Aug 14 2015
You probably know that U.S. relations with Cuba are on better terms than they have been in decades. In fact, today marks the official opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Havana.
This is important for many reasons: Cubans are closer to reconnecting with the wider world, and the world is closer to tapping in to 11 million people ready to buy stuff that they never could before. This is not to say that Cubans don’t know what a Big Mac* is, but in the near future, they may be granted access to spend their hard-earned pesos on the American classic. The opportunities for growth are immense to say the least, but how do the world’s largest mega corporations, like a McDonald’s, or even a smaller business come to plant their American flags in Cuba’s white sand beaches? Corporate responsibility… In order for these businesses to really make a case for their Cuban operations (facilities and a native workforce, they’re going to have to earn it.
In order for these businesses to really make a case for their Cuban operations (facilities and a native workforce), they’re going to have to earn…
Aug 13 2015
Did you see it? Last week, an infographic claiming to show what happens to your body within the first hour of drinking Coca-Cola tore across the internet like wildfire. Created by blogger The Renegade Pharmacist including statistics from this BlissTree article, it featured claims such as: at “45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.”
Well, if the earlier mention of “10 teaspoons of sugar” hadn’t caught your attention, the heroin reference sure did.
Clearly, this infographic isn’t exactly an ad for a refreshing can of Coke. And the accuracy of the content has been criticized more than a few times (see here and here), but that’s not what I want to talk about.
There’s a ton of science about why infographics and visuals are such effective ways to convey information. According to the SAGE Handbook of Political Communication, it only takes one tenth of a second to process visual information—that’s 60,000 times faster than it takes for the brain to decode text. We know…
Mar 27 2015
This month, I attended the most buzz-worthy conference of the year. No, it wasn’t SXSW (although the crowd in attendance was probably equally stimulated) – it was the National Coffee Association’s Annual Convention. And, yes, it was just as delicious as it sounds.
Between sipping samples from vendors around the globe, I absorbed a lot about coffee’s past, present and future. My lessons began with the legend of Kaldi the goat herder, who first discovered Coffea Arabica when his flock became unusually frisky after ingesting some bright red berries while grazing in the Ethiopian hills, and progressed to philosophical discussions on the increasingly dynamic, venture capital-backed Third Wave movement.
While coffee’s trajectory thus far is a fascinating one, the key insight I left with is that the industry’s future is exceptionally bright.
1- Health Halo in the Making. Coffee has a myriad of health benefits that are backed by sound science, but are not yet widely acknowledged by consumers. Dr. Alan Leviton, of Harvard University Medical School, shared data showing that regular coffee consumption (3-5 cups/day) is associated with decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer or malignancies. Basically, the more coffee people drink…
Feb 19 2015
Last week, Fox News published the Hungry Girl’s guide to outsmarting Valentine’s Day overeating. It’s dedicated to recipes options that won’t “ruin your budget, waistline, or the mood”.
Valentine’s Day aside, the majority of religious and civic holidays have become synonymous with overeating. The national Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders even describes over-eating around the holidays and on special occasions as a “normalized” part of American behavior.
All you have to do is google “holiday overeating” and you’ll find hundreds of articles describing tips to avoiding binge eating and over indulgence – as well as one that includes five ways to avoid a post-holiday heart attack. But this got me thinking – are the holidays the issue? Or, are we causing the problem?
Let’s talk about food-specific holidays. According to The Nibble, a magazine dedicated to specialty foods, there is a food dedicated to just about every day of the year.
Here’s a taste of your food holiday options:
Nov 20 2014
Yesterday, the New York Times Well blog ran a story about the effects of exercise on the human brain. For a while now, people have believed that regular exercise improves cognitive function, but a recent study examined just how real those benefits are. Not surprisingly, the results suggested that not only does exercise change the [...]
Feb 13 2014
Last week, CVS Caremark announced that it was pulling cigarettes and other tobacco products from its stores because it wanted to focus on becoming more of a health care provider, with CEO Larry J. Merlo stating, “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting.” And, while the retailer will lose about $2 billion per year as a result of the move, it stands to gain much more. Merlo said the decision to stop selling tobacco products “was really more of a discussion about how to position the company for future growth.”
CVS has the largest chain of pharmacy-based health clinics in the United States, offering care for common illnesses, like strep throat and pink eye (Bob Costas could benefit from a visit). By 2017, it anticipates growing clinic locations to 1,500. Retail health care is becoming big business with approximately 20 million patient visits to date and Accenture indicates that the industry could see 25% to 30% growth in the next few years. What about CVS’ move positions the retailer to take advantage of the opportunity?
Oct 10 2013
When Barack Obama was elected President in 2008 (and re-elected in 2012), it was largely because of the efforts of Millennials, the generation of people who are approximately 18-34 years old. The impact of youth on these elections is well-known, but did you know that the President needs Millennials just as much now to ensure the success of his healthcare reform initiative? This time, he’s asking that Millennials vote with their DOLLARS instead of casting an election ballot.
The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “ObamaCare,” expands access to healthcare to all people through a variety of initiatives. One of them is to offer more affordable and accessible health insurance through online exchanges, which officially opened for business on October 1, 2013. As an incentive to participate, ObamaCare has established a “shared responsibility requirement” (aka a $95+ fine that will increase to $695+ in 2016) for anyone who does not obtain some form of health insurance. Now, here’s where the more than 19 million uninsured Millennials come in. According to Healthday.com, “Insuring young, healthy people helps balance out the risk of covering older, sicker adults. But if America’s 20- and 30-somethings don’t sign up,…