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The baby food category has been on a downward slope for nine years as more moms are getting in the kitchen and making their baby’s food themselves. In fact, 70 percent of moms are cooking their own food, according to internal research at Beech-Nut. “What we’re seeing is really a revolution in baby food driven by millennial moms. Since 2005 actually, the baby food category has decreased by a third. Thirty-three percent of category pretty much has gone away,” said Jeff Boutelle, president and CEO of Beech-Nut Nutrition.
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Americans have been dining out less frequently since the recession, but while the economy has been recovering, consumers' willingness to spend at restaurants hasn't, according to recent data.
"During this recession, the restaurant industry covered a steep decline of 3 percent. We since then have leveled off, but we've not been able to recoup those losses," said Bonnie Riggs, food industry analyst at NPD, which surveys about 3,000 people per day on their restaurant spending habits.
That's largely because Americans ages 18 to 34 and families with children have cut down on dining out, and many still don't feel like the economy has improved enough to justify their prerecession restaurant spending, according to NPD's research.
In the year ending February 2014, families with kids made 1 billion fewer visits to U.S. restaurants than they did in the year ending February 2008, while adult-only parties made 306 million fewer visits, according to a recent NPD report.
Erika Santoro at Big Data Download 2 yrs ago
Food truck catering now competes with “traditional” catering as consumers are looking for alternative food options and are turning to food trucks to satisfy that need, that’s according to Ross Resnick, founder of the online food truck tracking platform Roaminghunger.com.
Based on a Mintel survey, which polled 2,250 adults in September, Roaming Hunger found that 24 percent of Americans had eaten from a food truck at one point or another in 2013.
“Over the years, a large number of people embrace food trucks as a new medium of eating and that sort of awareness for the industry is really pushing the growth of the food truck industry forward,” Resnick said.
According to Roaming Hunger’s database, they also found that a lot of that growth is happening in areas that consumers wouldn’t normally expect.
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More summer travelers are expected to take to the skies and the roads for a vacation this year, according to recent flight and hotel booking data.
About 88 percent of Americans are planning leisure travel this summer, between May 23 and Sept. 1, according to travel booking site Orbitz.com. That's an 11-percent increase from a year ago.
"This year we’re seeing more Americans traveling and, in fact, taking advantage of smart tactics to save costs and upgrade vacations,” said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor at Orbitz.com. "The majority of consumers said that they would redeem credit card points on their summer vacations so if they have been using a card with good travel rewards it could be a big help in offsetting summer vacation costs."
And those costs have been rising. On average, airfares are up 6 percent and hotel prices are up 12 percent among top summer vacation destinations, according Orbitz.com data.
Despite record highs on the S&P 500 and the Dow, Darren Wolfberg, head of U.S. cash equity trading at BNP Paribas said it’s a great time to enter the equity market. Wolfberg said technical issues have been overlooked in the Treasury market causing investors to doubt equities can head higher than current levels.
Wolfberg thinks people are looking at the price action in the treasury market incorrectly. “A lot of times, people look at the treasury market to see the rotation in to bonds and out of equities. I think what we have here is a technical situation, which has caused this buying in the treasury market and leading some to think we’re seeing recessionary price action,” Wolfberg said. Between what we’ve seen in the Ukraine and the economic slowdown in China, Wolfberg thinks the market has performed well.
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Target-date funds may seem simple enough: Retirement savers can take a set-it-and-forget-it approach with them, determining how much of their salaries to contribute and letting a fund manager adjust asset allocations over time based on a target retirement date.
But a majority of savers with money in target-date funds aren't using them correctly, according to Financial Engines, a firm that sifted through data on more than 700,000 workers with about $55 billion saved in 401(k) retirement plans.
"The idea is, you put all your money in one fund and you get a diversified 401(k) account. What we've seen though is a lot of folks start off on the right foot, and ultimately sort of spread their money out over time and as a result of that, see lower returns," said Financial Engines CEO Jeffrey Maggioncalda.
Target-date funds are intended to be used exclusively since they inherently control for risk and provide good diversification, according to the firm.
Graduation season is getting underway, and more party planners are looking to the web to create invitations for college, high school, even pre-school and other graduations, according to recent data.
Graduation season is actually the third most popular time of year for parties, following Christmastime and Halloween, according to Evite, a website which, like Paperless Post and Punchbowl, helps users customize electronic invitations and manage replies to those invitations.
In the first four months of 2014, Evite users planned 28,686 graduation parties, vs. 28,419 parties in that same period in 2013, likely because party planners are getting more comfortable with using free or affordable electronic invitations, which can make it easier to track responses.
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"We're really just entering the peak of the graduation season," said Evite Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Dominiquini, who adds that many more parties are still being planned from May into June.
It takes more than an impressive resume to land a job. It takes what hiring managers and human resource professionals call “soft skills.“
A national online survey conducted earlier this year by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that 77 percent of employers believe less tangible skills associated with one’s personality—such as a positive attitude—are just as important as hard skills. “In order for candidates to really stand out and be successful, they’ve got to communicate both their tangible and intangible skills,” said Eric Gilpin, president of staffing and recruiting at CareerBuilder. “Things not necessarily just around your competency—around certain skill sets or certain languages—but really some of the emotional intelligence in your communication style of how you communicate with folks at work.”
Some of the most important soft skills, according to CareerBuilder, are a strong work ethic, self-motivation, and the abilities to work in teams and under pressure.
Many CFOs who initially put off their retirement from top U.S. firms as a result of the recession have recently decided that their companies are financially fit enough to leave to a successor, according to recent data.
More than 36 percent of CFO departures were retirements versus a historical average of about 23 percent, according to a report from the Korn Ferry Institute, which analyzed company and CFO data on the top 1000 U.S. firms by revenue.
"Some of those CFOs planned to retire earlier on but stayed through the recovery and they found that as the shareholder value increased, they found it as a good time to cash out and take the retirement," said Bryan Proctor, global co-leader of Korn Ferry's Financial Officer Center of Expertise.
Last year, industrial and financial services firms saw the highest turnover as those companies saw improved financial results, but turnover is expected to level off in those sectors this year, according to Proctor.
Despite a topsy-turvy first-quarter, there were decent inflows in to the equity and bond markets. On the equity side, funds saw total inflows of about $73 billion.
About $68 billion flowed in to open-end funds and just about $4.5 billion went in to Exchange Traded Funds (ETF).
Equity income products have fallen in and out of favor with investors since this time last year but seem to be seen in a positive light again.
“With the market gyrations we’ve seen recently in the tech and biotech space, we’re starting to see some flows come back in, so this could be back on again in Q2,” said Bob Jenkins, global head of research at Lipper Thompson Reuters.
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Bond funds didn’t quite match to equities, with $44 billion coming in to the space.
Loan participation funds were another bright spot in fixed income. An additional $7 billion flowed in to the space, continuing a long positive trend. It’s grown to $140 billion from $20 billion since 2009 Jenkins said.