Archive for the ‘Consumer Trends’ Category

We Gobble till We Wobble While More Go Hungry

November 26, 2020 — We have come to an odd relationship with food, because we are full of contradictions. This American Thanksgiving holiday brings those contradictions into sharp view. While an increasing number of Americans are going hungry, we’re celebrating a national feast day that is a time to give thanks for abundance. Hunger Soaring with the Pandemic At […]

Shaming Customers with Clothing Sizes

November 17, 2020 — RT-Mart is a hypermarket chain in Taiwan, having a measure of success in mainland China. But last week it set off a furor about fat shaming. For reasons unknowable, the chain replaced the usual S-M-L-XL-XXL clothing sizes with a shaming scheme. Slim, beautiful, rotten, extra rotten, and rotten to the core was the chain’s not […]

From Chaos Comes a Booming Market for Calm

November 8, 2020 — Even chaos is a business opportunity. So it seems that the market for calm is booming – both as a state of mind and a popular health app. This week the company behind the health app named Calm seized an opportunity. They sponsored those jarring election news alerts on CNN that were delivering the precise […]

Even Our Refrigerators Are Polarized?

October 29, 2020 — The New York Times seems to think that even our refrigerators are polarized. Let’s just say they have a bias that favors polarization. Political agitation is good for their business model – just as it is for Fox News. But seriously, the Times collected more than a thousand images of refrigerators through a mobile phone […]

How Happy Are We? Twitter Says Not Very

October 17, 2020 — We are living in uneasy times. If you want to quantify that, check out the Hedonometer at the Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont. According to their analyses, Twitter was a pretty happy place before 2020. Peter Dodds and colleagues on the Hedonometer project wrote in 2015 that human language has a “universal […]

Critical Thinking: Trust and Verify

October 10, 2020 — We’re having trust issues. The world is facing a pandemic, but the solutions are not obvious. Headlines are full of reasons to mistrust governments that should be leading us through this crisis. Science offers a promising beacon for some. But others are dismissive. Make no mistake about it, all over the world, people are having […]

Subway’s Bread Isn’t Really Bread?

October 2, 2020 — Remember when Jared the Subway guy was riding high on the story that he lost 200 pounds eating only Subway sandwiches? Though he’s long gone, the chain kept on cultivating a healthy image. But now the Irish Supreme Court tells us that the bread in those subs is not even bread. Nope. It’s a confection. […]

Bariatric Surgery: Essential, Underutilized, or Both?

September 30, 2020 — Somehow we find ourselves now in a puzzling situation with bariatric surgery. On one hand, we have Jane Brody, an icon of healthy nutrition for a healthy weight, telling us that bariatric surgery is underutilized. On the other, we’re hearing that demand for bariatric surgery is robust – despite or perhaps because of COVID-19. So […]

Whole Foods CEO: Poor People + Stupid Choices = Obesity

September 28, 2020 — The CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, is offering up wisdom for the world on obesity in the New York Times. The whole world is getting fat, he says. But according to him, it’s definitely not a problem of access to healthful foods: “People have got to become wiser about their food choices. And if […]

Noteworthy Research: Does Twitter Make It So?

September 28, 2020 — Preliminary results from a fascinating study has us wondering. How often is it that Twitter makes research noteworthy? Ricardo Ladeiras-Lopes and colleagues randomized 534 research papers in journals of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) to receive promotion on Twitter or not. In this analysis, Twitter produced a 43 percent bump in citations for articles […]