Category Archives: Food

Thanksgiving Tidbits


It’s here again! Turkey day is coming soon and you know what that means! Hopefully lots of family/friends, food, and fun.

This year our family is hosting, and we expect a lot of people! We’re going to have to break out a few card tables to accommodate everyone. They’ll be a lot of preparation involved, but fortunately I’ll have a lot of help.

How about you? What are your plans for Thanksgiving? What about Black Friday – going shopping? Let us know by posting a comment.

You know we all love some good info. Well, here are some Thanksgiving tidbits from the folks at wallethub.com:

  • 96% of Americans say they celebrate Thanksgiving
  • $552M+ estimated amount spent on Thanksgiving turkeys each year
  • 73% of U.S. adults agree that a fridge full of leftovers is the best thing about hosting Thanksgiving
  • 3,000 – 4,500: Average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving
  • 9% of Americans eat their Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant
  • 72% of Americans plan to attend a Thanksgiving dinner with 5 or more people
  • Americans’ favorite Thanksgiving dishes:
    • 39% turkey
    • 23% stuffing
    • 12% pumpkin pie
    • 9% mashed potatoes
    • 6% sweet potatoes
    • 3% cranberry sauce
  • Thanksgiving shopping trends
    • $313+ Average person’s spending over the five-day Thanksgiving period
    • 165M+ shopped over the five-day Thanksgiving period in 2018
    • 57% of people buying holiday gifts got clothing or accessories
    • 34% of Thanksgiving shoppers bought toys in 2018
    • $3.7B: Amount spent online on Thanksgiving Day in 2018 (28% increase over 2017)
  • Thanksgiving weekend traveling trends
    • 54.3M+ Americans will travel this Thanksgiving holiday (most since 2005)
    • 89.4% of travelers will drive to their destinations
    • 7.8% of Americans will fly to their Thanksgiving destinations

If you are one of those millions of people traveling by car this weekend, you’ll probably need to put some gas in the car. So please don’t forget to record the purchase. Just use the Gas listing in the Barcode Reference Booklet (Barcode Reference Booklet) if you use one of our handheld scanners, or if you’re an NCPMobile App user, use the Non-Barcoded Items list in the app. (NCPMobile people: Please do not use the Barcode Reference Booklet! Thank you.)

Note: Use Gas Trip Only designation if you just purchased gas during a trip to the service station. Use Gas With Purchase when the gasoline is purchased along with other items from the gasoline station’s convenience store. Only enter the price paid for the fuel. For all other items with a barcode, please record them as usual.

Also, let us know if you’re going to be away for a while by contacting the Panel Support Center at 800-962-6700. (If you have the NCPMobile App, you can use it while you’re away!)

Finally, I want to remind everyone that we are closed on Thanksgiving Day and Friday, Nov. 29. The Panel Support Center will be open on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

Have a very happy and safe holiday!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Thanksgiving Tidbits



Refrigerator Clean Up Time

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for! It’s National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!!!

I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to this amazing day! (That’s not too sarcastic, is it??)

Anyway, I look at this as one of those necessary evils in life; things you really don’t want to do, but you know it’s a good idea to do them. This is especially true as we head toward Thanksgiving and the end-of-year holidays, when you might be doing a lot of cooking and also need room for a lot of leftovers.

WARNING! Be prepared for some surprises, most often found in the very back of the refrigerator. (“YUCK! What is that?!?!”)

OK, so let’s get into the nuts and bolts of cleaning your refrigerator. (We won’t worry about workplace refrigerators here – they’re often a lesson in grossness.)

Here are some great tips from the Michigan State University Extension:

  • Dispose: Start by taking everything out of the fridge. If you think the cleaning process will take you more than an hour, have a cooler handy for perishables. Check dates for expired foods, and start tossing! The United States Department of Agriculture has created a storage chart for recommendations of how long to keep leftovers. (https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts)
  • Consolidate: If you have two half-empty jars of the same item, combine them to save space. Just make sure one of them has not out lived its expiration date.
  • Dismantle: Take out shelves and drawers so you can give the inside of the refrigerator a good, deep cleaning with hot, soapy water. Wipe down the interior, wash the shelves and drawers, clean up all the drippings and spills and let everything air dry before reassembling. (Make sure to wash underneath everything, too!)
  • Get the door: Make sure you clean all the pockets on the door, wipe down the seal around the edge of the door and do not forget to clean the handle and front of the appliance.
  • Keep it clean: Michigan State University Extension recommends removing any expired food from the refrigerator once a week and placing a container of baking soda in the refrigerator to help control odors.

Also, take this opportunity to vacuum condenser coils and under the fridge, too. (But PLEASE unplug your refrigerator before doing any vacuuming.)

OK, so now that you’ve purged all the moldy, out-of-date stuff from the fridge, it’s time to get better organized, so you don’t have to go through that horrifying experience of undertaking a massive fridge cleaning.

According to the Michigan State University Extension, label and date what is in your leftover containers; this way you know what you are saving for another meal. By doing this, you’ll know exactly what you have in the container.

Consider starting an inventory sheet. This is helpful when it comes to using remaining leftovers and meal planning. Tips like these help reduce waste, save money and keep your family from experiencing a possible food poisoning.

Now, if you’re wondering where the idea for National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day came from, one theory is that a major appliance manufacturer created the day in 1999 to encourage people to clean out their refrigerator in advance of the upcoming holidays. At that time, the company even had a toll-free hotline that people could call into for cleaning tips.

Let us know if you have any tips for cleaning your refrigerator by leaving a comment.

Cleaning your fridge

Have a great weekend!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Grab ‘N Go ‘N Scan!

Busy, busy, busy. That’s the story of our lives. And although we want to provide healthy food choices for our families and ourselves, who has the time to prepare these goodies? I barely have time to breathe!

If you’re like me, you take some, shall we say, food prep short-cuts. That is, purchasing “grab-and-go” food.

We’re not alone: According to the Nielsen Company, deli departments, which have a lot of grab-and-go items, have had sales go from $15 billion in 2014 to $20 billion in 2018. Some of the biggest sellers in the deli department include prepared items like salads, sandwiches, wings, and meal kits. 

Further, according to Nielsen, consumers prepare just 4.6 dinners at home each week, and most aren’t interested in spending more than 30 minutes on prep time. Even among home cooks, more than half enjoy using semi-prepared ingredients on occasion to help get food on the table faster.

While some shoppers, according to Nielsen, look for something tasty, but a little indulgent, such as wings, lasagna and pizza, many others look for healthy options.

According to Nielsen data, salad dollar sales grew $193 million between November 2017 and November 2018 — up 49% from the prior-year period — while sales of smoothies increased 32% during the same period. Sales of what Nielsen calls “innovative” plant-based foods, including veggie noodles and plant-based yogurt, grew 18% over the year-long period.

What about you? Are you part of a grab-and-go household? And if so, what do you like to grab-and-go? Let us know in the comments section.

Recording Your Grab-And-Go Purchases
Record all of your household’s prepared foods purchases using the Prepared Foods listing in the Barcode Reference Booklet if you use a handheld scanner, or if you have the NCPMobile App, the Non-Barcoded Items listing in the app.

Record all food items that need no preparation before eating, such as chicken salad, sushi, etc., as well as foods that may need to be heated before you eat/serve them.

These prepared food items can be purchased at supermarkets, warehouse clubs, delicatessens, etc., and may not have a barcode. Do not use this listing to record prepared foods purchased from restaurants or fast food establishments.

NCPMobile users can also record their meal-kit purchases in the app.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Pour Me A Cup Of Joe!

Something is brewing in the coffee market! If you’re like me, you can’t live without a cup or two of coffee to get you going. (We’re certainly not alone: 64% of American adults drink coffee nearly daily, according to a 2018 National Coffee Association survey.)

Well, according to the Nielsen Company (and NCP panel members’ data), American’s consumption habits are changing, as many consumers are increasingly getting their coffee fix from chilled, on-the-go coffee options rather than energy drinks and carbonated soft drinks. 

In the ready-to-drink coffee market, within the past year 158 new ready-to-drink coffee offerings (up 14% year-over-year) have hit store shelves, with 89 new cold brews and an additional 30 iced coffee varieties brought to market, according to Nielsen.

Consumers are also enjoying fun creamer options, like white chocolate, toasted marshmallow and sticky cinnamon bun. According to Nielsen, growth in the U.S. coffee creamer market has actually outpaced that of traditional packaged coffee sales. Over the past four years (ending June 29, 2019), U.S. sales of creams and non-dairy creamers rose an average of 2.8% each year, compared with packaged coffee sales that rose an average of just 0.8% during the same time.

Finally, as we all know, it’s pumpkin spice flavor season! According to Nielsen, what “started as an innovative coffee flavor, pumpkin spice has sparked a flavor craze that now defines an entire season.” In fact, all pumpkin-flavored products put together brought in $511 million dollars in sales. That’s a lot of pumpkins!

So, what’s your favorite coffee/creamer flavor? Let us know in the comments section!

NCPulse Results!
A short time ago, Joanna from NCP asked panel members what they enjoyed most about this summer, and their favorite summer memories.

Here’s a brief summary:

  • Spending time with family
  • Sharing fun activities with grandchildren
  • Warm weather and longer days
  • Vacations
  • The availability of farm-fresh fruit and veggies

Scavenger Hunt!
Be on the lookout, in the next few weeks, for our latest scavenger hunt. More details to come very soon!

Have a great weekend, and relax with your favorite cup of coffee.

Best Regards,
Taylor

How ‘Bout A S’more!

When I think of summer, I think of making – and EATING! – S’mores. I have many wonderful memories of sitting by a campfire or BBQ and toasting – or, more often, burning – the marshmallows, then making the S’more sandwich of graham crackers, a wedge of chocolate, and of course, the now gooey marshmallow. YUM! It was so messy and delicious!

Good news regarding S’mores – Tomorrow, Saturday, August 10, is National S’mores Day!

Bucket of Apples

Tell us how you’ll be celebrating the day in the comments section. Or you can share some S’more memories or even some unique S’more recipes.

Here are some S’more fun facts, from realsimple.com:

  • The first known s’mores recipe was published in the Girl Scouts handbook Tramping and Trailing With the Girl Scouts in 1927. The snack was originally called “some mores.”
  • According to The S’mores Cookbook – and yes, there really is a S’mores Cookbook – Americans buy 90 million pounds of marshmallows every year. It’s estimated that, during the summer, approximately 50% of marshmallows sold are roasted for S’mores.
  • If you don’t have access to an open fire, there are still plenty of ways to make S’mores. The S’mores Cookbook explains how to make the treat on the grill, in the broiler, with a kitchen torch, in a microwave, or over a gas stove, candle, or Sterno.
  • The popularity of the original S’more has inspired American food manufacturers to create other chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker treats, including Pop-Tarts, cereal, ice cream, and even Goldfish.
  • Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham invented the graham cracker in 1829 in Bound Brook, NJ.
  • According to The Hershey Company, the company produces more than 373 million milk chocolate bars each year, enough to make 746 million s’mores.

There are also many different variations that can be used to make S’mores. Just check out the graphic from allrecipes.com:

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I hope you all have a tasty weekend!

Best Regards,
Taylor