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Shoprite has launched a free monthly funeral benefit programme for its Xtra Savings Rewards members. The new benefit means that qualifying policy holders’ beneficiaries will be eligible to receive a R4,500 Shoprite voucher in the event of a claim.
Shoprite adds free funeral benefit to Xtra Savings rewards programme

The programme is underwritten by Outsurance and will provide free month-to-month funeral benefits to beneficiaries of those who opt in and swipe their Xtra Savings cards four times or more during a calendar month.

The initiative is the latest value addition to Shoprite’s Xtra Savings programme, which has gained over 11 million members since its launch six months ago.

In the event of a successful claim, the Xtra Savings Funeral Benefit will provide a predefined beneficiary access to a R4,500 Shoprite grocery voucher. The voucher is sent via SMS directly to the beneficiary’s phone, and can be redeemed at any Shoprite store via the Shoprite Money Market Account.

There are no signup costs or waiting periods, and no need to complete forms or undergo medical checks. Members simply need to opt in and meet basic monthly Xtra Savings card swipe requirements.

There are three ways to sign up:

• USSD: dial *134*569#
• WhatsApp: add Shoprite (087 240 5709) as a contact and type “Hi”
• Online:

Xtra Savings Funeral Benefit members must swipe their Xtra Savings card in a Shoprite store at least four times a month, on four different days, to be eligible – and a minimum spend of R100 or more per swipe applies.

Xtra Savings members can track their swipes as follows:

• Till slip: See the bottom of your till slip
• USSD: *134*569# and select the Xtra Savings Funeral Benefit option
• WhatsApp: Add 087 240 5709 as a contact, say “Hi” and select the Xtra Savings Funeral Benefit option

The benefit is available to South African citizens between the ages of 18 and 64 who are in possession of a valid South African ID number.

For further terms and conditions, click here.
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Nike Refurbished programme gives footwear a second life

Nike Refurbished is the footwear and apparel company’s latest circular consumer offering, as it aims to create solutions to help reduce its waste footprint. The new service is currently available at approximately 15 Nike stores in the US, with plans to expand throughout 2021 and beyond.

The refurbishment programme extends the lifespan for three types of footwear: like new (maybe worn for a day or two before being returned), gently worn (a little longer) and cosmetically flawed (think: something like a small snag that happened in manufacturing).


How it works

After a shopper returns a pair of shoes to Nike within a 60-day return window, eligible footwear is added to the Nike Refurbished lineup. Each pair is inspected and refurbished by hand, and then given a condition grade. The team uses a number of different products and tools to return shoes to as close to new condition as possible.

Once the shoes land back in a Nike store, the price is based on footwear type and condition grade. Handy messaging on the boxes make it easy to see what kind of shoes are inside, the condition grade, and more. With a scan of the box’s QR code, customers can check out more information about Nike Move to Zero.

Nike Refurbished footwear is also covered by Nike’s 60-day wear test, so if it’s not what a shopper needs, they can return it.

Footwear that can’t be suitably refurbished can be donated to a community partner or recycled into materials and products through Nike Grind.
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There was time, not terribly long ago, when, if you wanted to purchase a product, you would have to physically visit a store in order to do so. Similarly, if one were looking to recruit the services of a plumber, it would involve looking up a number in a printed directory before calling, and researching a subject would mean visiting a library or archive to find the information.
Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of Teljoy
Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of Teljoy

Then the internet changed it all, and brought access and convenience to the forefront of everything.

Complexity, consumers and convenience

Today, convenience is at the heart of what consumers expect from the products and services they use. We want things when we want them – and we mostly want it facilitated through our mobile phones and delivered to our homes pronto!

Various factors, including rising internet penetration, faster-paced lifestyles and challenging working hours, have “added layers of complexity to consumers’ lives,” as per this Nielsen report titled The Quest for Convenience. The report posits that, because consumers are so stretched (and stressed), we are constantly seeking solutions to simplify various aspects of our lives.

So pervasive is this need for convenience that this 2020 Deloitte report talks about convenience as the “new battleground”, and points out that Covid-19 has further accelerated the convenience-first trend. In fact, consumers are increasingly reporting spending more for the sake of convenience.

Contactless shopping, on-demand fulfillment and inventory availability are understood as among the most coveted convenience factors. The rise in mobile payment solutions, delivery app downloads and buy-online-pick-up-in-store facilities that more retailers are offering only serves to support this claim.


One size doesn’t fit all

Disruptive technologies have made convenience possible at a scale once unimaginable. But brands need to caution against simply adopting technologies for the sake of it and ensure the more mundane work of truly understanding the consumer’s needs is not overlooked.

Deloitte Consulting LLP’s principal of retail and consumer products, Bobby Stephans, says, “Retailers should be dramatically more granular in their understanding and operations,” and while thinking globally, should still act locally.

Furthermore, convenience needs to take the experience of the user into account. Money, time and effort – and the costs of each – form part of that experience. Brands that are able to engage with each factor are the most likely to develop the most relevant convenient solutions for their audience.

Access for convenience

In our own business, convenience has always been central to our offering. Rent-to-own as a business model is about making products – in the case of Teljoy, appliances, consumer electronics and furniture – conveniently accessible through a flexible model.

In fact, the rental economy more broadly posits that it is more efficient to rent the items that we need in our daily lives, as opposed to owning them outright. With rental, the burden of fixing or replacing the item is on the provider and not on the consumer.

The consumer continues to enjoy access to the product, without the risk and responsibility that comes with ownership. It’s the ultimate minimalist way of life – eliminating ‘distractions’ to allow yourself the time and energy to focus on what matters most to you. Convenience, through access.

Money matters

The Deloitte report mentioned above also found that “more than half of consumers reported their willingness to spend more to get what they need”. Beyond its potential for building brand equity and customer loyalty, the financial benefits for a business of prioritising consumer convenience is clear.

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Three years ago South Africa introduced Africa’s first major tax on sugar-sweetened beverages based on grams of sugar. The tax now stands at about 11% of the price per litre.
Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images
Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images
We assessed the impact in recently published research. We found that the health promotion levy coincided with large reductions in purchases of taxable beverages, in terms of both volume and sugar quantities. We didn’t find significant changes for non-taxable beverages.

This isn’t the first research to show positive outcomes from the levy. A national study one year after it was introduced found households in urban areas halved the volume of sugary beverages they bought, cutting their sugar intake by nearly a third. Similar results were found regionally in Soweto in Gauteng.

The new research is the first evaluate this particular tax design. At a national level, we measured changes in household purchases of taxable and non-taxable beverages in terms of volume, sugar and calories. We also assessed changes in the purchasing behaviour of households stratified by household socioeconomic status. We assessed changes between the period before the levy to after its announcement and through the first year of its implementation period.

Research shows that excess sugar, particularly in liquid form, is a major cause of obesity and is a risk factor for diseases like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, many common cancers and tooth decay. Recognising this danger, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that individuals should consume no more than 10% of total calories from added sugar, and preferably less than 5%.

Carbonated sugary drinks play a major role in making these numbers hard to attain. A 250ml cooldrink contains upwards of 26g of sugar – more than half the daily recommended limit.

Sub-Saharan Africa faces a tidal wave of diet-related noncommunicable diseases, with rapidly rising intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and other ultra-processed foods. South Africa, in particular, has a heavy burden of these noncommunicable diseases.

While other countries in sub-Saharan Africa have levied sugar-sweetened beverage taxes, South Africa is the first country in the region to evaluate such a policy.

Our results clearly show positive changes that could offer useful public health gains across the region. The reductions in sugar from taxable beverage purchases suggest a potential role for sugar-based taxes more broadly.

To tax, or not to tax

More than 50 jurisdictions across the globe have used taxes to curb the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

For example, in 2014, Mexico introduced a tax of one peso per litre on beverages containing added sugar. Research has shown that it resulted in a 6% reduction in purchased volume relative to pre-tax trends over the first year of the tax, and a 7.6% reduction over the first two years of the tax.

Tax policies in other countries such as the UK and several subnational jurisdictions in the US have also resulted in statistically significant reductions in purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages.

South Africa has led the continent firstly by introducing the tax, and secondly by making the levy about sugar content rather than volume.

Given that sugar-sweetened drinks contain variations in sugar levels, taxing them according to their sugar content is a more precise way of targeting the source of these products’ harm. It also gives beverage manufacturers an incentive to reduce the sugar content of their products. This strategy formed the basis of South Africa’s 2018 tax policy.

Unfinished business

South Africa’s levy showed that in 2018 the country was prepared to put the health of the public in first place.

>But the government has failed to capitalise on these early gains, despite the evidence that’s been presented to it about the impact of the levy on consumption patterns. An example of this is that it has not raised the rate at which the tax is imposed.

Health experts had been lobbying for an increase to 20% – the levy recommended by the WHO. No country in the world has reached this benchmark. Nations are only getting part of the benefits in terms of preventing obesity. This matters to the future health of children, in particular. South Africa has seen a rise in childhood obesity rates since 1994. And some forecasts suggest that the country will have the 10th highest level of childhood obesity in the world by 2030, affecting over 4 million children aged 5 to 19 years.

The campaign to get the levy increased is based on the growing body of research showing that sugar is addictive, that it is harmful to people’s health and that it is overwhelming the country’s health system.

Earlier this year the government made it clear that it had no intention of raising the 11% after the subject was left out of the February budget.

Yet, the country is paying a heavy cost to treat type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Government has the power to make healthy choices the easy choice. Healthy food like fresh fruit and vegetables is often not available or affordable for many living in rural or urban areas. People eat what is available and cheap.

The government can save lives and reduce the numbers of people who develop diseases by taking three very simple steps.

Firstly, it needs clear regulations.

Secondly, it needs preventative strategies.

Thirdly, it needs watertight policies for reducing consumption of unhealthy foods.

Increasing the health promotion levy, introducing mandatory front of package labelling and banning the marketing of unhealthy products to children should be at the very top of the priority list.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation

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Humane Society International has partnered with Hollywood filmmakers and stars to produce Save Ralph, a stop-motion animated short film that aims to end cosmetic testing on animals around the world. Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff, Tricia Helfer and others are providing the voices for the #SaveRalph film.

Writer and director Spencer Susser (Hesher, The Greatest Showman) and producer Jeff Vespa (Voices of Parkland) teamed up with the Arch Model studio of puppet maker supreme Andy Gent on the production to bring Ralph to life. The film is also being launched in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Vietnamese with Rodrigo Santoro, Gad Elmelah, Denis Villeneuve, George Lopez and others voicing the characters in those languages, and Maggie Q providing a video message of support.

Animals still suffering for cosmetics

Jeffrey Flocken, Humane Society International’s president, says: “Save Ralph is a wake-up call that animals are still suffering for cosmetics, and now is the time for us to come together to ban it globally. Today we have an abundance of reliable, animal-free approaches for product safety assurance, so there’s no excuse for making animals like Ralph suffer to test cosmetics or their ingredients.”

Director Spencer Susser says: “One of my favourite things about stop-motion animation is that every frame is a choice. Sadly, animals don’t have that choice but the magic of stop-motion gives us the tools to give Ralph a voice. It’s so important that Ralph feels real because he represents countless real animals who suffer every day. We hope that audiences will be moved to get behind Humane Society International’s campaign to ban animal testing of cosmetics once and for all.”

Ricky Gervais says: “Animal testing just makes me angry. There’s no justification for dripping chemicals in rabbits’ eyes or force-feeding them to rats just to make lipsticks and shampoo. Science has evolved enough to give us non-animal solutions to end this terrible cruelty — it’s time for our humanity to catch up.”

Hollywood stars, HSI partner in #SaveRalph production to ban animal testing

Companies a vital part of the solution

The campaign is focused on 16 countries including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, and 10 Southeast Asian nations, with partner organisations, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund, focused on legislation in the US.

Joseph Mayson, HSI-Africa’s campaign manager, says: “Sadly, there’s no happy ending for animals like Ralph, but by working together we can ensure that no animal is ever again made to suffer in the name of beauty. It’s easy to assume that companies are the problem, but the truth is they are a vital part of the solution. It’s laws that need to be changed, and industry leaders like Lush, Unilever, P&G, L’Oréal and Avon are working with us to secure meaningful animal testing bans in many of the world’s most influential beauty markets. We’ve recruited Ralph as our spokesbunny to help get these laws over the finish line.

“Over 90% of South Africans support a ban on animal testing for cosmetics, so with industry and the public on our side, we believe it is only a matter of time before South Africa joins the 40 countries that have already banned this practice.”

The #SaveRalph short film and educational materials on the current status of animal testing, as well as information about how you can help, are available at

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While StatsSA’s latest figures show retail trade falling 3.5% year-on-year from 2019 to 2020, continuing a 10-month downward spiral, South Africa’s retailers are starting to show signs of adapting to the needs of the changing market.

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

Dov Girnun, CEO of alternative fintech lender Merchant Capital, says that although the sector has yet to recover from a combination of the country’s Covid-19 measures and reduced consumer spending power, the company’s collection data suggests the early signs of recovery in several key categories.

“We’re starting to see South Africa’s retail sector adapting to the reality of new customer preferences, lifestyle changes, the impacts of Covid-19 and technological developments. We believe the retail sector is on the mend, and will see greater recovery throughout 2021,” said Girnun.

While the StatsSA report showed three of seven retail categories recording a decline in sales – with stores specialising in food and beverages decreasing by 33.6% year-on-year – categories like hardware, paint and glass had actually jumped.

Merchant Capital’s figures show five categories that could drive the retail sector’s recovery this year as they adapt their businesses to the new operating reality, said Girnun.

1. Fuel

With more people working from home, the fuel industry has seen significant changes in fuel consumption – but has responded by finding new ways to attract revenue, said Girnun. This includes offering pharmacy goods, Wi-Fi access and electric vehicle charge stations at their forecourts.

“Fuel retailers are also using technology to innovate: Refuel is an app-based mobile business which brings fuel to you, for example,” he said.

2. Hair and beauty

StatsSA’s figures showed pharmaceuticals, medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries reporting a 3.3% year-on-year increase in December, in spite of people spending more time at home and using less makeup products.

“The focus of the industry has been redirected to self-care and wellness, resulting in a spike in these purchases. The hair and beauty industry is also embracing technology to offer immersive experiences like virtual reality ‘try-ons’, online masterclasses and tutorials,” said Girnun.

3. Automotive

With South African consumers choosing to keep their cars for longer, businesses that help car owners maintain their assets are booming. One example of this is the recent surge in the number of car wash franchises, including environmentally-friendly operations and mobile and pop-up car washes, says Girnun.

4. Clothing retail

While textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods reported a 4% decrease year-on-year, the online retail industry grew by 40% during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

“As a result, clothing retailers have moved their focus online, in addition to their brick-and-mortar stores. Local brands are also championing the drive for ‘sustainable fashion’, as customers have fewer items of clothing, but keep them for a longer period,” says Girnun.

5. Building and hardware

Hardware, paint and glass grew by 8% year-on-year in December, with home-bound consumers spending more on home improvement through DIY and household goods. “Building and hardware businesses have been quick to adjust their product lines to target this market,” says Girnun.

What has their recovery looked like?

Merchant Capital’s merchants work on a ‘repay as you trade’ system, where loan repayments are collected as a percentage of each transaction. The data below indicates levels of collections across the five industries through each stage of the lockdown. This clearly shows the implications of reduced turnover, as well as the impact of payment holidays and lockdown relaxations, says Girnun.

5 categories that could lead retail's recovery in 2021
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Nestlé has launched a plant-based meal solutions manufacturing facility in Malaysia, the first in Asean and one of only two in Asia.

Nestlé opens plant-based food factory in Malaysia

The new facility will cater to the rising demand for plant-based foods and will supply local demand as well as exports. Getting people to eat more plant-based food is a priority for the Nestlé Group globally.

Nestlé Malaysia has invested a total of RM150 million (approx. $36.3m) in this facility, which has been the main contributor to the RM280 million capital expenditure in 2020, the highest in the last six years.

Located within Nestlé’s existing Shah Alam Industrial Complex in Selangor, the new production site, with a build-up area of approximately 6,000sqm, has an annual production capacity of 8,000 tonnes and is equipped with the latest food processing machinery and automated packing lines.

Chris Johnson, executive vice president and chief executive officer, Zone Asia, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa, Nestlé S.A., commented, “We have chosen Malaysia, and Selangor, as the location of this new manufacturing hub, as we find here the right infrastructure, trade links and access to talent and capabilities.

“We also build on Nestlé’s 108 years of successful presence in Malaysia. We are confident that with this new facility we will be able to capture the exciting growth opportunity for plant-based products in this region, which is a very important growth priority for the Nestlé Group worldwide.”

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