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Cooking program uses traditional African foods to promote health, wellness among African-Americans

BY Alaric DeArment

BOSTON — A nutrition-education group is promoting health and wellness in African-American communities by teaching about traditional African cuisine.

Oldways announced Wednesday the launch of "A Taste of African Heritage," which it said would help communities reconnect with the ways of eating and living of early Africans and African-Americans in Africa, the South, the Caribbean and South America.

The program started as a pilot in 15 locations and will be expanded to 50 across the country this year and 100 next year. A grant from the Walmart Foundation is supporting the program, which includes the African Heritage Diet Pyramid that Oldways introduced in November 2011.

"Diabetes, obesity and heart disease are not a part of African-American heritage," Oldways president Sara Baer-Sinnott said. "Our ‘A Taste of African Heritage’ cooking program addresses these issues and is a springboard to the wonderful old ways of eating and living, creating new healthy traditions by introducing participants to the cultural and culinary roots of their ancestors."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-Americans have the highest rate of obesity, 49.5%, and the highest rates of diabetes and deaths from cardiovascular disease.

The program is designed as a cooking and wellness series of six classes of 45 minutes to an hour, offered weekly and bi-weekly at community centers, churches and healthcare venues.


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The Natural Dentist announces partnership to help raise awareness about oral complications of cancer therapies

BY Jason Owen

MADISON, N.J. — The Natural Dentist, a line of therapeutic oral care products, and Dr. Susan Calderbank, a leading dentist in oral health for patients undergoing chemotherapy and head and neck radiation, today announced a partnership to raise awareness about the oral complications of cancer treatments in a joint effort to help patients manage these often debilitating side effects.

Oral complications occur when cancer treatments break down the cells in the mucus membrane. The most common oral side effects of cancer treatment include inflammation and ulceration of the gums, infections, bleeding gums (especially at the gum line and from ulcers), and dry mouth. In some patients, these effects are so severe that they have difficulty eating, breathing, and swallowing, and their treatment is compromised.

“Dr. Susan Calderbank has been a pioneer in the field of oral complications as they relate to cancer therapies, dedicating her practice to alleviating the oral care side effects of cancer treatment,” says Kelly Kaplan, president of Revive Personal Products Company, LLC and distributer of the Natural Dentist. “Helping patients to alleviate these side effects through careful oral hygiene is a cornerstone of The Natural Dentist, and we’re pleased to partner with Dr. Calderbank to raise awareness about this important issue, which affects thousands of people undergoing cancer therapies each day.”

“My life has been personally touched by this issue, when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and suffered debilitating oral health side effects,” says Dr. Calderbank. “Even as a dentist, I discovered that I couldn’t help her. Since then, I’ve devoted a large part of my practice to raising awareness about this issue, and finding ways to help patients maintain good oral health throughout both treatment and survivorship.”

Dr. Calderbank continued, “I’m committed to partnering with the Natural Dentist because I’ve seen personally how their Healthy Gums Mouth Rinse has proven effective to alleviate these side effects, and their commitment and passion to raising awareness about this issue and providing resources for patients compliments my own mission.”

The Natural Dentist Healthy Gums Mouth Rinse is available at retailers including Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Whole Foods. To learn more about how cancer treatment affects oral health or to request a free sample of the Healthy Gums Mouth Rinse, please visit: rinseforrelief.com/.


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Report: First-half of 2013 more promotional with $1.8 billion in consumer savings

BY Michael Johnsen

LIVONIA, Mich. — Promotions were up across the front-end over the first half of 2013 as compared with the corresponding year-ago period. Couponing across non-food items were up 1.8%, according to the U.S. Mid-year 2013 CPG Coupon Industry Facts Report released Tuesday by NCH Marketing Services, a Valassis subsidiary.

Overall, consumers saved $1.8 billion in the first six months of 2013.

"Following recession-driven years of unusual redemption growth, marketers have adjusted their strategies and we have seen indications of response stabilization," commented Charlie Brown, NCH VP marketing. "In 2013 there is a wider divide among food and non-food products as they promote through a slightly different mix of media and tactics to achieve their individual objectives."

In the first half of 2013, coupons for non-food products represented 62.5% of all coupons distributed, a 2.9% increase from the first half of 2012. Overall, CPG manufacturers issued 168 billion coupons in the first six months of 2013, the majority through free-standing inserts. FSIs accounted for 91.1% of all coupons distributed in the period. 

Digital coupons have continued to sustain double-digit growth as more marketers adopt a digital strategy and more retailers employ an omnichannel loyalty program to attract and retain customers. But according to this report, digital coupons still represent less than 1% of all coupons distributed.

"CPG marketers continue to turn to the FSI to drive volume and market share through the significant advertising impact of FSI pages, and to align their offers with retailers that are increasing their use of the FSI," stated Suzie Brown, Valassis EVP sales and marketing. "At the same time, they are also expanding the use of digital formats that continue to grow but on a smaller scale. For marketers, it’s about finding the right media mix and defining the coupon characteristics to both activate consumers and still drive ROI for their brand."

Marketers’ strategic choices and tactical changes included shortening expiration dates by 3.2% to 9 weeks on average, led by the food segment where expiration dates were reduced by nearly one week; extensively using coupons requiring the purchase of two or more products, particularly for food items, which represents 42% of their coupon distribution; and increasing the average face values distributed by 4.5% to $1.62, driven by non-food segment marketers, yet they have managed their total redemption liability through the mix of offers made available in the market.

In response to the marketers’ adjustments, redemption volume for the first half of 2013 declined 8.1%. Digital coupon formats, however, have grown, with redemption reaching 6.1% of the total for print-at-home coupons and 2.5% for paperless formats. That growth includes contextual coupon sites, retailer sites and a stronger integration in the media mix with desktop, social and mobile advertising campaigns. The integrated campaigns, that companies such as Valassis are using, help marketers engage and activate today’s always-connected consumer along their path to purchase. 


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