Sunday, 10 December 2017

Fake Christmas

Border officials have seized £1.5m worth of counterfeit Calvin Klein pants, along with fake Dyson fans, Superdry hoodies and Nike shoes. The authorities are using the hauls to highlight the risk of buying cut-price, substandard counterfeits at Christmas. Every year dire warnings are issued over the dangers posed by fake goods, from poisonings to electrical fires. In the run up to Christmas a surge in counterfeits enters the country, from designer watches to children's toys, as shoppers, keen to save money at a costly time of year, are either hoodwinked or turn a blind eye to the lack of authenticity. And border officials step up their efforts to block them, employing huge x-ray machines to check that the items inside shipping crates match the accompanying documents. By highlighting the range of products seized, the authorities hope to alert consumers to the chance that if a price is too good to be true for a sought after item, the product probably isn't genuine.

Saturday Job?

A Saturday job used to be a rite of passage for many children, but pressure to succeed at school and other factors means that's no longer the case. The number of schoolchildren with a part-time job has fallen by a fifth in the past five years, new figures show. The findings come from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all local authorities across the UK responsible for issuing child employment permits.  Employers need to apply for a licence to hire staff under the age of 16. The number of permits fell by more than 20 percentage points between 2012 and 2016 - from 29,498 to 23,071. Dr Angus Holford said he believed young people in compulsory education are fearful that a part-time job could hinder their performance at school. Geoff Barton said: "Properly regulated part-time work is a good way of helping young people learn skills that they will need in their working lives. Employment regulations state that work for 13 to 15 year-olds must be light duties only and between the hours of 7am and 7pm (including holidays). Jobs that need a permit include retail work, newspaper rounds, waiting on tables, office or clerical work, and leaflet delivery. The rules are different for baby-sitting or the odd job for families and individuals.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Favourite Festive Sweet

A new survey of 1,000 people along with analysis of annual sales and food manufacturers’ research has found that the most popular festive sweet in the UK is the Ferrero Rocher, which beat After Eights and Quality Street to the honour. The survey was carried out by Andy Baxendale, an advanced food manufacture scientist known as the sweet consultant. ‘Everyone develops a sweet tooth at Christmas and for some people the festive period just isn’t the same without certain chocolates and sweets, some of which they will have enjoyed each year since they were children,’ he explains. ‘Everyone will have their own favourites and ones they hate, so choosing which sweets and chocolates to buy is a very important task in the run up to Christmas, as failure to get it right can be the cause of heated family arguments. ‘With Ferrero Rocher sales have risen approximately 17% each year and in the UK sell around 130 million – and that’s enough for two each for every member of the UK population.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Mirry Christmas

Air New Zealand has launched a Christmas campaign with a difference with a self-referential campaign poking fun at the distinctive Kiwi accent. The light-hearted push sees a confused Santa receiving Christmas orders from children around New Zealand but struggling to interpret their heavily accented dialects – resulting in a succession of humorous misunderstandings. Brushing up his pronunciation skills Air New Zealand chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod said: “While it’s no secret the Kiwi accent has been misunderstood at times, it’s also a signature part of our service. In fact, for many Kiwis, being welcomed onboard an Air New Zealand flight by crew after being offshore for some time makes them feel instantly back at home.”

Holy Sprout

This year Waitrose has found an unusual way to incorporate the green veg into Christmas celebrations, even for those who usually turn their noses up to eating the divisive veg. This year the supermarket will be launching its very first sprout wreath. The sprout wreath is a limited edition decoration available in Waitrose Food & Home branches as a trial this year, but if popular it will extend to more branches for Christmas 2018.  The Brussels Sprout Wreath, £35, will be on sale in selected Waitrose shops from the beginning of December.

Royal Wedding Business

When Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement on Monday, the UK’s souvenir firms sped into action. Royals are big business for the UK, and one analyst expects this year’s wedding will amount to £60m in additional sales. “The design team have been working very hard,” said Pamela Harper, chair and chief executive of London-based Halcyon Days, which will release commemorative china products once the date has been set. Kensington Palace has said the wedding will be in May 2018, but the exact date hasn’t been announced. The marriage of Harry’s older brother, William, to Kate Middleton in April 2011 boosted the number of visitors to the country by 350,000 that month alone, according to the UK Office of National Statistics. That wedding accounted for a £527m increase in UK retail spending, including £199m on wedding souvenirs and memorabilia on the public holiday, according to an estimate from the Centre for Retail Research – although Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out a bank holiday this time around.

Ricicles Recycled

Kellogg’s are axing Ricicles in a bid to become health conscious. The cereals giant has announced plans to cut sugar in their products between 20% and 40% by the middle of next year, so Ricicles have been sacrificed.Kellogg’s will also stop adding on-pack promotions aimed at children on boxes of Frosties. Meanwhile, old favourites like Rice Krispies will see their sugar content cut by 20% and sugar in Rice Krispies Multi-grain Shapes will be reduced by 30% per serving. A new and ‘improved’ Coco Pops recipe, which contains 5.1g of sugar per 30g serving, is set to be introduced in July 2018. Children between the ages of seven and 10-years-old should consume no more than 24g of sugar per day, according to the Government. Cunning shoppers who recently bought boxes of Ricicles are cashing in by selling them on eBay for as much as £9 per box. And cereal fans are taking advantage of the opportunity to stock up before Ricicles are gone forever, even though they are on sale for much more than the normal cost of £2.79 for a 450g box.