The Most Popular Ice Cream Flavors by State

It’s summer, and that usually means – among other things – hot weather, swimming, being outside, and most importantly, eating ice cream!

Truth is, you can eat ice cream any old time of the year, but for some reason it just seems to go better with the summer season.

As you would expect, different parts of the country enjoy different flavors of ice cream.

WorkWise Software compiled a list (see WorkWise graphics below) using Google Trends to determine which popular ice cream flavors are searched through the United States. While vanilla and chocolate are two of the most-searched ice cream varieties, the most searched variety is actually cookies and cream, which was the top search result in 14 states.

The most popular ice cream flavors list also includes some unique flavors:

  • Connecticut: Beer ice cream
  • Michigan: Superman ice cream, which is a swirl of blue, red, and yellow
  • Ohio: Pumpkin
  • Oregon and Utah: Coconut milk
  • Pennsylvania: Teaberry ice cream, which is pink and tastes like a wintergreen mint
  • Virginia: Tiger Tail, which is orange-flavored ice cream with black licorice swirl
  • Washington D.C.: Stracciatella, which is vanilla with chocolate strips

As for us New Yorkers, we seem to love a good scoop of chocolate chip (which is my personal favorite!)

What is your favorite type of ice cream? Let us know in the comments section.

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And let’s not forget chocolate and vanilla!

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Note: Thanks to WorkWise Software for all the cool graphics!

Thanks, and have a great weekend – and have some ice cream, too!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Beat The Heat

It’s hot out there! Extremely hot weather is hitting much of the country this week, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Temps are expected to soar across the Central and Eastern United States.

According to the NWS, the heat wave is covering the Central Plains from Eastern Colorado into Kansas, and extending up to the Great Lakes. By Saturday it will cover much of the East Coast from Virginia up through New York City, where temperatures are expected to reach or be close to 100 degrees.

More than 170 million people have been under heat alerts, stretching from New Mexico to New Hampshire, covering nearly 2,000 miles, according to NBC News.

So, now the key question becomes: How do you beat the heat??

Try these common-sense tips, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Medicinenet.com:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can. If you don’t have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a shopping mall, public library, movie theater, or other public space that is cool.
  • Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
  • Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you’re ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you’ll have a supply of cold water with you.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
    • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
    • Pace yourself.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Look for “cooling stations” in your local area.
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.

Other things to consider during extreme weather conditions:

  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.

What do you do to stay cool? Let us know by posting a comment!

Remember: If you go to a shopping mall or restaurant and purchase something, use the NCPMobile App or your scanner to let us know about it.

Have a nice weekend, and stay cool!

Best Regards,
Taylor

NCPulse Results

Last week, my colleague Joanna (via video) introduced NCPulse — our fun new (and informal) way of asking you questions about some of today’s topics.

 NCPulse: Your finger on today’s topics

Our first question was about July 4th and what food item just had to be on the table for your BBQ (or if you were attending one, what would you bring).

We received many responses across YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and here are the results!

  • 14% said hot dogs were a must
  • 8% planned to have hamburgers
  • 8% looked forward to serving some sort of salad, such as potato, pasta or macaroni
  • 6% were serving up ribs
  • 4% were going to have some cut of steak
  • And for those with a sweet tooth, 12% said a delicious dessert was the top item they had to have on the table … including one panel member who said it had to be a “Jimmy Carter Cake.”

We had never heard of that, so we did a little research, and just wow…does that cake sound amazing! Check out the recipe here:
https://www.cooks.com/recipe/nd5z50os/jimmy-carter-cake.html

We’ll share more NCPulse questions very soon…so make sure to look for them!

Have a great weekend.

Best Regards,
Taylor

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 Wallethub.com:

  • 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 support@ncponline.com.

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,
Taylor

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. 

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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,
Taylor

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 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfrzcrOt-OMNjFi3MOGwGqQ 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:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfrzcrOt-OMNjFi3MOGwGqQ

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Football

Best Regards,
Taylor

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,
Taylor

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 Wallethub.com, 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 AAA.com. 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 AAA.com,

  • 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 Wallethub.com, 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,
Taylor

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.

Pumpkin

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,
Taylor

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 Insure.com 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,
Taylor