell by three per cent in the year to August 2016 as consumers ditched the product for palm-oil free alternatives. Coop, the country’s biggest supermarket chain removed 200 products containing palm oil, though not Nutella, from its shelves in May as a precaution. In response, Ferrero has launched an advertising campaign in an attempt to reassure customers that its products are totally safe. Ferrero insists that the decision to keep palm oil in Nutella, despite safety fears, is about quality, not cost. The substance is used to give the spread its smooth texture which it says can’t be achieved by using other oils. “Making Nutella without palm oil would produce an inferior substitute for the real product, it would be a step backward,” Ferrero's purchasing manager Vincenzo Tapella told Reuters.