Information Net for September 2

Breakfast Cereal


Here’s the good news: Fewer Americans are skipping breakfast, considered the most important meal of the day. The bad news: Fewer are eating cereal. Bad news, that is, for cereal companies like General Mills, Kellogg and Post.

Cold cereal is still the number one choice for breakfast in America, with sales topping $9 billion over the last year, according to Nielsen. However, “What we’ve seen for the cereal category over the past four years has been a 7 percent drop in volume,” said John Baumgartner of Wells Fargo Securities.

Baumgartner and other analysts cite several reasons: consumer boredom with cereal, a desire for higher protein products such as yogurt, and the need for on-the-go breakfasts consumers can eat in their cars. “Cereal sales have gotten squeezed over the past several quarters,” said Morningstar’s Erin Lash.

Cereal killers at the breakfast table Sales are slipping fast for America’s cereal makers. CNBC’s Jane Wells reports on some of the innovative ways companies are handling the decline.
Last quarter, Kellogg reported a 3 percent drop in revenues for its morning foods unit, while General Mills’ cereal division reported a 2 percent drop.


“Not all consumers choose a bowl of cereal and milk,” Kellogg said in a statement. “For them, we’re developing foods that provide the benefits of cereal in portable and convenient formats.”

Those new “formats” include breakfast bars and shakes. Sales of Kellogg’s Pop Tarts are holding up well, and General Mills’ granola sales jumped more than 40 percent in a month, according to Nielsen. Both have been playing catch-up to the Greek yogurt craze, which has helped propel the yogurt category to the number two position for breakfast at nearly $7 billion in sales.

“Five years ago (Greek yogurt) was a novelty in this country. Now Greek is about 40 percent,” said Baumgartner. He adds the breakfast table will only get more competitive as new players vie for “share of stomach.”

Read by: PAUL KJ4WQN

Those new players include a growing number of fast food chains. Yum Brands’ Taco Bell is rolling out a national breakfast menu, joining other newcomers in recent years like Subway and Wendy’s (which has since scaled back its breakfast experiment). McDonald’s has started serving “Breakfast After Midnight” at some of its 24-hour stores. Nation’s Restaurant News reports the first meal of the day is a $42 billion business to the industry, and QSR Magazine claims the number of quick-serve breakfast items jumped 17 percent between 2009 and 2011.

What hurts cereal hurts milk. Milk sales have been on a gradual decline for years.

“Cereal and the use of milk is pretty well linked,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president of consumer insight for Nielsen.

Cold cereal is only popular in the U.S

Marketing Unauthorized RF Devices


The FCC this month cited retailers in California and Texas for illegally marketing non-certified amplifiers. According to an August 15 Citation and Order, the FCC’s San Francisco office investigated complaints and “confirmed that DNJ Radio of Fremont was offering for sale non-certified RM Italy linear amplifiers and amplifier kits capable of operation with both CB 11 meter transceivers and [Amateur Service] 10 meter transceivers.” The FCC said the devices listed in the Citation have not received FCC grants of certification, required for external RF power amplifiers operating below 144 MHz and marketed in the US. The Commission also cited Radio Master, a CB shop catering to truckers — for similar violations. According to a Citation and Order released August 20, FCC agents from its Dallas office in February inspected the Radio Master shop at a truck stop in Rockwall, Texas, where they observed a used Palomar 250 RF amplifier offered for sale.
“The unit did not have an FCC identification number to confirm that the model had been granted an FCC certification,” the Commission said in the Radio Master Citation, noting that under its Part 2 rules, external RF power amplifiers capable of operating below 144 MHz “may not be offered for sale unless they have first been authorized in accordance with the Commission’s certification procedures.”

Read by: RICK N9GRW

The FCC discounted a disclaimer on DNJ Radio’s website that the devices it’s marketing “are for industrial, scientific, medical, or export use only,” and that using them on 11 meters would violate FCC rules. “The amplifiers…are being offered for sale from within the United States, and anyone within the United States could buy the devices regardless of the disclaimer,” the FCC said. Future violations by either retailer could result in hefty fines and/or equipment seizure, the Commission said.

The Commission told both firms to take immediate steps to discontinue marketing unauthorized RF devices, and it gave them 30 days to provide certain information in writing.
In June, the FCC issued a Citation and Order to a Nebraska-based online retailer for illegally marketing unauthorized RF devices — including 10 and 12 meter amplifiers capable of putting out up to 8200 W.

American Red Cross Vehicle Donation Program Turns Clunkers into Compassion and Care


The American Red Cross launched a vehicle donation program with Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) that converts unneeded vehicles into Red Cross donations to help those in need. The program with
IAA began July 15 in all 50 states.

“People may think their old vehicle is worthless but the donation could be priceless to someone in need of Red Cross services,” said Joel Sullivan, Regional CEO, Tennessee Volunteer Region. “This
program turns clunkers into compassion and care.” The program offers an easy donation process with convenient, free pick-up and towing and a tax-deductible way to dispose of unwanted vehicles.

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