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Reporters Notebook

BY DSN STAFF

Supplier News

Pringles is rolling out a tasty twist on multigrain snacks. New Pringles Multigrain is the latest addition to the Pringles family and comes in three mouth-watering varieties: Truly Original, Creamy Ranch and Cheesy Cheddar. As part of the nationwide rollout, Pringles and celebrity chef Tyler Florence are working together to make it easy for consumers to also make a difference while trying new Pringles Multigrain with the “U Taste. We Donate.” campaign. Enter the UPC code from any can of Pringles Multigrain between March 15 and June 30 at pringlesmultigrain.com, and Pringles will donate $1—with a total donation of up to $100,000—to Share Our Strength, an organization working to end childhood hunger in America.

“New Pringles Multigrain succeeds in giving consumers a multigrain snack that actually tastes great,” said Bryan Hamilton, Pringles brand manager. “Just one taste and you’ll never think of multigrain snacks the same again.”

Pringles Multigrain crisps are available at U.S. mass, grocery and drug retailers.

Mars Food has signed on to reduce sodium in its Uncle Ben’s flavored rice products. The company stated that it is endorsing the National Salt Reduction Initiative, a New York City-led coalition of cities, states and health organizations working to help food manufacturers and restaurants voluntarily reduce the amount of salt in their products, with the goal of reducing Americans’ salt intake by 20% over five years. As part of the company’s endorsement of the NSRI, Mars Food US is voluntarily committing to lowering the sodium content in its Uncle Ben’s brand flavored rice products by 25% over five years. The company’s other varieties of Uncle Ben’s brand rice and products already meet the NSRI targets.

“Mars Food US believes that sodium reduction is one of many important health and nutrition issues, and something we have been actively engaged in for some time,” said Mike Wilson, VP research and development, Mars Food.

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Retail clinics: Improved care at a lower cost

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Retail clinics. Save. Money. Without regard to who’s footing the bill exactly — healthcare payer or Jane Patient — retail clinics not only represent a significant cost savings across the board, but by siphoning nonemergency-yet-still-urgent cases out of the emergency rooms and doctors’ offices, retail clinics also can contribute to improved care across the healthcare continuum.

(THE NEWS: Study: Retail clinics save nonemergency patients money. For the full story, click here)

All told there were 119.2 million total ER visits in 2006, up 8.2% as compared with 2004, according to ACEP. Extrapolate that figure with WellPoint’s finding that 19.4% of those visits may be for nonemergencies across the entire nation, and the fuzzy math equates to an approximate 23.1 million non-emergency patients presenting across some 3,833 ERs. For whoever is paying for the cost of care, that’s an expenditure totaling $10.2 billion if every case were to present at an ER; as compared to $1.2 billion if every case were to present at a retail clinic. That’s the cost savings piece.

But cost savings aren’t the only benefit retail clinics afford the overall healthcare system —  there’s a general improvement in care. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, average waiting times for patients triaged with non-emergency ailments at emergency departments range between one and two hours, but only when the ER isn’t crowded. That’s like saying that bee stings don’t hurt, you know, except when they do.

Let’s face it, in a nation of 309 million and counting, there are simply not enough points of care, be it for an emergency or nonemergency situation. Taking nonemergency visits out of emergency rooms would likely improve the efficiency of care for more critical patients, as well as the experience of care for noncritical patients. That’s the improved care piece.

Improved care at a lower cost, that’s what retail clinics bring to the table.

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Tide brings Loads of Hope to Dollar General

BY Allison Cerra

NASHVILLE Tide brought its mobile laundromat to a local Dollar General to benefit victims of the recent floods.

Tide’s Loads of Hope program visited a Nashville Dollar General May 12 to provide customers in the area with clean laundry. One truck and a fleet of vans house more than 32 energy-efficient washers and dryers that are capable of cleaning over 300 loads of laundry every day. Tide washs, dries and folds the clothes for these families for free.

The Loads of Hope program also benefited victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, in addition to other natural disasters.

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