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Consumer sentiment dips to open March for the first time in 4 months
Inflation expectations fell to two-year lows, the University of Michigan reported.
After months of gains, consumer sentiment fell to start the month of March.
According to the University of Michigan’s preliminary data for March, sentiment fell for the first time in four months. Currently, it is 5% below February, but is 7% higher than the same month of 2022.
Driving the declines were lower sentiment among lower-income, less-educated, and younger consumers, as well as some of the highest stockholders.
Higher prices resulting from stubborn inflation continue to be a big drag on sentiment across all categories. While the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and other financial institutions figures to play a role, most of the interviews for UM’s data collection were completed prior to the SVB turmoil.
(Source: University of Michigan)
Looking ahead, consumers do see improvement on the horizon for prices. Year-ahead inflation expectations fell from 4.1% in February to 3.8% in March. That’s the lowest reading since April 2021. Long-run expectations also fell to 2.8%, which was below the range of 2.9%-3.1% for only the second time in 201 months.
The takeaway: While these readings are still well above pre-pandemic levis, they will likely be welcome news among economists at the Federal Reserve as a signal that inflation is not becoming implanted in the consumer psyche. But with the introduction of a banking crisis and inflation remaining stubborn, the Fed’s path is not clear, and that will extend to consumers.
“With ongoing turbulence in the financial sector and uncertainty over the Fed’s possible policy response, inflation expectations are likely to be volatile in the months ahead,” wrote UM Survey of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.
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Kellogg's takes inspiration from employees, Latin in snacks rebrand
Kellanova is now the parent of Pringles, Cheez-Its and Pop Tarts.
Kellogg Company's snacks business is now Kellanova. Here are a few finer points about how the forthcoming parent of Cheez-Its and and Pop-Tarts arrived at the new name.
Last year, Kellogg announced plans to split its business into multiple companies.
Now, one company will have North American cereals like Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Rice Krispies under the WK Kellogg Co banner.
Another will have snacks like Pringles, North American frozen foods such as Eggo and plant-based brands like MorningStar Farms.
This week, Kellogg announced that the snacks business has a new name: Kellanova.
Here are the strategies that Kellogg employed that led to this name:
- Ask the employees: Kellogg Company asked employees for input on the name, and received 4,000 suggestions from 1,000 employees.
- Listen to the results: 20% of the employees suggested a variation of the W.K. Kellogg name, while other employees suggested that the name include "nova."
- Go to the root: "Nova" comes from the Latin word for new. CEO Steve Cahillane said it "signals our ambition to continuously evolve as an innovative, next generation, global snacking powerhouse."
As The Wall Street Journal reports, this is just the latest new company name to take a Latin root in recent years, as Kellanova joins GE Vernova, Mondelez and Altria. It's also among a number of spinouts being completed by corporations, joining GSK spinoff Haleon, J&J's Kenvue and a forthcoming company that will spin out of 3M.
Even with a name that emphasizes moving forward, Kellanova is keeping one element that is familiar: The logo still has the iconic cursive K. It will even get the boldly simple stock ticker symbol "K" to go along with it.
Even the WK Kellogg Co is combining the past and future. The company is seeking to position itself as a "117-year-old startup," even as it draws on the name and signature of the Kellogg's founder. There's even a more subtle hint about an unwritten chapter: The "Co" doesn't have a period.
To get to the future, you need to bring along a bit of the past.