It’s Time To Update Your Panelist Information

As I’m sure you know, every 10 years the Federal government updates its records through a comprehensive Census.

Well, NCP does something similar, but we do it every year to make sure we have the most up-to-date information about our panel members.

And, yes, it’s time for the annual Demographic Update Survey! If you haven’t responded yet, please check your Surveys page at ncponline.com and answer the survey as soon as possible.

You’ll earn 500 gift points for just a few minutes of your time.

And this is important: Even if there have been no changes in your household, we still need you to respond to the survey. (If you joined the panel within the last 3 months, you will most likely not receive the survey this year.)

One of the reasons we collect all of this (updated) information is that we use it to help develop reports for manufacturers and retailers. It’s important for them to know what households like yours with similar demographics or in a similar geographic region are purchasing. For instance, if a client wanted to know how much dog food someone with three or more dogs purchases, we’d be able to provide that information.

Speaking of dogs (and cats), have you ever wondered how many NCP panelists own either a dog or cat – and how many they have? Here are the stats, based on last year’s Demographic Update Survey (see all the cool info we collect!):


Do you have a cute picture of your cat or dog that you’d like to share? If so, send the photo to news@ncppanel.com and we’ll try to post it here on the blog in the coming weeks.

So remember to take the Demographic Update Survey. Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Recording Your Drugstore Purchases

I had to pick up a prescription yesterday after work at the CVS pharmacy located inside my local Target. On my way home, I wondered if panelists knew exactly how to record their own purchases in this situation.

Here’s what you should know: Even though it is branded as CVS, any purchase made at these counters should still be reported as a Target shopping trip. Please make sure you choose the correct Target store option in your scanner or the NCPMobile App.

Any trip to a CVS pharmacy that is NOT located within a Target should continue to be reported as CVS.

Check out our YouTube video on this very subject!

While we’re on the subject of drugstore purchases, the next time you make a purchase at a (stand-alone) CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens or any other drugstore retailer, please remember to report that shopping trip to us.

As I’m sure you know, drugstores sell a wide range of products, not just prescriptions. For instance, you can pick up greeting cards, over-the-counter medications, skin care, baby needs, snacks, candy, magazines, and a whole lot more. Whenever I pick up a prescription at a drugstore, I NEVER leave without buying something else – most often, I have to be honest, a candy bar or two!

It’s important to record your drugstore trips because:

  • Retailers and manufacturers need your complete shopping information to help them make important marketing decisions.
  • While these may be quick trips and may include items that potentially do not make it home (such as a pack of gum or a candy bar), they are just as important as your large grocery and discount store trips.

Are there any things related to scanning that you find confusing? If so, let me know and I’ll be happy to address them.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

School’s In Session!

Note: As of this writing, Hurricane Irma was making its way toward Florida. We hope all who may be impacted will be safe.

No matter where you live, I’m sure school is back in session. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy about it! I’ve been so busy getting my kids ready to go to school that I hadn’t had time to write about it here.

If you purchased a lot of school supplies and food/snacks, as well as apparel and items for your child’s dorm room, I hope you were able to scan what you bought. If you forgot, it’s not too late to do so!

Back-to-school shopping is big business. According to wallethub.com:

    • $688 is the average child’s back-to-school expenses
    • $970 is the average college student’s back-to-school expenses

How much do you typically spend? Let me know!

Right now, my big concern is making sure the kids have healthy lunches and snacks. According to The Nielsen Company, when it comes to fruits and vegetables, in the five weeks (in 2016) around back-to-school time apples were the top-selling produce item with $243.5 million in sales. Strawberries and fresh cut fruit weren’t far behind, with sales of $202.8 million and $204.9 million, respectively.

But it’s mangoes that drove the most sales growth in the back-to-school season. From 2015 to 2016, mango sales in the five weeks around back-to-school grew more than 73%, topping sales of $22.5 million.



In case you’re wondering, sales of other snack items, which may not be so healthy – but who’s judging! – also increase during the five-week back-to-school period.

In particular, these items sell more right before school starts compared with an average week, according to Nielsen:

  • Brownies
  • Cookie snacks & variety packs
  • Cracker snacks & variety packs
  • Pop up toaster pastries
  • Sports drinks

So, if you have kids, what do you give them for lunch or a snack? Tell me all about it!

I hope you all have a nice weekend. For those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, or potentially by Hurricane Irma, stay safe.

I’m Back From Vacation!

Before I tell you about my vacation, I just want to say that all of our thoughts are with everyone in Texas and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Harvey. Just watching the news every night it is horrifying to see all of the damage. [We’ll soon have an important message about our “NCP Cares” community outreach program and how we’re trying to do our (small) part to help.]

I recently got back from our vacation, and boy, did we all have a great time! We spent part of the trip visiting Acadia National Park in Maine. It was absolutely beautiful! We hiked and went on a bus tour of the park, and saw some incredible things. (See some photos below, which don’t do the place justice!) We also ate lots of “lobstah.”

Have you been able to get away this year? (Or plan to sometime soon.) If so, let me know what you did or are going to do.

Monday is Labor Day, which means our offices, including the Panel Support Center, will be closed. We’ll be back at 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday, September 5.

Before we go off on our long holiday weekend, I wanted to share some fun facts from wallethub.com:

Labor Day Weekend Travel:

  • 25% of Americans plan to get out of town for Labor Day weekend
  • 86% of Americans plan to travel by car
  • 16.1 million Americans will fly to their destination

Most popular Labor Day Weekend destinations are the following:

  • New York
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Orlando, FL
  • Chicago

In addition, 40.6% of Americans plan to BBQ over Labor Day Weekend.

Speaking of labor, many people have long commutes to work (I know I do!). Check out these stats, also from wallethub.com:

  • 51.8 minutes: The average time Americans spend commuting each day
  • 76.4% of Americans drive to work
  • 0.6% of Americans bike to work
  • 4.4% of Americans work from home

We hope you have a great Labor Day Weekend. And again, our thoughts are with those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Here are some photos I took from Acadia National Park. They’re views from some of the hikes we went on.




NCP’s Annual Outing

Every year NCP conducts a one-day off-site strategy meeting and then the following day we have a company outing. Last year we went to a Mets game, which was fun although they lost, big-time! (So what else is new?)

This year’s meeting was great; the team came up with a lot of ideas. If you ever have any suggestions to make NCP even better, please let me know by emailing your ideas to news@ncppanel.com.

As for the company outing, this year we went on a fishing trip off the Long Island Sound. A good time was had by all! Although I didn’t catch anything, it was a lot of fun hanging out together. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was awesome!


I will be on vacation next week, so I won’t be posting anything on the blog. But I’ll be back the following week.

Don’t forget, if you’re away and unable to record your purchases, please let us know by contacting the Panel Support Center at 1-800-962-6700, or email support@ncponline.com.

If you’re an NCPMobile App user, you can continue to scan while away on vacation.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer!

Have a great day!

Check Out Our Videos!

Want to know how to use the NCPMobile App? Want to know more about NCP sweepstakes?

Well, you can find what you’re looking for on NCP’s own YouTube channel! There’s a wide range of videos, from what NCP panelists do to the rewards NCP offers.

You can find the videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfrzcrOt-OMNjFi3MOGwGqQ

We’ll be adding some new videos soon, so keep checking back!

Is there something about the panel or scanning that you’d like to learn more about? Let me know and we might create a video for it!

Thanks, and have a great day!

My New Look

Did you notice? I now have contact lenses! (As reflected in my avatar.) After years of wearing glasses all day long, I finally decided to get contacts. (By the way, many people thought with my glasses on I had a strong resemblance to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Personally, I didn’t see it, but I’m just passing along the info, LOL.)

I’ve often thought about how many people need glasses or contacts to help their vision, whether it’s for reading or for distance (driving, watching TV or a movie, etc.)

According to the Vision Council of America, about 75% of adults use some sort of vision correction. Of those, approximately 64% of them wear eyeglasses, and 11% wear contact lenses, either exclusively, or with glasses.

Over half of all women and about 42% of men wear glasses. Also, more women (18%) than men (14%) wear contacts. Of those who use both contacts and eyeglasses, 62% wear contact lenses more often, according to the Vision Council of America.

As for me, I still need to use glasses when I read. So I bought a few non-prescription reading glasses at my local drug store.

Remember, panelists, while you can’t record a visit to the eye doctor or an eye care center, you can record eyeglasses or contact lens solution/products purchased at a physical store or online.

Do you wear glasses or contact lenses? Let me know!

Have a great day!

Throw It On The Grill!

This weekend we’ll be having people over for a BBQ. I wasn’t sure what to make – we always have hot dogs, hamburgers, some chicken, and oftentimes ribs or other meat.

But this time I wanted something different. There are so many different things you can grill. As my husband always says regarding any type of food, “Just throw it on the grill!”

So I did some research and found a ton of unusual things to grill. Here’s just a small sampling.

According to popsugar.com:

  • Bananas (Slice firm bananas in half lengthwise, lightly coat with oil, then place on hot grates for a minute before serving over ice cream.)
  • Watermelon
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Brie (Place the cold cheese on indirect medium heat with the grill open for a 10 count, turning to create grill marks. Flip and mark the other side then serve with a baguette, which you can also slice and toast on the grill.)
  • Quesadillas
  • Frozen pizza

According to finecooking.com:

  • Cake (pound cake, that is)
  • Bread
  • Cocktails (grilling the herbs — such as mint, lavender, citrusy bergamot — for a few seconds coaxes out the herb’s floral qualities. Then just add it to your drink!)

What are some unusual things you throw on the grill? Let me know!

Whatever you may have at your next BBQ – from meat to paper goods and everything in between – don’t forget to record all these purchases.

Have a great weekend everybody!

 

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? Back in 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month (that’s this Sunday, btw) as National Ice Cream Day. Thank you President Reagan!

I LOVE ice cream. So let’s talk about it!

According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), an average American consumes 23 pounds of ice cream per year. (I sometimes think I eat that much in just a month!)

The IDFA recently conducted a survey and the results found that America’s top five flavors are the following:

  1. Vanilla
  2. Chocolate
  3. Cookies N’ Cream
  4. Mint Chocolate Chip (my favorite!)
  5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

What’s your favorite flavor? Let me know.

Now, according to The Nielsen Company, since consumers are becoming more health conscious, 68% of those they surveyed said they’re willing to spend more on foods and drinks that don’t contain “undesirable” ingredients. This means there’s been a surge in sales of ice cream brands that call themselves a “good source of protein,” “vegan,” “low glycemic,” and “contains sugar substitutes,” among other terms.

Consumers are increasingly moving toward non-diary varieties, which has seen the highest dollar sales growth than any other subcategory (49% increase compared with the prior year.), according to Nielsen.

But good old regular ice cream still leads the way, with $6.6 billion in sales for the year ended May 27, 2017.

Ice Cream Facts
We have to include some tasty facts from the IDFA!

  • About 1.54 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2015.
  • The majority of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers have been in business for more than 50 years and many are still family-owned businesses.
  • The ice cream industry in the United States contributes more than $39.0 billion to the national economy and creates more than 188,000 jobs in communities across the country.

So make sure to celebrate National Ice Cream Day this Sunday. I know I will! And let me know what flavor you get.

Time To Get Away!

I can’t believe the year is (slightly) more than half over! Where does the time go?! So it’s time to start thinking about summer vacations!

My family usually tries to get away for a few days every summer. This year we’re going to Maine and perhaps visiting Acadia National Park. From what I’ve seen of it online, it’s simply beautiful!

While not everyone can go on a vacation, many people will do so this year, and they will end up spending a lot of money. According to marketwatch.com, Americans will spend a total of $101.1 billion on vacations this year, which is a 12.5% increase from 2016.

Some interesting vacation info from marketwatch.com: Generation Xers (those between the ages of 35 and 54) spend the most on a vacation, averaging $2,628 per person. Meanwhile, baby boomers only pay $1,865 on average, and millennials spend the least at $1,373.

According to marketwatch.com, 44% of Americans said they are confident that they will be able to take a trip this summer.

What about you? Are you able to get away this summer? (or at least have a nice, relaxing “staycation”?) If you are able to go away, where do you plan on going? Let me know!

Here are some nice family summer vacation locations (either within or close to the United States), according to usnews.com:

  • Ocean City, MD
  • Puerto Rico
  • Whistler, British Columbia
  • Niagara Falls
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • New York City
  • Bahamas
  • Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN
  • Vail, CO
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Boston, MA
  • Portland, OR
  • Jackson Hole, WY
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

And there are certainly hundreds of other great places to visit! So, if you have any suggestions for our readers, let me know!

Remember: So if you’re traveling and unable to record your purchases, please let us know by contacting the Panel Support Center by phone at 1-800-962-6700 or email support@ncponline.com.

If you’re an NCPMobile App user, you can continue to scan while away on vacation.

Have a great weekend!