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Telemedicine has just gone to the dogs

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — Retail pharmacy may soon have another product to showcase as part of a comprehensive pet care set — a mobile health device to track activity for dogs. Whistle, a technology company dedicated to helping pets live longer and healthier lives, on Wednesday debuted its flagship product, a device that connects to a dog’s collar to measure key health indicators including activity and rest. Information collected from Whistle devices can be shared by pet owners with their veterinarians and will be accessible to researchers around the world, creating the largest comparative database on real-world daily activity that will be used to extend a dog’s lifespan. 

Pet owners can order Whistle devices for $99.95 at www.whistle.com. No plans for a retail launch have been disclosed. 

“Whistle started from our love of dogs. We’re introducing a window into their lives, creating a way for owners and vets to take a preventative approach to our pets’ health,” stated Ben Jacobs, CEO Whistle. “To provide the best care requires information on day-to-day needs and long-term trends, which until now, have never been available.”

The Whistle intelligent monitoring system features a wireless device that attaches directly to a dog’s collar and a mobile application that allows pet owners to know when their dog is walking, playing or resting. Whistle provides recommendations to optimize the health of dogs based on breed, age and weight, alerting pet owners to key developments or changes in behavior, so they can share information with their vets.

“Across everything we build, our focus is providing a layer of sophisticated analytics to make sense of crucial data,” commented Steven Eidelman, head of product at Whistle. “Integrating that intelligence with a simple, fun user experience enriches the pet-owner relationship and offers a new form of communication for owners and vets.”

Whistle also announced $6 million in investments made by DCM Ventures, other venture firms and executives across the pet, retail and technology industries. 


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Target to feature local products in Quebec stores

BY Alaric DeArment

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Target Corp. will go local at its stores in Quebec, the mass merchandise retailer said Wednesday.

Target said that foods certified with Aliments du Quebec and Aliments prepares au Quebec labeling — including frozen foods, dairy products, perishable foods, baked goods, break, snacks and beverages — would be made available at the 25 stores it plans to open in the province in the fall. Aliments du Quebec-labeled foods are made from at least 85% Quebec-sourced ingredients, while Aliments prepares au Quebec are products processed and packaged in Quebec.

"Target is excited to participate in the Aliments du Quebec program," Target Canada SVP merchandising John Morioka said. "We realize how important it is for Quebecers to be able to easily identify local food products when shopping. This initiative is a good example of our commitment to being part of the communities in which we do business."

The Conseil de Promotion de l’Agroalimentaire Quebecois, or CPAQ, and better known as Aliments du Quebec, was founded in 1996 by members of the province’s food industry and controls the label of origin for Quebec food products.

"Seven out of 10 consumers believe it is important to identify Quebec food products at the point of sale," CPAQ president Florent Gravel said. "I am pleased to see Target’s dedication and investment in promoting Aliments du Quebec products."


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Combos adds 7 Layer Dip tortilla chip to lineup

BY Jason Owen

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. — Mars Chocolate North America today unveiled new Combos Baked Snacks 7 Layer Dip Tortilla, a new spin on the popular appetizer. The new 7 Layer Dip Tortilla variety combines Tex-Mex flavors in a crunchy tortilla shell.

Combos Baked Snacks 7 Layer Dip Tortilla combines seven flavors — cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, tomato, refried beans, onion and spicy jalapeno peppers.

"When people think about road trip snacks, they think about Combos brand," said Roy Benin, chief consumer officer, Mars Chocolate North America. "The new 7 Layer Dip Tortilla variety makes a long-time party food favorite portable, so people can enjoy the unique flavor combination anywhere they go."

Combos baked snacks are cheese-filled pretzels, crackers and tortillas made with real cheese. The new 7 Layer Dip Tortilla flavor expands the Combos brand portfolio to eight flavor varieties, including Cheddar Cheese Pretzel, Pizzeria Pretzel, Cheddar Cheese Cracker, Buffalo Blue Cheese Pretzel and more.

New 7 Layer Dip Tortilla will be available in 1.5 oz. singles and 6.3 oz. medium bags at most grocery, convenience and drug stores or wherever snack foods are sold.


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