January 18, 2016

For years the post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza known as Black Friday commanded the attention of the nation. Even if people didn’t leave the comfort of their couches, they likely watched in awe as a procession of news reports detailed the long lines forming outside of stores and the chaos that ensued when they opened. But these once standard scenes of retail madness are becoming increasingly rare. Although Americans’ love affair with holiday shopping shows no sign of stopping, customers may have Continue reading

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August 3, 2015

For those who don’t have a feline friend of their own, any advertisement for cat food they encounter will probably fall under the radar. That is unless the words “Meow Mix” happen to enter their ears. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the company, more people knew the melody to Meow Mix’s iconic 1970s jingle than the national anthem. This fact is even more incredible considering that the company hadn’t run an ad with the tune since 1996. Throughout Continue reading

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Modern retailers stock so many items that consumers can usually buy whatever products they want whenever they want them. Still, a number of companies utilize limited-run sales and exclusive partnerships with brands in order to generate buzz about their business. Target is one of the biggest users of this strategy, teaming up with more than 150 companies in one-off joint ventures since 1999. The retailer’s latest gimmick sale brought them together with the clothing and lifestyle brand Lily Pulitzer, a Continue reading

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June 25, 2015

Ownership of private property is one of the United States’ oldest economic principles. But like many other seemingly everlasting ideas, modern technology has enabled companies to put this concept to the test. For instance, a few years ago Keurig’s single-cup coffeemakers became a big hit with consumers. Rather than brew an entire pot of coffee, those in need of a jolt simply place a small pod of grounds into the machine and wait a few seconds for their drink to Continue reading

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June 21, 2015

For many environmentally conscious diners, where their food comes from is almost as important as the food itself. Followers of the “farm-to-table” movement try to avoid items made on industrial-scale factory farms in favor of locally produced, organic goods. Over the years this concept has expanded from the stands at local farmers’ markets and into mainstream foodie culture. But while this concept works for farm-cultivated products like vegetables, beef and poultry, following fish from “ocean-to-table” is trickier to pull off. Continue reading

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Unless you’re a professional poker player, chances are that people can tell a lot about your mood just by looking at your face. After all, every furrowed brow or slight frown speaks volumes as the human face’s 43 separate muscles constantly communicate with the world around it. Recently, researchers have developed technology that can analyze all those muscles in detail, potentially unlocking the mystery of the many emotional cues hidden within our faces.

This information is especially interesting to a Continue reading

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Over the last few years, large retailers have become increasingly vulnerable to attacks by hackers looking to steal important company and customer data. In order to prevent these breaches, stores across the nation are upgrading to new credit card readers that scan an embedded chip rather than the card’s magnetic strip. Each transaction on a chip-card receives its own unique code, making shopping safer for consumers and companies alike. 575 million of these new cards are expected to land in Continue reading

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April 30, 2015

In an earlier newsletter, we included a story about how Lego built its mighty block empire on a strong foundation of licensed products. The Danish company continues to make a variety of sets with characters from popular franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter, accounting for a third of Lego’s sales. As the toy company became more dominant in the last year, however, it started to focus more on promoting its own brand rather than others’. The 2014 The Lego Continue reading

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April 26, 2015

As the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, Hershey is always reshaping the way it does business in order to remain at the top. Technology especially helps the Pennsylvania-based company improve in a number of key areas. For instance, the prevalence of online shopping and self-checkout lines are hurting Hershey’s sales from impulse buyers. To encourage more “unplanned purchases,” the company plans to add small kiosks near self-checkout machines and curbside pickup stations that will give customers one last chance Continue reading

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April 21, 2015

 

California’s Silicon Valley is known the world over as a hub of technological innovation. Along with established giants like Google and Facebook, the Bay Area suburb is home to countless startups hoping to launch the next big social network or app. But not every entrepreneur in the Valley is a code-focused Mark Zuckerburg-type. In one burgeoning industry, scientists at several startups are cooking up revolutionary ways to use plants as meat substitutes in food.

These aren’t like the bean Continue reading

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