All posts by Peter Jefferson

About Peter Jefferson

Peter Jefferson is a full-time researcher for www.businessdistrict.com, a task he took on in 2011 when the site was launched. He brings to the position a wealth of practical experience in the field of fiscal policy, having consulted with various government bodies on revenue collection, expenditure and economic growth. Contact Peter at peter[at]businessdistrict.com

GNC Responds to Changes in the Market

GNC is implementing a novel strategy to revitalize its brand and attract customers. This well-known chain specializing in vitamins and dietary supplements is shifting its focus to the burgeoning market of GLP-1 medication users. These medications, which include popular weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, have been linked to side effects such as muscle loss and gastrointestinal issues. In response, GNC has launched a dedicated “support section” in its 2,300 stores across the United States. This section features specially tailored vitamins, protein shakes, and supplements designed to assist individuals managing these side effects.

GNC is also enhancing its customer service by training employees on the nuances of GLP-1 medications and the best products to mitigate common side effects. This initiative is part of the company’s broader effort to position itself as a supportive retailer in the health and wellness landscape, particularly as the usage of GLP-1 drugs is expected to rise dramatically.

This strategic pivot comes after GNC filed for bankruptcy in 2020, subsequently closing over 1,200 stores. The move reflects a broader trend where businesses, from gyms to food manufacturers, are adapting their offerings to cater to the needs of individuals on GLP-1 medications.

Even food giants like Nestlé are shifting their focus towards more nutritious products that align with the dietary needs of GLP-1 users, highlighting a significant shift in consumer habits towards healthier options. Through these strategic changes, GNC aims to not only recover from its financial challenges but also lead in a market poised for substantial growth.

California is Making Food Safer

California is the first U.S. state to ban four potentially harmful food and drink additives that are linked to disease. The California Food Safety Act now prohibits the use of brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye 3, commonly found in candies, fruit juices, and cookies. These substances are already banned in many countries.

Supporters of this law are reassuring consumers that popular products are not going to suddenly vanish from stores; rather, companies who use these ingredients are going to have to change their recipes to include healthier alternatives. The law will take effect in 2027, which will give the manufacturers time to reformulate their products.

There was a false claim that California aimed to ban Skittles. Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel clarified that Skittles with alternative ingredients are already sold in the European Union, where these additives are banned. The law doesn’t ban foods but requires companies to use safer alternatives.

Other countries, including the EU, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Japan, have banned these additives. Major brands like Coke, Pepsi, Dunkin’, and Panera have removed them from their products voluntarily.

National Cheeseburger Day Has Arrived

September 18th is National Cheeseburger Day. In honor of this momentous occasion, fast food chains across the country are offering deals to hungry customers.

Through September 22, patrons who buy one item from the menu at Wendy’s will receive a junior bacon cheeseburger for just one cent.

At Burger King, customers who sign up for the Royal Perks program will get a free cheeseburger once they spend at least one dollar.

Several other chains, such as Smashburger, Krystal, and Carl’s Jr. are also using this annual event as a means of attracting business.

In the fast-food business, profits are generally low and customer loyalty is hard to come by. According to CNN, “Chains unveil big giveaways, typically tied to their mobile apps, to help drive business. Pushing people to the app has helped to drive more repeat customers.”

Wishing you all a Happy National Cheeseburger Day!

Introducing Temu, the Most Downloaded App in the US

It is safe to assume that most Americans would consider Amazon and Target to be the most popular online retailers, along with some other well-known conglomerates.  And until the Super Bowl last Sunday, that stood true. But now, in a surprising turn of events, a new online shopping platform has become the most downloaded app in the United States, surpassing even the biggest names in the industry.

Temu is an online shopping destination for just about everything, including clothing, houseware items, electronics, and much more. Based in Boston, it shares the same parent company as the Chinese e-commerce icon, Pinduoduo. The target market is anyone looking for great deals. And, with prices like $11 for a smart watch and $8.50 for wireless earphones, it’s not hard to understand the ultra-quick popularity Temu has gained.

https://youtu.be/RgNuwb9lpeg

In its 30-second Super Bowl slot, word about Temu reached millions of US homes. The ad focused on bargain prices yet feeling like a billionaire. The background song played: “The prices blow my mind. I feel so rich. I feel like a billionaire.”

According to Sensor Tower, since its release in September, the Temu app has been downloaded 24 million times.

An Exciting Evening at Sotheby’s

Monday evening at Sotheby’s in Manhattan was a memorable one for the famed auction house. Pablo Picasso’s ‘Guitar on a Table’ sold for $37.1 million, closing the evening at one of its highest-ever tallies of $392 million.

The cubist from 1919 was part of CBS founder William Paley’s private collection. Following his passing in 1990, a couple dozen pieces were put into the care of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A foundation for Mr. Paley decided to begin auctioning off some of the famed works in an effort to raise $70 million for various causes. One of the main goals of the sales is to help fund an expansion of MoMA’s digital footprint, with the possibility of developing a museum-run streaming art channel or pairing up with a university to offer art degrees.

During the auction, two bidders competed diligently for the Picasso piece, driving up the price tag. While the colorful “Guitar on a Table” had expected to sell for an estimated $20 million, a telephone bidder closed the sale at over $37 million.

Other pieces from Mr. Paley’s estate were also sold on Monday night and an additional painting was auctioned earlier this month at Sotheby’s in London.