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Material World

There's a whole lot of stuff out there to buy. We're talking about all the things you eat, drink, wear and even smoke. Every other week we're going to take a look at one part of the universe of consumable stuff. We'll delve into why we spend our money on these things, the people behind the products -- and why it matters.

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Skinny Jeans Are Killing the Fashion Industry

Skinny jeans have dominated the denim world for 10 long years and the fashion industry has had enough. Apparel companies are eager for pant styles to change, prompting customers to spend more on updating their entire wardrobe. Yet the skinny silhouette has serious staying power, according to Nancy Zhang, chief operating officer of New York boutique chain Otte. Sid and Ann Mashburn, who own a retail chain, describe how skinny became a style staple, from denim to athletic apparel to menswear. And Bloomberg's Matt Townsend bets the time has come for skinnies to meet their end. Are trends finally starting to show signs of change?See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


8 Aug 2016

Rank #1

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Why There's No Excuse Not To Buy Better Underwear

Material World is taking a look at the basics -- underwear. Technology and innovation has infiltrated the rest of your closet. Now, entrepreneurs say it's time to upgrade your underwear drawer. There's plenty to pick from: The global men's underwear market is expected to expand to $11 billion in 2020 from $8.4 billion in 2015, according to Persistence Market Research. That 31 percent jump dwarfs the expected 14 percent growth in the overall men's apparel market to $33 billion in 2020, according to Edited. Jenny and Lindsey talk with the founders of My Pakage and Tommy Johns, mens' brands, and Thinx, the so-called period underwear, to explore trends driving this market. Plus, they host a consumer-expert panel to find out if the new products actually live up to the hype.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


6 Feb 2017

Rank #2

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The Evolution of Coffee, America's Favorite Drink

The majority of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee every day. The kinds of drinks and the companies producing them have changed dramatically over the past few decades. Consumers increasingly want their caffeine kick to be gourmet and iced. Meanwhile, artisanal coffee companies are being snatched up by big roasters, much as craft brewers have been acquired by bigger counterparts. This week on Material World, Jenny and Lindsey dig into what's happening with the country's favorite stimulant. They talk with the leaders of Illycaffe Spa, La Colombe Coffee Roasters and Blue Bottle Coffee Co. about why gourmet coffee is growing, how cold drinks got so hot and why industry consolidation is expected to continue.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


3 Oct 2017

Rank #3

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American Made, Bought and Sold

Hosts Lindsey Rupp and Jenny Kaplan are talking patriotic marketing. In an Olympic and election year, consumers have been overwhelmed with red, white and blue. Budweiser actually branded its iconic beer "America" during the summer. Do these ploys attract buyers? What about items that are made in America? For more insight the hosts talk with Wrangler Jeans, Bloomberg reporter Shannon Pettypiece on Wal-Mart and Budweiser.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


3 Oct 2016

Rank #4

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To Win the Grocery Wars, Wal-Mart Is Making Designer Melons

In our last episode, Jenny and guest host Craig Giammona explored how technology could shape the grocery industry's future. This week, Jenny and Lindsey look at what the biggest grocers are doing to stay on top -- and discover it has a lot to do with produce. As part of its plan to fight off competition, Wal-Mart, the world's biggest grocer, joined forces with an agriculture giant to design a new, sweeter cantaloupe. If the new melon is a success, it could set the stage for a makeover of the crucial produce aisle across the industry."The Cantaloupe Song" was written by Russ Rogers.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


25 Jul 2017

Rank #5

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America's Sugar Addiction: Why So Sweet?

This time of year feels like a continuous feast. With pumpkin spice lattes and apple pie and holiday cookies at every turn, Americans are constantly confronted by sugar. More than half of the nation's people are trying to eat less sugar -- and some are trying to quit altogether. So why is it so hard to tame that sweet tooth?Jenny and Lindsey dig into the ingredients that keep us chomping long past our necessary caloric intake: sugar, salt and fat. Jacqueline Raposo, a food writer and host of the "Love Bites" podcast, talks about the challenges of her month-long pledge to abstain from sugar. New York University's Nutrition and Food Studies Professor Marion Nestle explains why certain tastes appeal. Bestselling author and New York Times investigative reporter Michael Moss and Bloomberg's Craig Giammona speak to the companies that rely on sugar, salt and fat to attract consumers and how Big Food and Big Soda are being forced to change tactics.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


29 Nov 2016

Rank #6

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BONUS: The Pay Check, Episode 6

So far, the pay gap has proved pretty impossible to solve. But most of us aren’t just going to sit here and accept that we’ll be paid less than men for our entire careers. In the last episode of The Pay Check, host Rebecca Greenfield talks to Gaby Dunn, who hosts her own podcast called Bad With Money, about what she's learned from the many people she's sought advice from on her series. Jordyn Holman also travels to Seattle for the Get Money, Get Paid conference, hosted by a group called Ladies Get Paid, and learns some important lessons about negotiation—and collaboration. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


13 Jun 2018

Rank #7

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The Disruption of the Jewelry Industry

Millennials are blamed for disrupting a lot of industries, from cereal to soap, and now they're wreaking havoc on the jewelry industry. Customers today want timeless pieces that aren't so expensive they require a down payment, and they want to be able to collect items that can be customized into a truly personal look. In addition, they're browsing jewelry online and designing unique pieces. And young consumers are waiting longer to get married -- putting a dent in the engagement ring category -- and increasingly considering lab-made diamonds and other stones. These trends have put mainstream players like Signet's Zales, Kay and Jared in a tough spot. Lindsey Rupp and Kim Bhasin take a look at the changing trends in the industry and talk with New York startups Rebe and Catbird about what might be coming next.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


25 Sep 2017

Rank #8

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The Tech Industry Wants To Revolutionize How You Shop For Groceries

For decades, the experience of buying groceries has remained much the same — and stayed largely immune to tech disruption. But that may be about to change. Amazon's bid for Whole Foods shows that it's determined to revolutionize the way Americans buy their groceries. Jenny and guest host Craig Giammona talk with grocery experts about how stores are already changing — and the challenge that Amazon faces in charting a new future for the industry.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


11 Jul 2017

Rank #9

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Trump Inc. (Ivanka Edition): What's in a Name?

For the rich and famous, a name is often much more than just a name, and the Trump family hasn't shied from capitalizing on that opportunity. This week on Material World, we explain how Ivanka Trump turned her name into a brand. Now that the First Daughter has taken a position in the White House, what happens to her namesake company? Jenny and Lindsey speak with branding expert Allen Adamson on the challenges of using a person's name as a brand; actress and entrepreneur Jessica Alba on her decision not to use her name as her masthead and Bloomberg's Kim Bhasin on how the Ivanka Trump Co. is helped or hurt by the election of its founder's father.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


22 Aug 2017

Rank #10

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Shopping in Trump's America: A Look Ahead to 2017

This year was full of surprises -- Brangelina called it quits, the U.K. voted to leave the European Union and Donald Trump became the next president of the United States. It's hard to predict what lies ahead in 2017.Jenny and Lindsey are joined by others on Bloomberg News's consumer team to do just that. They discuss what retail might look like next year. Skinny pants, beards and progressive advertising themes could be out. Shoulder-pads, fast food and sugar may be in. The team tries its best to guess what living in Trump's America will mean for shoppers.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


27 Dec 2016

Rank #11

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Yogurt Battle Puts Big Food Struggles on Display

 Big Food's having a tough time, and yogurt is no exception. Large, bureaucratic food companies have trouble keeping up with consumers looking for fresh ingredients and new products. Newcomers like Chobani are beating out old standbys such as General Mills' Yoplait and DannoneWave's Dannon. This week on Material World, Jenny and guest host Craig Giammona dig into the evolution of yogurt, the changing consumer and the lessons yogurt provides for the rest the grocery store. Correction: A previous version of this episode misstated Gary Hirshberg's last name.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


31 Oct 2017

Rank #12

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How Climate Change Affects What You Buy

Climate change is already worsening extreme weather events -- from hurricanes to wildfires -- and beginning to affect the U.S. economy and consumers. This episode is the first in a two-part series on climate and commerce. This week, Lindsey and Jenny dive into how changes in the environment are showing up in stores and businesses. Dr. Peter Howard, the economics director at the institute for policy integrity at NYU's school of law, explains how changing global temperatures and climate could have ripple effects on businesses and shoppers. Bloomberg's Jordyn Holman discusses her reporting in Puerto Rico after it was hit by Hurricane Maria and the director of the Florida Department of Citrus describes Hurricane Irma's impact on growers. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


15 Nov 2017

Rank #13

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Global Warming Is Coming for Your Shopping Cart

The impact of climate change on the things we buy is already noticeable, but it’s bound to get worse. In future decades, the food we eat, beverages we drink and clothes we wear may all be altered by the warming planet. In the second of two episodes about climate change, Jenny and Lindsey dig into the future impact of global warming on shoppers. They talk with Andrea Illy, Chief Executive Officer of IllyCaffe; Dr. Peter Howard, economics director at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University's School of Law; and Cecilia Strömblad Brännsten, a sustainability business expert at H&M.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


28 Nov 2017

Rank #14

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This Bud's For You: Weed Goes Mainstream

As legalized pot becomes more widely available, the race is on for brands to become household names. One in five American adults now lives in a place where he or she can smoke, eat, drink, vape or otherwise ingest cannabis as they please. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laid out plans last week for the country to become the first Group of Seven nation to legalize it nationally. As the product moves out of the black market, cannabis is getting a makeover.Jenny and Lindsey dive into what's going on politically and how the industry is changing. Some ganjapreneurs are leaving Jamaican flags, giant pot leaves and highly potent strains behind in the quest to become the Coca-Cola or Budweiser of weed.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


19 Apr 2017

Rank #15

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Is New York Fashion Week Still On Trend?

Last month, fashion lovers got a taste of what's going to be in this spring as designers and models took to runways from New York to London to Paris and Milan. But as customers look for instant gratification and retailers rush to get clothes on shelves faster, is New York Fashion Week as relevant and agenda-setting as it once was? Lindsey Rupp and Alex Barinka talk with Xcel Brands Chief Executive Officer Bob D'Loren, retail consultant Gabriella Santaniello, and Tricia Smith, the head of women's merchandising at Nordstrom.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


17 Oct 2017

Rank #16

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Having a Baby Never Cost So Much

Having a baby costs more than ever. The average American parents will pay about $245,000 to raise a child born in 2013 through the age of 18 -- and that's just for basics! It isn't just higher costs that are changing the business of raising babies, industry experts tell Jenny and Lindsey in this episode. These days, new parents rely more on technology, care less about brands and are more attuned to product ingredients than previous generations. Mainstream companies such as Johnson & Johnson, once the only option for new parents, are struggling to keep up with changing demands as customers flock to upstarts like the Honest Co. for products they can trust.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


19 Sep 2016

Rank #17

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How The Kardashians (and Other Celebrities) Get You To Buy Stuff

Celebrities, they're just like us! Or rather, marketers have long relied on the fact that we want to be just like them. Slapping a famous name and image on to products has been a sales tactic for more than a century. But consumers's thirst for authenticity and attachment to social media have changed the ways that fame can be used.Join us as Jenny and Lindsey dive into the world of celebrity to find out why the relationship between companies and stars increasingly revolves around investments, not endorsements. Khloe Kardashian tells us why she no longer feels obliged to accept every product offer dangled her way. The comedians behind the Fat Jewish and Babe Walker on Instagram and Twitter explain the origins of White Girl Rose. And Jody Levy, co-founder and creative director of WTRMLN WTR tells us what one famous backer -- Beyonce -- brings to the table.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


31 Oct 2016

Rank #18

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BONUS: The Pay Check, Episode 2

There was a brief moment 150 years ago when it looked like women might get equal pay for equal work. But they didn’t—and that set the standard for decades to come. On this episode of the Pay Check, Rebecca Greenfield revisits a Civil War-era sex scandal that set the stage for the pay gap debates we're having right now. She talks to Claire Suddath about how a century of rules and laws saying what women can and can’t do have made it easy for companies to pay women less. One big reason the gender pay gap still exists is because of a phenomenon called "occupational sorting"— the idea that some jobs are dominated by women, and those jobs often pay less. That didn't just happen. Claire and Rebecca sort through how history determined the market value for women. Then Claire talks with Lilly Ledbetter, whose fight for gender equality at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. seemed like an open and shut case—until a loophole in the law denied her justice.Visit us at https://www.bloomberg.com/the-paycheckSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


16 May 2018

Rank #19

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How Tech Is Changing Your Beauty Routine

The beauty industry is on fire, thanks in large part to technology. Prestige beauty sales in the United States grew 6 percent to $15.9 billion in the year ending in February, according to the research firm NPD Group. Makeup alone rose 11 percent to $7.3 billion. Lindsey and Jenny talk to lifestyle website Goop and makeup brand Glossier about how the prevalence of social media and online shopping are driving some of these sales figures. Industry investor TSG Consumer Partners, with $5 billion under management, explains the opportunity smaller brands have to carve out a niche market thanks to the Internet and what makes these upstarts appealing companies to invest in or even buy outright. Bloomberg's Stephanie Wong breaks down how big, traditional players are trying to get in on the growth.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


15 May 2017

Rank #20