brands under fire

Monster Energy Sued Yet Again over Another Teen Death

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 26, 2013 12:48 PM

A California 19-year-old died early in the morning last July 1, suffering from cardiac arrest while engaged in sexual activity with his girlfriend, and his mother thinks it had everything to do with his habit of drinking a couple of Monster Energy drinks daily. The family has now filed a lawsuit against Monster Beverage, a turn of events that Monster has become all too familiar with lately. 

A suit was filed last year in Maryland after a 14-year-old died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of the drink. "Our allegations in the lawsuits are the same and that's the peoples deaths were caused by these energy drinks and more specifically the defendants failure to warn about the dangers," said Alexander Wheeler, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in both cases, according to Fox News

Wheeler isn’t the only lawyer who has filed suit against Monster. Attorney Dennis Herrera has also filed suit against the company “for marketing its energy drinks to children, saying the products pose severe health risks,” Fox News notes.Continue reading...

social media watch

Social Campaign Tweets Tourette Syndrome Tics for Awareness

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 21, 2013 01:46 PM

The Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada has taken up a unique social media campaign to raise awareness of the little understood disease. Through Surrender Your Say, Twitter users can turn over their feeds to the non-profit, which will tweet real-life verbal tics along with the hashtag #surrenderyoursay. 

The experiment asked those afflicted with the condition to submit some of their own tics—involuntary sounds or movements—and Twitter users can sign up to surrender their tweets for 24 hours.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Nickelodeon Resists Pressure On Junk-Food Ad Ban

Posted by Dale Buss on June 19, 2013 05:08 PM

Nickelodeon is drawing a line in the sand that likely never would be sanctioned by the network's amiable cartoon hero, SpongeBob SquarePants: It is going to refuse to give in to public pressure to ban ads for non-nutritious foods despite all the concerns about childhood obesity.

"As an entertainment company, Nickelodeon's primary mission is to make the highest quality entertainment content in the world for kids," the company wrote in response to four Democratic US senators' pleas to the network, according to the New York Times. "That is our expertise. We believe strongly that we must leave the science of nutrition to the experts."

The Viacom-owned network has no plans anytime soon to mimic Walt Disney Co., which a year ago unveiled a strict set of nutritional standards and said it would ban ads for noncompliant foods from its child-focused cable channels by 2015.Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Coming Soon to Starbucks: Latte with a Splash of (Government-Influenced) Guilt

Posted by Dale Buss on June 18, 2013 03:41 PM

Starbucks customers will still be able to order all of their favorite high-fat, sugary concoctions at their favorite coffee house. It's just that they won't be able to plead ignorance anymore to just how many calories are in that Venti Caramel Macchiato or luscious chocolate brownie.

The company said it will become the latest restaurant chain to put up calorie boards at its locations across the United States, jumping ahead of a US-government mandate under Obamacare that's expected to require bigger chains to make similar disclosures nationwide by the end of the year. New York and California already require nutrition boards.

Starbucks also will post calorie counts on the goodies in the pastry case. "Menu labeling is yet another step to extend our commitment to wellness, ensuring our current customers and partners (employees) have the information they need to make informed decisions and understand all the ways that they can customize their Starbucks beverages to be within their desired calorie range," stated Mary Wagner, SVP of global research and development for Starbucks.Continue reading...

health matters

Starbucks Bans Smoking from Premises as Advocacy Groups Push Other Hot-Button Issues

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 3, 2013 05:38 PM

For generations, millions have enjoyed the unique pairing of coffee and cigarettes. Of course, in the past few decades, the health risks of smoking and being exposed to cigarette smoke have become more evident and many local governments and establishments have taken action to ban smoking from public and private areas. Now, one of the globe's most influential retailers is taking a strong stance against tobacco.

As of June 1, cigarette smoking was not only banned inside any Starbucks, which has been true for some time, but it is also banned in the outdoor seating areas as well as within 25 feet of more than 7,000 of its US and Canadian locations, the Los Angeles Times reports. Around 4,000 other Starbucks, some of which are located in Targets and Barnes & Nobles, are not effected by the new mandate.

“We’re pretty optimistic that people will be supportive and at the very least cooperative,” Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Riley said, the Times reports.Continue reading...


Walmart Applying Salesmanship, Scale and Sustainability In Fresh-Produce Push

Posted by Dale Buss on June 3, 2013 11:53 AM

Walmart is clearly the world's largest dry-goods grocer but it may surprise many to find out that the chain also is the world's largest single seller of fresh produce. Now the company is trying to leverage that status by developing a new ad campaign about its produce chops, highlighting and simplifying a 100 percent money-back guarantee, stripping time out of the produce-logistics network and training store personnel to do a better job of weeding out bad fruit.

In doing so, Walmart is attempting to move to the front of grocery trends including more healthful eating and "local" sourcing of produce, and "sustainability" overall, in the same way that its major plunge into organic foods a few years ago vaulted it to trailblazing status from that of an irrelevant player.

"We're the largest seller of produce in the world, but we have the opportunity to sell more as demand increases," Jack Sinclair, Walmart's executive vice president of grocery, told reporters on a conference call on Monday. "There's a trend toward healthy eating at all demographic levels, and our goal is to make that as affordable as we possibly can. Our access to affordable produce, our systems and distribution network allow us to do that uniquely well.Continue reading...

chew on this

Brazilian Regulators Fine McDonald's for Targeting Children with Happy Meals

Posted by Dale Buss on April 25, 2013 10:30 AM

The fight against childhood obesity is a global one, and McDonald's is being reminded of that fact by a surprising fine by a Brazilian consumer-protection agency over the chain's promotion of its Happy Meals.

It seems that Procon, an agency in Sao Paolo, didn't appreciate McDonald's 2010 promotion of Happy Meals that leveraged toys from the movie Avatar as well as a local television series, according to a lawyer for Procon who talked with Reuters. "This is not an isolated case," he told the news service. "There's no need to appeal as they do to children without the maturity or rationality to enter the market as consumers."

The lawyer, of course, forgot to mention "parents," who are supposed to provide the "maturity" and "rationality" to supervise their children. But such trivialities haven't made much of a difference in do-gooders' global attacks on McDonald's for offering food that parents want to buy for their children, including Happy Meals.Continue reading...

chew on this

LYFE Kitchen, Clover Compete in QSR Race for Healthy Millennials

Posted by Dale Buss on April 16, 2013 02:24 PM

Thanks to the efforts of a handful of entrepreneurs, American fast food is moving from a form of nutritional epithet to add an entirely new dimension: a fledgling business model that uses the quick-serve platform to get better-for-you fare into the mouths of more willing consumers.

At the same time, not to be outdone, traditional fast-food chains are tacking heavily into more nutritional fare after several years of more or less playing at it. Taco Bell, for instance, has just announced its strategy to offer healthier menu options, while McDonald's is veering more deeply into wraps.

LYFE Kitchen is probably the best known of the cluster of promising better-for-you startups which also includes Clover, Veggie Grill, Tender Greens and Native Foods Cafe. New York Times Magazine writer Mark Bittman chronicled some of what these brands are doing.

"After the success of companies like Whole Foods [and] Annie's and Kashi, there's now a market for a a fast-food chain that's not only healthful itself, but vegetarian-friendly, sustainable and even humane," he wrote. "And, this being fast food: cheap.Continue reading...

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