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Less than half of diabetics identify with increased risk of eye disease

BY Michael Johnsen

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Less than half of U.S. adults with diabetes recognize their risk for vision loss, according to a survey released Thursday by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. In fact, less than 18% of respondents said they were familiar with diabetic macular edema, a term that refers to swelling of the macula and is a complication of diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease. 
 
The survey found that nearly one third (30%) of respondents reported they do not get an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam, a test that can help to detect DME and diabetic retinopathy. Of those respondents who do not get an annual dilated eye exam, more than half (56%) were not aware that the exam is recommended by the National Eye Institute for people with diabetes or that it could help protect against vision loss associated with the disease.
 
"Getting an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam is a critical step that may help to prevent future vision loss by identifying issues early," stated Allen Ho, director of Retina Research, Wills Eye Hospital and Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University. "These survey findings underscore the need for more awareness among the diabetes community about their risk for vision loss and what they can do help protect their vision."
 
Additional findings from the online survey of 1,074 people living with diabetes include:
 
  • When thinking about diabetes complications, those surveyed said eye disease is the No. 2 concern, behind cardiovascular disease;
  • Despite concerns, however, less than half (44%) of respondents said they were very knowledgeable about eye diseases that could result in vision loss; and
  • Only one third (35%) of respondents said they were familiar with diabetic retinopathy, specifically.
 
In an effort to create awareness and dialogue about improved eye care for people living with diabetes, Regeneron launched a new online resource, www.DiabetesSightRisk.com, which offers information about diabetic eye diseases including facts and symptoms, as well as details around comprehensive dilated eye exams. 
 
In addition, the company has teamed up with Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems on a month-long national initiative called the 30/30 Campaign. Through this program, IRIS will hold 30 or more diabetic retinopathy screening events across the United States during Diabetes Awareness Month this November. 
 
These findings are part of a survey conducted by the Market Research Group at Everyday Health on behalf of Regeneron.
 
 
 
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Kantar: Kroger and PepsiCo making run toward top-rated companies

BY Michael Johnsen

NORWALK, Conn. – Kroger and PepsiCo are making a run at Walmart and Procter & Gamble on Kantar Retail's annual 2015 PoweRanking survey released Wednesday. Kroger and PepsiCo each obtained second-place rankings overall in their respective industries for the first time in the 19-year history of the PoweRanking, based on how trading partners evaluated their performance across key areas of their commercial relationships.
 
On the retailer side, more than half of manufacturer survey respondents continued to cite Walmart as the overall best-in-class retailer due to its massive scale, sustained strength in logistics and operations, and recent investments in digital and ecommerce capabilities that will help it ensure consistent growth and profit over the long term. 
 
Kroger, with its first-ever No. 2 ranking, was lauded by manufacturers for continued innovation and optimization of the data-driven tactics driving effective execution of its shopper-focused strategy.
 
Target came in at an overall No. 3 rank, but maintained its No. 1 position in "Best Store Branding" and "Most Innovative Merchandising Approach." 
 
P&G maintained its ranking among retail trading partners on account of its strong brands and its capabilities in aligning strategies in a shifting retail landscape. "P&G is best due to the speed at which they respond to our new strategies," one major retailer shared. "It's a very intentional move on their part – to quickly understand changes in strategy, thinking in that language and moving to act on it."
 
PepsiCo was recognized most for its innovative marketing approaches, outranking all other manufacturers.  
 
General Mills was virtually tied with No. 2-ranked PepsiCo, with high praise for its strong customer teams. In fact, General Mills achieved the No. 1 position for Best Sales Force/Customer Teams for the third year in a row.
 
"While 2015 may have been a challenging year, and we are likely at the beginning of a long period of evolution, in many ways there has never been a more exciting time to work in the industry," stated Dan Raynak, EVP strategy and development at Kantar. "It may require some 'pivots,' but those who place the right bets will continue to play an important role in the lives of consumers and shoppers for many years to come." 
 
Both retailers and manufacturers expect the fundamental trend of increasing change, complexity and competition to continue in full force for at least the next several years, which means winning organizations will be those that can both anticipate important shifts in the business and quickly pivot their resources and capabilities to capitalize on them.
 
That fundamental capacity to identify and align with trading partners on the critical "pivot points" that can drive mutual growth is what PoweRanking participants emphasized as the biggest single lesson for the industry to consider as they wrap up 2015 and begin planning and preparations for 2016.
 
The 2015 PoweRanking study included responses from more than 600 retailer and manufacturer respondents.
 
 
 
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Walgreens increases convenience of Apple Pay

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — In what could be an important step for mobile payment, Walgreens is expanding the Apple Pay functionality it provides customers.
 
Members of Walgreens’ Balance Rewards program can now seamlessly use their account through Apple Pay, without separately scanning a Balance Rewards card or barcode. Members will have the ability to earn and redeem loyalty points via Apple Pay by adding the Balance Rewards digital card to the Wallet app in iOS 9 and using it at checkout.
 
Members can hold their iPhone near the contactless reader with a finger on Touch ID and the appropriate rewards information will be sent. On Apple Watch, they can double-click the side button, select their Balance Rewards card, and hold the face of Apple Watch up to the reader.
 
“We’re excited to be the first to provide our customers with increased ease of access to their Balance Rewards account and information when using Apple Pay,” said Sona Chawla, president of digital and chief marketing officer for Walgreens. “This offering supports our commitment to removing friction and enabling a simple and convenient customer experience.”
 
While Apple Pay has been available for a little more than a year, usage rates are still low. Walgreens is the first retailer to increase the convenience and usability of Apple Pay by integrating its loyalty program with the mobile payment service. The more than 85 million active Balance Rewards members will now have another reason to join Apple Pay, or use an existing account.
 
Loyalty integration is not guaranteed to boost Apple Pay usage at Walgreens, but Apple, as well as other mobile payment providers and retailers, will be watching carefully. If this proves to be the impetus for consumers to finally start using mobile payment in large numbers, expect integrated loyalty at a lot of other retailers and also with a lot of other mobile payment solutions.
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