It has never been more important to be a savvy shopper. Yes we know that food labelling is not always trustworthy but it is important to check labels, all the same. The horsemeat scandal
proved there are incidencies of false food labelling, when horse and pork were part of meat prodcuts labelled as 100% beef. That said, however, remember to read the labels and pack sizes in order to check value for money.As the economic downturn continues to bite manufacturers look at ways to increase profits or just break even. A good way is increasing pack size but reducing contents. For example, you may buy a huge packet of breakfast cereal but if there are less contents than smaller packs you are not a price savvy shopper. Products such as crisps, or potato chips, and cereals are good examples. As products that are light in weight a reduction in contents could easilybe missed unless you check the pack details or actual weight.Which, a British consumer group has been checking facts and figures and there are some shocking results,
Aa pack of Birds Eye beef burgers with four fewer burgers than the original 16 despite the price increasing from £3.98 to £4.29 in Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.Pledge furniture polish has shrunk by 17% but the price has stayed the same or risen, Nestle Munchies dropped from 150g to 126g with a disproportionate price drop from £1.67 in Asda and Sainsbury's to £1.59, and Thorntons Mini Caramel Shortcakes increased in cost by 10p in Waitrose despite shrinking from 12 cakes to 10.
The study found "anything from bags of crisps to packs of dishwasher tablets are getting smaller".
What "Which" discovered is that most manufacturers have opted to reduce contents rather than increase products. Prices have increased in some cases but these have been kept to a minimum by reducing sizes.The problem is that no person or organisation can state if shrinkage and
prices are comparable. For all consumers know they could be paying a higher price for less product, actually taking a bigger hit than believed.As times get tough consumers will need to price aware to stay one step ahead of advertisers and retailers. They have many means available to persuade you to buy. Clever pacakaging tricks could easily deceive you unless you stay alert.Many consumers would rather pay a higher price than buy less contents but in truth some are experiencing both, that is higher prices and less contents. Then there is still the matter of what the contents actually are!
:UK food scandal: Is horsemeat use widespread?Horsemeat scandal: You are what you eat? Neigh
Talks on the latest EU budget proposals have resumed in Brussels today, November 23, 2012. All the participants, the leaders of EU countries, knew that it would be difficult to reach an agreement.
Yesterday each leader who arrived had individual meetings with Herman Van Rompuy President of the European Council. Why each had to speak behind closed doors without their so called community buddies says it all.
Then after Dinner the leaders got down to the nitty gritty. The doors closed and in what is now a smoke free zone attempts were made to thrash out a deal which appealed to all. In the past the smoke filled room would have been torture for non smoking members.
In the end the the talks were alte commencing after already lengthy debates. They only last 11/2 half hours and today they will resume in ernest.
Finding a deal which will appeal to all was always going to be nigh on impossible. Each region of the EU has its own priorities and set of challenges. The UK is being blamed by some countries for being demanding. Ask Brits if they agree with that assessment and most would say no. Here in the UK we are constantly told what we can and cannot do by Europe, or so it appears.
As PM David Cameron babbles on about cuts and austerity measures in the UK he knows that the people of Britain will not take kindly to an increase in EU budgets. Agricultural policies are extremly important to countries such as France but they will not be a prime concern in the UK. And so on it goes.
Herman Van Rompuy said today as the talks are due to get underway,
Today we must decide on our Union's budget from 2014 to 2020. Maybe this meeting will
be long and complicated. Fortunately this issue only comes up every seven years!
The decision before us is simple: making sure the Union has the money to do what we
want it to do, for all of us, knowing the budgetary constraints in each of our countries.
Over these past weeks and in the course of the day, I already met all of you individually,
and I listened carefully. All the views around this table are well known: red lines, requests
for spending, requests for savings, and much more.
The proposal which I put on the table is a moderation budget. The times call for it. Doing
more with less money involves political choices. This is painful, even when cuts are evenly
spread. So we must be sensible and realistic.
But we must not forget this is budget for the rest of the decade. It must be future-oriented.
My proposal focuses on jobs and growth in all regions and in different economic sectors,
on research and investments, for instance in connecting Europe, while ensuring our Union
can also continue to deliver the actions our citizens have come to expect.
I am working now for a deal with all of you. We have to work with the European interest
in mind, alongside the national interests. Together we will find a balanced solution. It's
necessary and I'm convinced it's within our reach. So, dear colleagues, let's get down to
OPINIONMany people of Europe now accept that the EU dream is a nightmare. A growing nimber want to see the end of the EU or at the very least their own country use the exit door. With all of the countries so reliant on each other that would not be easy. The domino effect could mean that if one country leaves or topples we all go down. You have to wonder about the economic sense of becoming so dependent on each other in the first place.This blogger's first time election vote many years ago was at a time when the UK was not in the European Economic Community as it was called then, the Common Market.
She opted to vote for an Independent Anti Common Market politician. Perhaps she knew then it would all end in tears.The UK fought long and hard to enter the EU. De Gaulle of France tried his best to keep the UK out. On November 27, 1967, once again De Gaulle said "non" to Great Britain. The EEC was small back then with just five member countries namely
Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, France and Germany . The other countries were ready to welcome the UK but not France.In true bulldog spirit that made the country all the more determined. In truth though it was never about the people as a whole wanting to join the EU. The peopleof Britain were never given a vote on whether to join or not. It was about the wants of bureaucrats and politicians in the UK. Their track records say it all.Updates will follow as and when, or should that be if, any agreement is reached.Related reading:
http://www.wherebuttheuk.com/1/post/2012/11/pm-david-cameron-in-brussels-for-eu-budget-talks.htmlUpdates 11.30amThere are reports that a compromise looks unlikely.
The latest reports claim that concessions could be made which will help France and Poland. This will mainly be through the agricultural policy. It is worth noting that "France and Poland respectively are the top recipients of EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies and regional aid money, known in EU jargon as cohesion funds. Jointly, the two spending programmes consume more than two-thirds of the bloc's annual 130 billion euro (105 billion pounds) outlay."Early EveningThe Budget talks ended in failure. For once PM Cameron for hte UK and Chancellor Merkel for Germany agreed on something. Both were looking for assurances that the EU budget would not increase. In what was a laboured meeting agreement could not be reached. Initially it was anticipated that the talks would carry on into the weekend. It must have been obvious that a compromise could not be found though as
in the end the talks were abandoned. They finished with nothing agreed. It is unlikely they will resume before next year.
Latest news from Brussels on the budget talks
As Facebook prepares to launch itself on the stock market stock fever could take hold. Facebook is such a phenomenon that it is expected to excite the markets in a way that has not been seen for many a year. What it will mean for Facebook users may not be so favourable.
In the long run it could be that personal data is less secure than it is now. It is not that secure now. It could result in an abuse of information depending on who owns the largest share of Facebook. If that becomes the case we, the fickle public, could soon, wave bye bye to Facebook. Not so long ago many of us loved MySpace. Last year it was sold for a relative pittance as people moved over to Facebook and left MySpace behind.
Whilst buying stocks in Facebook in the short term should be a good investment, long term it could be a different matter. According to the LA Times, "Facebook is expected to raise $10 billion in the offering, giving it a market capitalization of $100 billion. Google, by comparison, raised $1.9 billion in its IPO in 2004". Big bucks indeed.
Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, still only aged 27, will join the ranks of the richest men in the World after the stock floatation. Trading is expected to be fast and furious on the day with many hoping to make money almost immediately.
Facebook's wealth lies in the users personal information and its value to advertisers and the like. Although the day of the stock market float is still not known it is predicted that it will be before April 2012, due to US Federal financial rules.
Somewhere in the World today, October 31, 2011, a woman will huff and puff her way through labour producing the 7 billionth citizen of the world. Although the United Nations made this announcement one has to wonder just how they can possibly know this for a fact. With some countires still keeping inaccurate records, if any, it hardly seems logical.
However if it makes you think about the world, the mess it is in right now and the future, all well and good.
( Officially it has been claimed that, Danica May Camacho, who was born just before midnight Sunday, October 2011 in Manila is number 7 billion. Welcome Danica.)
Rather than an increase in breeding though, it is more the fact that we are mostly living longer which is blamed or accredited with the figures. It depends upon your stance how you feel about so many people living on this planet of ours.
There are so many people starving across the World, hate is the watchword right now, civil unrest is on the increase, jobs are scarce, resources are low and the World economy looks doomed. Of course that dismal picture is a worst case scenario. As they say, where there is life there is hope. But we need to get a grip.
In the past disease and premature aging and death has limited the World population. Expecting not all children to survive into adulthood, most parents had a large family. Then of course there was War. The Two World Wars certainly levelled the population out along with the coming easy access to birth control products.
However, if it is to be believed that the rise in population is mainly down to longevity then we are in trouble. An increasingly aging population is often less productive than a younger one. Ultimately it will cost more.
Yet we know that in reality there is still wealth in the world. Look at the amount of money spent on destroying the planet with conflict and corporate greed. No matter what your stance on the Occupy protest movement it is hard to refute there claim that the World's wealth is in the hands of 1% of its population.
There is still hope for the planet if its population is prepared to make changes. If we carry on the same course it will be doomed. 7 billion may seem a staggering amount of people but what will the population be 20 years from now?