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Natural Products Industry Business News Briefs

Hilary Oliver

April 24, 2008

2 Min Read
Natural Products Industry Business News Briefs

Satisfaction wanes with long checkout lanes
Time is of the essence when your shoppers are at checkout. In fact, new research shows that satisfaction drops with every minute a customer has to wait. But exactly how long a wait is acceptable? A Sarasota, Fla.-based National In-Store and M/A/R/C Research study found that more than 90 percent of shoppers are extremely or very satisfied with a checkout time of one to three minutes; when the process takes four or five minutes, satisfaction levels fall below 80 percent. And satisfaction drops sharply when a customer waits more than five minutes.

One in 10 shoppers who left a store without making a purchase cited checkout wait as a factor, according to the study, which also found that men are more likely than women to forgo a purchase because of a long checkout line. Adults in the 35-54 age group were also less inclined to wait.

Help with homeopathy
Homeopathy doesn't have to be a mystery to your employees and customers anymore, thanks to a new series of free online training programs from Lyon, France-based homeopathic company Boiron. With initial offerings titled Homeopathic Medicines: The Basics, Homeopathic Medicines for Women's Conditions and Homeopathic Medicines for Allergy Symptoms, the programs use audio and video to provide information to retailers. Each program, available at, takes about 20 minutes to complete, includes quizzes to challenge newly acquired knowledge, and provides a personalized certificate to participants satisfying program requirements.

Corn-based fuel could increase meat prices
With a predicted jump in corn-based ethanol production in the next few years, corn prices are expected to rise along with the consumer price index. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts a 3 percent to 4 percent CPI increase for 2007, slightly above the previous four-year average, due to a number of factors including increased ethanol production using corn.

Corn-based ethanol significantly drives up the cost of animal feed, contributing to slower growth in meat production, according to USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins. Collins said ethanol has only modestly affected retail food prices so far. Late freezes and droughts also contribute to higher food prices. But, Collins said, "If corn prices continue to strengthen over the next couple of years, as USDA expects, retail meat prices are likely to increase more as growth in meat production remains slow."

—Hilary Oliver

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 7/p.16

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