Category Archives: Uncategorized

Keeping It Fresh

Like many others, I’ve started purchasing more of my groceries online. Who doesn’t love the convenience! But if I do get anything online, it’s almost always a packaged item.

I still go to the grocery store for “fresh” foods, like bakery goods, deli, meat, produce and seafood. Interesting stat from the Nielsen Company: online grocery shoppers spend 1.5% more in-store on fresh food than the average consumer does.

According to Nielsen, deli and produce departments provide the highest sales of “fresh food” items in stores. In fact, three-fourths of deli sales come from items packaged by deli clerks, giving customers a more authentic, ready-made feel.

Meanwhile, online sales of health and beauty care items and dairy products are rising.

Where do you get your fresh food items? Let us know by leaving a comment.

As you can see, sales of fresh food continues to increase in stores.


Scavenger Hunt News
It’s almost here! The next NCP Blog Scavenger Hunt, featuring fall-related items, will be starting next week. Remember to come back to the blog next week for details!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Best Regards,

Happy Fourth Of July!

Can you believe it? On Thursday, America will be celebrating its 243rd birthday. (Time sure does fly!)

My family and I will be celebrating by having some friends over for a BBQ. How will you be celebrating the day/weekend? Will you be seeing a fireworks show, or going to a picnic/BBQ, or going to a beach/pool, or just relaxing at home? Let us know what you’ll be doing!

Here are some interesting facts about the Fourth of July holiday, from

  • 61% of Americans own an American flag
  • 26% of Americans will purchase patriotic merchandise for the Fourth of July
  • 61% of Americans will attend a July 4th picnic
  • $6.8 billion is estimated to be spent on July 4th food
  • 150 million hot dogs are consumed each Fourth of July
  • 700 million pounds of chicken are purchased in the week prior to the Fourth of July
  • July 4th is America’s top beer-drinking holiday ($1+ billion estimated spending on beer for Fourth of July celebrations in 2018)
  • 16,000+ fireworks displays are held each July 4th
  • 40% of Americans will attend a July 4th fireworks display
  • 47+ million Americans will travel 50+ miles from home this Fourth of July weekend (compared with 44 million in 2017, and 43 million in 2016).
  • 3.8+ million will travel by plane
  • 85%+ of travelers will drive to their destination

Speaking of traveling this holiday weekend …

Note to scanner households: 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

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

And please make sure you record all of your BBQ-related purchases! These include such items as charcoal, lighter fluid, condiments, paper products, grilling utensils, and even insect repellent and sunscreen!

Enjoy the holiday!

Best Regards,

Buying Local

Decades ago Long Island – my home and the home of NCP – teemed with farms, which supplied a growing New York City with fresh fruits and vegetables and livestock. More recently, suburban sprawl has led to much of the area being filled with homes. However, there are still many family farms within a few minutes’ drive from almost any place on the Island.

There is nothing better than to take a drive out to the eastern part of Long Island and stop at the many roadside stands or farm stands along the way. You can find a wide variety of tasty local crops and goods. (And if you didn’t know, Long Island has a very respectable wine market!)

There are many reasons to buy local, according to the University of Vermont Extension:

  • Locally grown food tastes and looks better. The crops are picked at their peak, and farmstead products are “hand-crafted” for best flavor.
  • Local food is better for you. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food.
  • Local food supports local families. The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food – which helps farm families stay on the land.
  • Local food keeps taxes down. According to several studies by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services.
  • Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.

Do you have farmer’s markets near you? And if do, what are your reasons for buying local food?

So which products do consumers really care about buying local? According to The Nielsen Company, produce tops the list, as 58% of consumers state that buying local produce is important to them. The majority of consumers also say local is important when it comes to bakery, eggs, and food service. 


As for which consumer groups feel strongest about buying local, low-income consumers are more likely to say that buying local is extremely important to them across all products compared with the general population, according to Nielsen. Young families say buying local is extremely important to them for their deli items, bakery, produce, as well as their shelf-stable and frozen goods. And Millennials say local matters most in the frozen department.

ALSO! Please remember if you purchase any fresh produce without a barcode, to make sure and use the appropriate 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.

So if you get a chance, visit a local farm stand and enjoy the freshness! Have a great weekend!

Best Regards,

Got A Question? Go To The Video

There are videos online for virtually anything you want to do. For example, my son watches videos of basketball tips, my daughter watches makeup videos, and my husband learned how to fix the dishwasher by watching a video.

Did you know that National Consumer Panel has its own YouTube Channel? Check it out at and subscribe today! 

NCP’s YouTube Channel offers tons of great how-to videos. It’s the place to go if you ever have a question about, for example,

  • Scanning items and reporting your shopping trips
  • NCPMobile App’s C-Score
  • Our Spin to Win game
  • Taking surveys
  • How NCP Sweepstakes work
  • Plus many, many, many more!

So if you have a question, or if you’re just curious, check out our videos:

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Best Regards,

Substituting Summer Staples

Did you host or did you go to a BBQ this past Memorial Day weekend? My family and I did. We had the traditional hot dogs, hamburgers, beer, etc. (Last week’s blog post mentioned that 60% of Americans were planning to BBQ over the Memorial Day weekend.)

Well, according to research from The Nielsen Company, while these items will remain summer staples, a range of options are emerging.

Specifically, other possibilities include plant-based meat alternatives and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages.

Traditional Meat Vs. Plant-Based Alternatives (% sales growth, for the period ended March 23, 2019)

+2.6% — Traditional meat – Overall

+1.9% — Traditional meat – Hot Dogs

+13.5% — Plant-based meat alternatives

Ready-To-Drink Alcoholic Beverages (% sales growth, for the period ended April 20, 2019)

+247.3% — Hard kombucha

+193% — Hard seltzer

+77.5% — Canned wine

+41.9% — Wine-based cocktails

+40.7% — Sprits-based cocktails

+37.5% — Still/table Rose wine

+25.5% — Sparkling Rose wine

+0.1% — Beer

Have you tried, or are you planning to try, some of these alternative food offerings? Let us know by leaving a comment!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Best Regards,

Memorial Day Weekend Is Here

Along with honoring our fallen military heroes, Memorial Day represents the “unofficial” start of summer. Plenty of people commemorate the weekend by traveling to visit family and friends, or staying close to home and enjoying a BBQ.

How are you planning to spend your Memorial Day weekend? Let us know by leaving a comment.

According to, 60% of Americans plan to BBQ over the Memorial Day weekend. And with that, $1.5 billion will be spent on purchasing meat and seafood for Memorial Day.

Approximately 42.8 million Americans plan to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, which is a 3.8% increase from 2018, according to This could be the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes dating back to 2000, trailing only the total in 2005. Overall, an additional 1.5 million more people will take to the nation’s roads, rails and runways compared with last year.

Of those, according to,

  • 37.6 million of Memorial Day weekend travelers will drive to their destination (a 3.5% increase from 2018)
  • 3.25 million people are expected to travel by plane over Memorial Day weekend (a 4.8% increase over 2018)

Many people also look to shop during Memorial Day weekend. In fact, according to, 45.5% of Americans are “likely” to take advantage of Memorial Day deals, and will spend on average $486.

Of the consumers who planned to shop during Memorial Day weekend, 93% planned to visit “brick and mortar” stores or shop online, while 50% planned to shop solely in-store as opposed to online, according to AdWeek. For Memorial Day weekend shopping, the most popular types of stores are apparel, department, and electronics stores, according to AdWeek.

Remember To Scan!
We know you’ll most likely be very busy this Memorial Day weekend, but we just want to remind you to scan your purchases!

  • Scan all of your BBQ-related purchases, including charcoal, lighter fluid, condiments (mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, etc.), paper products, and even insect repellent and sunscreen.
  • Whether you find a great Memorial Day sale or not, record anything you purchase – apparel, food at a rest stop, etc.
  • Record your gas purchases using the Gas 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.

    Use Gas Trip Only 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.  

Note: In commemoration of Memorial Day, the Panel Support Center will be closed on Monday, May 27. The PSC will reopen on Tuesday, May 28.

Enjoy the long weekend, and remember those who fought and died for our country.

Best Regards,

Spotlight On Sustainability

Sustainability, according to the dictionary, is the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

It is also, according to The World Commission on Environment and Development, “A process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.”

Wow, is that a mouthful!

Basically, it means making sure we can sustain our resources to survive on this planet.

Whoa! Sorry, I didn’t mean to get so heavy.

But consumers are increasingly becoming invested in purchasing “sustainable” products, so it is an interesting topic to explore.

The Nielsen Company expects “sustainable-minded” U.S. shoppers to spend up to $150 billion on sustainable consumer packaged products by 2021.

In terms of food and beverage sales growth for the past year (year ended March 9, 2019), “sustainable” products have seen a large increase in sales:

  • Products with nothing artificial (free from artificial colors/flavors/preservatives/sweeteners/hormones and antibiotics) increased 2.7%
  • Clean label products (meets “no artificial” requirements) jumped 4.3%
  • Simple <10 products (meets “clean” requirements and has fewer than 10 ingredients, all of which are recognizable) increased 1.3%
  • Sustainable products (meets “simple” <10 requirements, plus has a sustainability claim) rose 3.7%
  • Meanwhile, conventional product sales only rose 0.7%

Packaging also matters, and, according to Nielsen, products using these sustainable packaging methods are on the rise:

  • Made from recycled packaging (with coffee, salty snacks, and pizza driving the growth)
  • Post recycled (cookies and crackers, etc.)
  • Recyclable (beverages sales are up)

Further, according to a Nielsen survey, 81% of respondents said that it is “extremely” or “very” important that companies implement programs to improve the environment.

In addition, 30% of respondents are willing to pay a premium for products that deliver on social responsibility claims.

So do you lean toward purchasing “sustainable” products? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Have a great and environmentally conscious weekend!

Best Regards,

Mother’s Day Facts

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I hope you take this occasion to celebrate all the moms in your life.

This year, we’re going to visit both sets of moms during the day, and then my husband and kids are taking me out to dinner.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Here are some facts you may not know about Mother’s Day:

  • About 122 million phone calls are made to moms in America on Mother’s Day.
  • The National Retail Federation estimates that this year U.S. consumers will spend $25 billion celebrating Mother’s Day. Shoppers will spend an average of $196 on Mom.
  • One-fourth of the flower and plant purchases made for holidays occur at Mother’s Day, according to the Society of American Florists.
  • Carnations had a special meaning on Mother’s Day; a red carnation meant your mother was living, a white one meant she had passed.
  • The most popular gift for Mother’s Day is the greeting card. According to Hallmark, we give roughly 141 million Mother’s Day cards each year.
  • Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. According to the National Restaurant Association, in 2018 about 87 million adults made plans to go to a restaurant for Mother’s Day. About 54.7% of us take mom out to eat, spending a total $3.1 billion in the U.S.
  • According to the 2018 Mother’s Day Index, the various tasks moms perform at home would be worth $68,875 (up from $67,619 in 2017) a year in the professional world.
  • Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world. But on different days than the United States. Great Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Samoa, Georgia, Australia, and Thailand all have designated celebrations to honor their country’s mothers.
  • The vast majority of the world’s languages have a word for mother that starts with the letter M. This is because one of the first things a baby can vocalize is the ‘ma’ sound.

I hope you all have a great weekend and a very enjoyable Mother’s Day!

Best Regards,

Taking Good Care Of Your Pet’s Nutritional Needs

Any pet lovers out there? According to NCP data, approximately 48% of panel members own at least one dog, while about 35% own at least one cat.

Many panel members own several dogs and/or cats. So pet ownership is certainly a big thing for our panelists!

People are often very conscious about trying to eat healthier, and this also goes for what their pets eat, too. According to Nielsen data, consumers spent $33 million on pet food with “human-grade” products over the past year. Some of the top fresh food ingredients for pet food include carrots and blueberries.

In addition, other offerings like freeze-dried pet food has also become popular. In fact, dollar sales of air-drying/dehydrated full meal pet food have more than doubled over the past three years, growing from $23 million in 2015 to $53 million in 2018, according to Nielsen. Freeze- and air-dried/dehydrated pet foods are raw alternative options that are preserved through a drying method (either extracting moisture by vaporizing the ice of frozen meat at sub-zero temperatures or by using warm air for the drying process, respectively).

According to Nielsen, consumers are attracted to freeze- and air-dried pet foods because they’re usually free of added preservatives, and many offer enhanced benefits, such as improved digestion, shinier coat, smoother skin and a stronger immune system. But, this all comes with a hefty price tag: Pure freeze-dried pet food costs the average consumer approximately $33 per pound, while air-dried or dehydrated pet food costs approximately $10-$11 per pound, according to Nielsen.

Another area that’s growing is meal enhancers, since pet owners continue to want convenient ways to add nutritional and health benefits to their pet’s food. Meal enhancers already generate $93 million in sales, and they saw more than 25% growth year over year, according to Nielsen.

Who knew there were so many healthy ways to feed Fido or Fluffy?!

Don’t forget to record all of your pet food purchases! Manufacturers and retailers really want to know about who’s buying what type of pet food products.

Have a great weekend!

Best Regards,

All About The Many NCP Sweepstakes

I recently read a story about a 24-year-old suburban Milwaukee man who won a $768 million Powerball jackpot, the third largest in U.S. lottery history. The gentleman took a $477 million lump sum payout that was reduced to a “measly” $326 million after state and federal taxes.

Wow, what I wouldn’t do with a measly $326 million! If you’re like most people I know, you’ve also thought about winning a big prize and what you’d do with the winnings.

Now the odds of winning one of these lotteries is very small, perhaps only about 1 in 300 million or so (give or take a few million).

Although we don’t offer millions of dollars in prize money, NCP does have a wide range of sweepstakes, which are awarded weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.

Best of all, participation in these sweepstakes is easy: As long as we receive your weekly transmissions, you’re automatically entered into the following sweepstakes:

  • $25 Weekly Sweepstakes (50 winners)
  • $200 Monthly Sweepstakes (30 winners)
  • $500 Super Scanner Sweepstakes (20 winners per quarter)
  • $20,000 Cash Giveaway (1 winner per quarter)
  • $500 Panelists of the Year Sweepstakes (10 winners per year)

If you’d like to see a list of who won our latest Sweepstakes prizes, head to the Rewards section on, click on Sweepstakes, then select a specific sweepstakes to view a list of our current winners.

Now, if you want to be in control of what you could win, check out our Pick N’ Win Sweepstakes. Each month we feature drawings for an array of amazing prizes. Use your reward points to give yourself an entry into a drawing. Enter as many contests as you want as many times as you want! (Note: The points you apply toward a prize are not credited back if you don’t win that prize.)

This month’s Pick N’ Win prizes include the following:

  • Amazon 8″ Fire HD 8 Tablet 16GB (100 points to enter)
  • Apple Wireless AirPods Headphones (200 points to enter)
  • Weber Q 1200 Grill (250 points to enter)
  • Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen.) (300 points to enter)
  • Dyson Tower Fan (300 points to enter)
  • Yeti Hopper Flip 18 (300 points to enter)
  • Samsonite Winfield 3 Piece Hardside Spinner Set (400 points to enter)
  • Sony PS4 Slim 1TB Destiny 2 Bundle (400 points to enter)
  • Hisense 55″ LED 2160p Smart 4K UHD TV (500 points to enter)

The last day to enter April’s Pick N’ Win Sweepstakes is April 30, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

To enter, all you have to do is go to the online gift catalog (

  1. Then go to the Pick N Win Sweepstakes page.
  2. Select the sweepstakes that you want to enter.
  3. See how many points you need to enter that particular sweepstakes.
  4. Choose how many entries you want to place into that sweepstakes.

The more entries you make, the more chances you have to win!

Well, that’s certainly a lot of opportunities to win something. But remember, not everyone can win. But even if you don’t win a sweepstakes, by sending us your data every week you’ll be earning gift points that you can redeem for some great gifts. So please keep scanning and transmitting!

I hope you have a lucky weekend!

Best Regards,