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Study: Americans struggle to afford basic personal care items, household goods

BY Jason Owen

CHICAGO — Feeding America, a hunger-relief organization, along with long-standing donor partner Procter and Gamble, revealed results of a new study showing many families with children struggle to afford basic, non-food household goods, including products related to personal care, household care and baby care.

The results come just as the United States Department of Agriculture reports that 49 million people in the United States, including nearly 16 million children, live at risk of hunger. However, until now, there has been a lack of information about the struggle to obtain other essential household goods.

The nationally representative survey conducted for this study found that one-in-three (34%) low-income families found it difficult to afford basic household necessities in the past year. Of these families, 82% live in households with low or very low food security, meaning that they cannot afford enough food for their household members. Additionally, nearly three-in-four (73%) low-income families have cut back on food in the past year in order to afford household goods. Of these, one-in-four (24%) report doing so each month.

According to the report, titled "In Short Supply: American Families Struggle to Secure Everyday Essentials," in order to make ends meet, families utilize a variety of coping strategies when they are unable to afford personal care and household care items. These include using less, substituting, borrowing and doing without. Some of these strategies, like altering eating habits to afford non-food items or delaying hygiene habits, raise concerns about potential risks to the health and well-being of many families with children.

"During Hunger Action Month in September, we are reminded that one-in-six Americans struggles with hunger, but we often don’t think about the additional hardship and emotional toll placed on these families who are unable to afford personal hygiene and basic household items," said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. "The lack of everyday essentials, such as toilet paper, toothpaste, soap or disposable diapers, may compromise the health and well-being of our at-risk neighbors, especially those who face food insecurity. The difficulty within American households to afford these necessities underscores the need for institutions to work together in an effort to help low-income families address their basic needs."

"This study demonstrates the importance American families place on personal and household care items in their lives," said Brian Sasson, manager of social investments at Procter & Gamble. "Over the past 30 years we have been proud to contribute funds and donate P&G products to the Feeding America network of food banks to help ease the burden for some of these families in need."

To read more about "In Short Supply: American Families Struggle to Secure Everyday Essentials," including methodology, click here.


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Kroger CEO David Dillon to retire in January, successor named

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Friday announced its board of directors’ long-term CEO succession plan. 

David Dillon, 62, a 37-year Kroger veteran who has been serving as CEO since 2003, will retire as CEO on Jan. 1, 2014, while continuing to serve as chairman — Dillon will serve as chairman through Dec. 31, 2014.

Rodney McMullen, 53, Kroger’s president and COO, will succeed Dillon. McMullen joined Kroger in 1978 on a part-time basis on a stock crew and has been president and COO since 2009 and a director since 2003. He previously held a variety of senior management positions including vice chairman; EVP strategy, planning and finance; and CFO.

"As Kroger implements its strategic growth initiatives, the time is right for the transition of leadership," Dillon said. "Rodney has played a leadership role in every major decision Kroger has made for the past 25 years, including the development and implementation of Kroger’s Customer 1st approach as well as our current growth strategy. He is ready to be CEO." 

McMullen’s successor will be named at a later date.


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Perrigo hires former FDA staffer to head regulatory review

BY Alaric DeArment

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Perrigo Co. has hired a former Food and Drug Administration official for its regulatory department, the drug maker said Friday.

The Allegan, Mich.-based drug maker announced the appointment of Keith Webber as head of regulatory review, a position in which he will start on Oct. 21. Webber previously served as acting director of the FDA’s Office of Pharmaceutical Science, part of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which regulates prescription and OTC drugs. He also served as director of the Office of Generic Drugs.

"He brings us a wealth of strategic, scientific and regulatory experience from his years of working with the FDA," Perrigo chairman, president and CEO Joseph Papa said. "Keith will work closely with regulatory leadership to support new product selection and develop strategies and processes to achieve high-quality applications and timely approvals, enabling us to bring quality, affordable products to the market."


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