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SymphonyIRI: Gas prices limit trips to stores

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Looming gas prices are taking a toll on consumers’ shopping habits, according to a special report by SymphonyIRI Group.

According to the latest report, "The Ripple Effect: High Gas Prices Bring Pain Beyond the Pump," SymphonyIRI found that shopping trips are being consolidated, with 4-out-of-10 shoppers being forced to reduce or completely eliminate trips to their preferred retailers due to rising gas prices, SymphonyIRI said. Additionally, consumers in the first half of 2011 opted to shop at mass/supercenter and club formats, versus traditional grocery stores, compared with the year-ago period. Many consumers also are turning to closer-to-home retail outlets to offset the costs of gas.

"Even though gas prices have eased in the last month, they are still high and continue to put a strain on the family budget," SymphonyIRI SVP marketing John McIndoe said. "The bottom line is that shoppers still face a lot of uncertainty with the ups and downs of the economy and will continue to evaluate their purchases very carefully for the foreseeable future."

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CamelBak introduces Better Bottle Insulated

BY Allison Cerra

PETALUMA, Calif. — CamelBak has introduced new reusable bottles that are made of Tritan plastic.

CamelBak’s Better Bottle Insulated are designed to keep liquids cool more than twice as long as traditional plastic bottles and reduce condensation with the use of Tritan plastic, CamelBak said. Additionally, the bottles feature a spill-proof Big Bite valve, which provides no-tip sipping and can be flipped shut for easy storage and transport.

“This is a great option for those who enjoy the lightweight benefits of BPA-free Tritan plastic but don’t want to deal with warm drinks and wet hands,” said Jon Austen, director of product management at CamelBak.

CamelBak’s Better Bottle Insulated is available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $20.

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New campaign seeks to teach consumers about foodborne illnesses

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A new multimedia public service campaign that is designed to help families prevent food poisoning in the home has made its debut.

The Food Safe Families campaign — created pro bono by ad agency JWT New York on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, in partnership with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — aims to raise awareness about the risks of foodborne illnesses (food poisoning) and educate consumers to take specific actions to reduce their personal risk. The Ad Council is distributing the new public service announcements to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide.

The campaign offers the following tips:

  • Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils and hands with soap and water while preparing food;

  • Separate: Separate raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards;

  • Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer; and

  • Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1-in-6 Americans (48 million people) suffer from foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

For more information, visit FoodSafety.gov.

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