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.