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IBISWorld: Halloween sales to reach $7.29 billion

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — Total Halloween sales are expected to grow 3% to total $7.29 billion in 2014, due to improving economic conditions and employment levels. According to a new study from market research firm IBISWorld Inc., costume sales are expected to rise 6% to $2.76 billion, spurred by more theme parties and social media photo sharing.

Candy is the second-largest expenditure among Halloween shoppers. However, fewer consumers will hand out candy this year, and many are opting for healthier alternatives, decreasing the total number of candy shoppers in 2014. Nevertheless, those opting to purchase candy are expected to spend record highs this year. As a result, candy sales are anticipated to rise 4% in 2014 to $2.34 billion.

With fewer consumers at home giving out candy, the number of shoppers purchasing home and yard decorations is consequently forecast to decline this season. Improved disposable income, however, is expected to increase the amount spent per customer and boost sales 0.4% to $1.85 billion. The prevalence of social networking sites that highlight unique decorating ideas, like Pinterest, will encourage consumers to purchase a wider array of decorations.

Unlike other Halloween items, greeting card sales are expected to decrease 4% during 2014 to $0.34 billion. Digital alternatives to physical cards, such as e-cards and social media posts, are contributing to the decline.

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Food Lion keeps hunger away with millions of apples a day

BY CSA STAFF

Food Lion partnered with its customers and Feeding America to help provide 1.5 million meals to families in need.

Thanks to a program that began on September 17, each time a customer purchased the specially-marked apples Food Lion helped provide five meals to local food banks.

"We're incredibly proud and humbled by the support from our customers to help feed families struggling with hunger," said Food Lion president Beth Newlands Campbell." At Food Lion, we believe no one should have to choose between dinner and paying rent or gasoline and buying groceries. We thank our customers for standing with us to help eliminate some of these tough choices for families in their local communities."

In addition to the approximately 1.1 million meals provided in partnership with its customers, Food Lion made an additional $50,000 donation, the equivalent of 450,000 meals, to Feeding America. Yakima Fresh/Robinson Fresh, the supplier of the bagged apples, also supported the campaign with a $25,000 donation to Feeding America, providing the equivalent of an additional 225,000 meals to families in need.

Through Food Lion Feeds, Food Lion is working to create a better tomorrow by uniting with customers and partners to help eliminate the difficult choices many families are forced to make when they are struggling with hunger.

The specially marked bagged apples were the second of three in-store Food Lion Feeds campaigns in 2014. Through the sale of special Food Lion Feeds reusable bags earlier this year, Food Lion provided 1 million meals to local food banks and Feeding America in partnership with its customers.

In November, the grocer will launch "Holidays Without Hunger" food boxes for sale in its stores, which when purchased by customers are donated directly to a local feeding agency.

The in-store campaigns support Food Lion's work toward its goal of providing 500 million meals to families in need in its local communities by the end of 2020.

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Whole Foods takes tiered approach to responsibility

BY CSA STAFF

Whole Foods Market is helping its shoppers make a choice between good, better and best when it comes to the level of growing practices they want to support when purchasing fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Long known for exacting requirements when it comes to product sourcing, the new initiative called Responsibly Grown, gives shoppers greater control over just how exacting they want to be. The new tiered rating system labels fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers as “good,” “better” or “best” and prohibits some of the most hazardous neurotoxins still allowed in agriculture.

“After three years of research and planning, Responsibly Grown is the result of our collaboration with suppliers, scientists and issue experts to continue our strong commitment to organic, while embracing additional important topics and growing practices in agriculture today,” said Matt Rogers, global produce coordinator at Whole Foods Market. “We are excited to broaden the conversation to recognize additional growing practices and drive more transparency in the industry.”

According to Whole Foods, prohibited pesticides include several organophosphate insecticides, which recent studies indicate can impair neurological development in children born to mothers exposed in diet or by working in agriculture and living in nearby communities.

To earn a “good” rating, a farm must take 16 major steps to protect air, soil, water, and human health. Growers must also comply with the Responsibly Grown pesticide policy, which restricts growers to using only U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered pesticides, regardless of the country of origin. Whole Foods said farms outside the U.S. cannot supply it with fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers grown using pesticides not allowed in the U.S., with very limited exceptions for crops not grown in the U.S. Growers also cannot use biosolids or irradiation and must commit to GMO transparency.

A “better” rating indicates advanced performance and a “best” rating indicates exceptional, industry-leading performance in a scoring system covering multiple topics such as pest management, farmworker welfare, water conservation, soil health, ecosystem and biodiversity and waste reduction.

A full list of prohibited and restricted pesticides may be found on the Responsibly Grown web page.

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