The good news is most American consumers want to eat healthy; the bad news is companies are not making that easy. In a recent study conducted by Attest, research showed that 60% of 2,000 surveyed shoppers are committed to living healthy lifestyles. They aim to buy nutritious products but 52% of the participants were concerned about the steep prices of foods said to contain special, healthy ingredients.
The survey also showed that food labels are highly misunderstood by consumers. Participants were asked to identify which of six different cereal bars was the healthiest choice. Only 9% chose the correct one, while 13% actually indicated the least healthy of the six options. Marketing slogans, such as “whole grain,” “100 calories,” or “naturally favored,” contributed to the confusion that the participants felt.
Jeremy King, founder and CEO of Attest, remarked that the results should be seen as a call to action for the food and beverage industry to reevaluate their marketing and labeling practices. King concluded: “This data shows that identifying real, healthy products appears to be a serious difficulty for American shoppers, as packaging messages simply aren’t accessible enough for consumers. With six-in-ten consumers actively looking to buy healthy food and beverage products, addressing this issue will be of significant benefit to the industry.”
When asked what would be most helpful in gaining clarity, shoppers agreed that packaging labels with straightforward nutritional information was a priority. Some added that coupons may entice people to try a product for the first time. Others wanted to see a stamp of approval from certified health officials on the product labels.
Despite the fact that hundreds of millions of Pfizer-manufactured mRNA vaccines have been injected into people’s arms, until today the shot’s widespread consumption has been only under an “Emergency Use Authorization.” Today the US Food and Drug Administration has decided it can throw its full weight of approval behind the vaccine, opening the way for organizations, governments, and other large entities to mandate vaccination for staff and others.
It is expected that the certification, which has been in process since the vaccine entered the world stage in December 2020, will increase confidence in the treatment, helping overcome the last traces of vaccine hesitation which has led in part to the current surge in COVID-19 around the world, due to the spread of the Delta variant.
The US defense establishment announced that it will in all likelihood make vaccination mandatory for all members of the armed services. Universities have also said that they will require students and staff to be vaccinated if they want to attend in-person learning, among them the University of Minnesota and major public universities in Louisiana.
The FDA said it was able to upgrade the approval rating based on the large amount of hard evidence proving that serious side-effects are highly unusual, and the benefit of the vaccine vastly outweigh any risk presented by its administration.
President Joe Biden said, addressing those who have been wary of the vaccine because it was only being given under the emergency use authorization, that now that the vaccine has received the “gold standard” approval, “the moment you’ve been waiting for is here!”
China is the latest country to add its signature to a global effort to make sure that when a coronavirus vaccine is finally developed and ready for distribution, it will be given to the neediest people around the world.
Know as the COVAX initiative, it is sponsored by the World Health Organization and has signed up 157 countries. The WHO hopes the program will ensure that 2 billion doses of this life-saving vaccine will be made available to those most in need, no matter where they live, by the end of 2021.
“We have solemnly pledged to make vaccines developed and deployed by China a global public good, which will be provided to developing countries as a priority,” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, wrote on Twitter.
This is an about-face for China, which originally bowed out from joining COVAX. China is currently developing four vaccines that are in clinical trials. One of them, according to Wu Guizhen, chief biosafety expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, should be ready to be used on the general population sometime in November. President of China, Xi Jinping promised back in May that he would make any Chinese vaccine available for “the global good.” At that time Xi also pledged $2 billion to WHO, making China the organization’s largest donor.
In early September, the United States announced its decision to stay away from the COVAX initiative, stating that:
“We will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said at the time.
Use technology to maintain contact with clients. Video platforms should be utilized as much as possible to offer a face-to-face personal interaction. While working remotely may mean that things are a bit more casual, it is important to keep things professional.
The need to maintain decorum and professionalism notwithstanding, it is also important to be genuine with clients. They want to know that their money is in good hands, but they also want to have a sincere conversation about life. Start and end every conversation with a client by discussing their wellbeing. Ask how they are managing and feeling. Give them the assurance they need. Show them that you care about their physical, mental, and financial health.
When things are uncertain it is tempting to switch to preservation mode. We have a fiduciary responsibility to do our best for those who are already clients; we may not have the bandwidth to grow our business. But as we focus on the clients we have, we should also maintain business contacts and relationships that can help our business in the future. Look for opportunities in various sectors and actively pursue leads.
Clients are worried about a lot of things right now. It is the job of financial planners and economic advisors to ensure that money is not an additional concern. The current health concerns coupled with economic uncertainties present people with two extremely basic fears: being alone and broke. Now is not the time to overwhelm clients with statistics and trends. Listen closely to what the clients are saying and what they feel most comfortable with at this time. This is unchartered territory for everyone. Every individual, business owner, team leader, and industry specialist is figuring out how to navigate these uncertain times. In the money management field, being attentive, genuine, forthcoming, and caring is the best business practice right now.
President Donald Trump called into play what is known as the Defense Production Act in order to confront the ever-worsening coronavirus pandemic with increased production of desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPEs). This act requires private industry to re-purpose their factories and to greatly step-up production for the singular effort of producing the needed supplies to properly face the deadly pandemic that is wreaking havoc on the country, especially in New York City.
One such manufacturer is 3M, the world’s largest producer of respirator masks. One day after President Trump invoked the DPA 3M said it is ready and willing to comply with the order to supply more N95 masks for the US. They added, however, that they will not stop exporting masks to other countries that also desperately need them. 3M released the following statement:
“3M and its employees have gone above and beyond to manufacture as many N95 respirators as possible for the US market.”
The DPA also requires that companies supply the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the equipment ordered by the agency. 3M said it is working closely with FEMA to supply the requested masks while at the same time enlarging the number of masks it is importing into the US from its offshore factories, including from China.
The company said that it must continue to supply masks to Canada and Latin America, despite the administration’s additional request to halt the sale of US-made respirators to countries other than the USA.
A statement from 3M explained that:
“There are significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a critical supplier of respirators,” the statement said. Ceasing delivery of masks to these countries would “likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same.”
The company warned that retaliation on the part of other countries would most certainly lead to the total number of respirators available for use in the US to decrease.
“That is the opposite of what we and the administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek,” 3M said.