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

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,
Taylor

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 ncponline.com, 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 (www.ncponline.com/panel/US/EN/Rewards/ViewOrderGifts.htm).

  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,
Taylor

Cleaning Up On Earth Day

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. One of my aunts has told stories about going out with her class to clean up a wooded area near her elementary school during that first Earth Day.

The idea for a day to focus on the environment came from U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, of Wisconsin, after he had witnessed the damage caused by a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969.

Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media, and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date, according to earthday.org.

On April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million Americans took to the streets and parks to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies, according to earthday.org.

Today, Earth Day is considered the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, “and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes,” according to earthday.org.

So what can you do on Earth Day – and every day, for that matter – to help save the Earth?

Here are just a few suggestions. (If you have any things that you do to help the environment, let us know by adding a comment.)

  • Recycle!
  • Reuse!
  • Reduce!
  • Stop using plastic straws
  • Switch all of your bills to paperless
  • Start a compost heap in your garden
  • Walk or ride a bike
  • Plant something
  • Opt out of getting “junk mail”
  • Change your lightbulbs to compact florescent or LEDs
  • Use reusable water bottles/coffee cups/shopping bags
  • Wash laundry with cold water
  • Plant flowers and plants to help save bees

Remember: Even the smallest of things – like not littering or leaving the faucet running while brushing your teeth – can help!

Have a great weekend and a great Earth Day.

Best Regards,
Taylor

It’s Tax Time

Monday is April 15th, the day our income taxes are due. I certainly understand this isn’t everyone’s favorite day of the year. But we do what we gotta do!

Anyway, tax day has an interesting history.

In 1894, Congress passed a national income tax, which was ruled unconstitutional the following year by the U.S. Supreme Court. Following that decision, Congress proposed, and the required number of states ratified (in 1913), the 16th amendment to the Constitution, which made income tax legal.

The first tax day was on March 1st. It was later moved to March 15th in 1918. Then, in 1955, the deadline was pushed back to April 15th, so the Internal Revenue Service could spread out the work involved with processing all the forms, according to constitutioncenter.org.

The very first tax form was four pages long, including instructions, according to constitutioncenter.org. At the time, the average annual income was $800.

Meanwhile, the highest ever tax rate was during World War II, when the highest tax bracket was taxed at 91% and the lowest tax bracket was 23%.

Here are some other taxing things to think about (from wallethub.com):

  • $1.76 trillion – Estimated revenue from individual income taxes in 2019 ($1.68 trillion in 2018)
  • 150M+  – Individual income tax returns are expected to be filed in 2019
  • 90% of returns this year are expected to be filed electronically
  • $2,957 – The average tax refund as of March 15, 2019
  • 91% of refunds are paid through direct deposit
  • 8.1 billion hours – Estimated total time that Americans spend preparing tax returns each year
  • 11 hours – Estimated time spent filing a tax return
  • 49% of taxpayers prepared and e-filed their own tax returns in 2019

Speaking of taxes, here’s a sales tax scanning tip …
When asked about the total amount spent when recording your shopping trip, please include the sales tax for all items purchased, even the ones that you might not have been able to scan.

If you have any questions about recording coupons and sales, please see our FAQ:

http://www.ncponline.com/wbcnt/Members/deals.pdf

Have a great weekend!

Best Regards,
Taylor

Meal Kit Mania

As I’m sure you know, it’s difficult trying to find the time to get something healthy on the dinner table. So that’s why the meal kit market has exploded recently. Meal kits, which are easy-to-prepare “kits” that are filled with fresh, pre-portioned ingredients, make it easy to create a healthy “home cooked” meal.

Originally a mostly web-based offering, meal kits are now often showing up in retail outlets.

According to the latest Nielsen data, 187 new meal kit items were introduced within in-store retail outlets alone during the 52 weeks ended Dec. 29, 2018.

Interest in meal kits through both online and retail outlets continues to be strong. According to NCP data, meal kit users have increased 36% over the past year. In fact, NCP data estimates that 14.3 million households purchased meal kits in the last six months of 2018, reflecting a marked increase of 3.8 million households from the end of 2017. And there is still a lot more interest beyond that, with 23% of American households saying they would consider purchasing a meal kit within the next six months.

So have you purchased any meal kits? If you’re an NCPMobile App user, you can use the Non-Barcoded Items listing to record these types of purchases! (See image below.)

Note: If you use the Barcode Reference Booklet to record non-UPC barcoded items, you cannot tell us about meal kit purchases at this time. The booklet might be updated in the near future.

Meal Kit options as displayed in NCPMobile's Non-barcoded items list

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Best Regards,
Taylor

A Brief History Of April Fools’ Day

Can you believe that Monday is the first day of April? Where did January, February, and March go??

And the first of April also means it’s April Fools’ Day!

Are you into April Fools’ Day pranks or hijinks? If so, let us know what you do (or have done)!

April Fools’ Day has had a long and glorious history. (Well, maybe not so glorious …)

So here’s a brief history: While no one knows for sure when exactly April Fools’ Day began, one theory is that it dates back to the 16th century. Prior to 1582, the New Year began on April 1. When the “new” New Year was moved to January 1st in 1582, there were many people who hadn’t heard or didn’t believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1. These “April fools”: were often ridiculed by being sent on “fools errands” or were made the butt of other practical jokes, according to the patch.com.

According to history.com, April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.

Bet you’re wondering how many people are involved in April Fools’ Day pranks. Well, according to a CareerBuilder.com survey, 32% of workers said they have either initiated or been on the receiving end of an April Fools’ Day prank at work.

If you want to know more about some well-known April Fools’ Day hoaxes, check out this link! http://hoaxes.org/aprilfool/

Have a great weekend!

Best Regards,
Taylor

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A Brief History Of Coupons

Just the other day I read that a customer recently came into a North Shore Farms supermarket in Mineola, NY, with a coupon to save 20 cents on Crisco oil from 1983. Believe it or not, that’s a 36-year-old coupon! The manager of the store even posted a photo on Twitter.

And so as I was going through a circular and cutting out coupons in anticipation of this weekend’s grocery shopping, I began to think about the history of coupons.

Asa Candler, co-owner of Coca-Cola, created the first coupon in 1887. According to couponsherpa.com, to name the new marketing concept, he turned to the French language; deriving the word coupon from the French word “couper,” meaning “to cut.”

According to couponsherpa.com, Candler’s invention “transformed Coca-Cola from an insignificant tonic into a market-dominating drink. His hand-written tickets offered consumers a free glass of Coca-Cola, then priced at five cents. Between 1894 and 1913, an estimated one-in-nine Americans had received a free Coca-Cola, for a total of 8,500,000 free drinks. By 1895, Coca-Cola was being served in every state.”

Then, in 1909, C.W. Post began offering coupons with a one-cent discount on Grape Nuts cereal.

Coupon usage really surged during the Great Depression, as struggling consumers used coupons to trim their grocery bills.

By 1940, chain supermarkets began offering coupons as a way of taking customers away from neighborhood stores.

According to couponsherpa.com, “Sunday newspapers began printing inserts with coupons promoting everything from fast food to bank checks. The innovation of direct mail co-ops provided local businesses with an inexpensive way of distributing coupons. Grocery stores began printing coupons on the back of receipts, based on a consumer’s purchases. Electronic shelf coupons also appeared to encourage point-of sale purchases.”

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Then, in the 1990s, the first Internet-delivered, printable coupons were created.

Think of this long and interesting history the next time you use a coupon!

Since we’re discussing coupons, I just want to remind all panel members to please let us know if you use a special deal like a coupon, discount, or store sale. Also, while many coupons have barcodes on them, please do not scan the barcode on the coupon. Although the scanner or NCPMobile App may accept the barcode, the information is not readable to us.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Best Regards,
Taylor

St. Patrick’s Day Facts

Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day. As is our tradition, our family spends time with some friends and neighbors. We’ll all dress in green and enjoy some traditional foods, such as corned beef and cabbage, and Irish soda bread. What about you? Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? If so, let us know!

Anyway, there are loads of interesting information about St. Patrick’s Day. Here are a few, from mentalfloss.com:

  • Blue, not green: St. Patrick’s color was “Saint Patrick’s blue,” a light shade. The color green only became associated with the day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
  • Patrick was British: Although he made his mark by introducing Christianity to Ireland in the year 432, Patrick wasn’t Irish himself. He was born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late fourth century.
  • It might have been St. Maewyn’s Day: According to Irish legend, St. Patrick wasn’t originally called Patrick. His birth name was Maewyn Succat, but he changed his name to Patricius after becoming a priest.
  • About those shamrocks: According to Irish legend, the saint used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.
  • About that phrase: So what does “Erin go Bragh” mean? It’s a corruption of the Irish Éirinn go Brách, which roughly means “Ireland Forever.”

Since we’re talking history here, let’s acknowledge today, March 15, which is the Ides of March. (You might have heard the expression, “beware the Ides of March.”) This marks the day in 44 B.C. that conspirators led by Marcus Junius Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death before the Roman senate. This was a significant turning point in Roman history.

Well, let’s end this history lesson by wishing you all a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day!

Best Regards,
Taylor

The Pros And Cons Of Daylight Saving Time

Whether you like it or not, on Sunday at 2 a.m. we’ll be turning the clocks ahead an hour. After speaking about it with people in our office, I realized how divisive this event can be!

While some like the extra daylight when they leave the office, others complain about how tired they are for several weeks until their bodies adjust.

What do you think of Daylight Saving Time – good thing or not so good thing?

Let’s take a look at some of the not so good things about DST, according to msn.com:

  • Daylight savings can cause sleep deprivation: By springing ahead, we can alter our circadian rhythm and this can throw us off for several weeks.
  • DST can put people at greater risk for cardiovascular conditions: A 2014 study found that on the Monday after DST begins, 24% more people have heart attacks than on other Mondays throughout the year. On the flipside, the study noted a 21% decrease in heart attacks the Tuesday after DST ends.
  • It can lead to an increase in workplace injuries: The 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses reported a rise in injuries in the summer months – and a decrease in November and December, after a return to standard time.
  • And more car accidents: Austin C. Smith, an assistant professor of economics at Miami University, reports a 6.3% increase in fatal car accidents for six days following the spring time change.
  • You might be less productive at the office because of DST: DST might also be to blame for “cyberloafing” – the act of wasting time online at work. A series of studies conducted at Pennsylvania State University in 2012 found that on the Monday after the time change employees are more likely to browse websites unrelated to their job.

On the other hand, there are good things about Daylight Saving Time. Here are some interesting tidbits from popularmechanics.com:

  • In the Western world, we typically spend more awake time in the evenings than in the mornings. We also enjoy many benefits from being awake in the sunshine. This leads to an increase in vitamin D, increased exercise, increased socializing, and overall improvements to mental health that come with sunlight.
  • A paper from the Brookings Institute finds that there’s a 7% decrease in crime following the shift to DST. In 2007, when DST was extended through November 1, that drop resulted in an estimated $59 million in savings from robberies not committed. The reason is simple: crimes tend to happen much more often in darkness. Extend the daylight, and crimes, especially outdoor crimes like muggings, go down.
  • Opponents of DST note that, in the week following the spring clock change, traffic accidents spike. But, DST lasts eight months, not a week, and the net effect of DST on traffic accidents is overwhelmingly positive. In fact, studies actually estimate that we could save about 366 more lives per year if we extended DST all year round. It is, very simply, easier to drive in daylight.

So remember to move any clocks – at least those that are not connected to the Internet in some way – ahead one hour.

Have a great weekend, and I hope you’re not too groggy on Monday!

Best Regards,

Taylor