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Terra Tech signs sweet deal with Smucker’s

BY Tara Smith

NORWALK, Conn. Norwalk, Conn.-based Terra Technology Inc. recently reported signing the Ohio-based J.M. Smucker Co., maker of fruit spreads and health and natural foods in North America, as a customer. No details of the agreement have been released.

Officials of the company, whose software analyzes daily demand signals, reported that Smucker’s has implemented Terra’s demand-sensing software to improve weekly inventory forecasts. Other customer’s of Terra’s software include New Jersey-based Campbell Soup Co. and the California-based Ventura Foods LLC.

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Poll shows recalls of Chinese goods spark little change in consumer behavior

BY Adam Kraemer

NEW YORK Despite the recent furor over the quality of Chinese goods being imported into the U.S., sometimes even resulting in recalls, it has not greatly affected the buying behavior of the American public, a New York Times/CBS News poll discovered.

The poll, conducted Oct. 12-16, found that while 71 percent of the 1,282 respondents claimed to be aware of the country of origin of a product, nearly as many—65 percent—had not stopped buying Chinese goods. Of the rest, 14 percent claimed to have stopped buying Chinese goods because of the recent recalls and 9 percent claimed that they simply did not buy goods from China.

In addition, 35 percent said they felt that products imported from China were more dangerous than those from other countries. However, 20 percent more of the respondents (and the majority at 55 percent) felt that Chinese products only seemed more dangerous because of the recent news.

Even more telling, in comparison with a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll from 1996, the percentages who rated Chinese goods on a scale from “Excellent” to “Poor” remained within the current poll’s margin of error of 3 points. The percent who responded “Only Fair” did not change at all from 11 years ago. The percent who rated the goods “Poor” in 2007 increased by 3 percent, but that was balanced by the combined increase of 3 percent on the side of “Excellent” and “Very Good.”

Full results and the poll’s methodology are available at nytimes.com/polls.

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Neilsen estimates more than $2 billion spent on Halloween candy in the U.S.

BY Allison Cerra

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. The Nielsen Co. has unmasked the truth about Halloween candy.

The global information and media company anticipates that U.S. consumers will spend over $2 billion on candy this Halloween, and that sizes do not matter, but rather, the quantity.

“There’s no doubt about it; when doorbells ring October 31, consumers respond with candy, and lots of it,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president of Consumer and Shopping Insights, Nielsen Consumer Panel Services. “The quantities are big, but the sizes are small. Our review of the Halloween seasons shows that the overwhelming majority of consumers choose to give miniature candy to trick-or-treaters.”

Nielsen also concluded that, out of 52 markets in the United States, the Salt Lake City/ Boise metropolitan area bought 80 percent more candy than expected.

Nielsen did say, however, despite the profits stores make on selling candy (October and April are the biggest candy-selling months), most consumers are more likely to purchase candy only a few days prior to the holiday (Oct. 29 is considered the top-selling day).

Additionally, 97 percent of households purchase candy at least once a year, while 85 percent of candy is purchased in grocery stores.

“For retailers and manufacturers, Halloween is a concentrated selling period for seasonal items,” Hale said. “Consumers [are] putting a strong showing at the cash register.”

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