11 December 2014 Last updated at 19:23
EE to end Orange Wednesday cinema deal
The mobile company EE is to end its Orange Wednesday cinema deal.
The offer, which allows Orange and EE customers to get two cinema tickets for the price of one on Wednesdays, was launched more than 10 years ago.
The company said that customers' viewing habits had evolved and it was "time to move on", with the promotion ending on the last Wednesday in February 2015.
EE was created from the merger of the UK businesses of T-Mobile and Orange.
"Orange Wednesday launched over a decade ago and at its peak was a massive success and an iconic promotion," the company said in a statement.
"After 10 great years our brand has changed and our customers' viewing habits have also evolved so it's time to move on.
"That's why the final credits will roll for Orange Wednesdays at the end of February 2015. We're working on new customer entertainment rewards and we'll provide more detail soon."
With more and more people watching films on their tablets, phones and TVs at home, the number of people using the Orange Wednesday deal has declined.
It is thought that EE could not reach a commercial agreement with the cinemas.
11 December 2014 Last updated at 17:41
Yodel stops picking up online orders from retailers
The courier firm, Yodel, has stopped collecting parcels from retailers as it struggles to deal with the huge jump in online orders following the "Black Friday" sales.
The company says some customers will face delays of up to 72 hours as it works to clear the backlog.
It has told clients there would be no collections from distribution centres on Thursday or Friday.
The company said it hopes to resume normal service on Monday.
In a letter to clients, the company's executive chairman, Dick Stead, said that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had exceeded all analysts' expectations and in many cases orders for UK retailers were double the previous record level set last year.
Parcel volumes then continued with "Manic Monday", earlier this week.
"This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but one that we have had to take to protect service levels," he said.
Yodel, which describes itself as the leading delivery company in the UK, said later in a statement that orders would continue to be delivered: "We would like to reassure shoppers that there is no suspension to our delivery service.
"Deliveries will continue throughout this period, and we are working hard to ensure that these are made as soon as possible, however some parcels may be delayed for up to 72 hours.
"By Monday we expect to resume our normal service. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to our clients and their customers."Affected customers
A spokesperson for Amazon, which uses Yodel as one of its couriers, said: "Amazon orders continue to be processed and delivered in the normal time frame. For example, Prime customers can order for next day delivery."
Catalogue retailer, Argos, said deliveries to its customers were unaffected, but that a small number of customers wishing to return goods over the next couple of days would be temporarily affected by Yodel's suspension to its collection service for some retailers.
It said: " We are very sorry and are urgently contacting all affected customers to rearrange their collections.
"In the meantime, unlike other online retailers, customers have the option of returning items at their nearest Argos store. 90% of the UK population lives within seven miles of one of our 734 stores."
Earlier this week Marks and Spencer was forced to extend delivery dates for online orders as a new distribution centre struggled to cope with heavy Christmas demand.
The online retail industry body, IMRG, recently predicted that Christmas 2014 would be the busiest on record for the UK's online logistics industry.
Andrew Starkey, IMRG's Head of e-Logistics, commented: "All the indications are that more than 210 million online parcels will be sent out during November and December by UK retailers alone."
11 December 2014 Last updated at 22:27
SeaWorld boss steps down after film hurts attendance
Jim Atchison, the chief executive of SeaWorld, has resigned.
The aquatic amusement park has struggled to attract visitors in the wake of a 2013 film, Blackfish, which criticised its treatment of killer whales.
SeaWorld acknowledged in August that the film had hurt revenues at its San Diego, California park.
The company's share price has fallen 44% this year, and now trades around $16 per share.
In a statement, SeaWorld said that current board chairman David F D'Alessandro would serve as interim chief executive, and that the firm would also continue with its plans to reorganise in order to save $50m by the end of 2015.
The company said that part of the restructuring would involve job cuts.
SeaWorld operates 11 theme parks globally.
In its most recent earnings report, it said attendance had dropped from 8.4 million visitors in the third-quarter of 2014 compared to the same period a year earlier.
It attributed the decline to "a combination of factors including negative media attention in California along with a challenging competitive environment."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12 December 2014 Last updated at 02:16
Bulgaria picks up the pieces of cancelled Russian pipeline
Stand on the sea wall next to the port in Varna and you can see the bits and pieces of South Stream piled up in front of you.
Hundreds of long black sections of piping - some on the dockside, and others still stacked on cargo ships.
They were supposed to have been laid beneath the gloomy waters of the Black Sea, bypassing Ukraine and bringing Russian gas directly to south-eastern Europe.
But - suddenly and unilaterally - Vladimir Putin has declared the project dead. Gas, he said, will be sent to Turkey instead.
"It's really not clear what's going to happen to all these pipes next," admits Spas Spasov, a local journalist in Varna who has covered the project from the start.
No-one at the port itself was prepared to talk about the abandoned pipes, and the local South Stream office was closed for business on the day we visited.
Bulgaria says it still hasn't received any formal notification from Moscow that the project has been cancelled, and the European Commission is "seeking clarification".
"It's always been a bit of a mystery anyway," Mr Spasov points out.
"For example, it was never revealed - if Bulgaria were to sign a contract with (the Russian company) Gazprom - what the price for the transit of gas would be."Corruption fears
While Russia wanted Gazprom to have exclusive access to the pipeline, the EU said no.
It was a stalemate sharpened and embittered by the dispute about Russian military actions in Ukraine.
And at the local fruit and vegetable market in Varna, there is a grudging acceptance that bigger issues are at play here.
"Of course I have heard about the pipeline," says Veselina Nenceva, as she wanders past with her young child. "But to be honest I've got other things to worry about."
"We all know that the tensions between Russia and the West will continue, and Bulgaria is in a strategic position. So both sides will try to have more influence."
Several people at the market talk about a lack of local economic opportunity. Perhaps South Stream could have made a difference - but nothing was ever taken for granted.
And then there is the ever-present suspicion of corruption in the tenders to build the pipeline in the first place.
"It's all about corruption, there's nothing but corruption in Bulgaria," says an angry stallholder, Sabka Dimitrova.
"But we're hoping the EU will help us - we're supposed to be part of the same family."
EU leaders have already said they will work with the Bulgarian authorities to find alternative sources of both energy security and revenue.
But there are several theories about why South Stream has suddenly fallen from favour in Moscow.
Some think it is a bluff, designed to put pressure on Bulgaria and to persuade Brussels to change course.
But others argue that the effect of sanctions, the collapse of the rouble, and other economic issues meant that the project was simply no longer one that Russia could afford.
"I think they overplayed their ability to offer material financial incentives to the political elite here," argues Ilian Vassilev, an energy specialist and former Bulgarian ambassador in Moscow.
"And when you see President Putin diverting Russia eastward into some uncharted waters, I think they have lost their ability to change the course of Bulgarian politics and history too."Shared destiny
But local links with Russia run deep - whether it be the influence of Russian business, or the thousands of Russian citizens who own second homes along the shores of the Black Sea.
And there's something more - a shared cultural heritage.
Mass at St Nicholas church in the centre of Varna is pretty sparsely attended, but the Orthodox roots run deep.
"A lot of people in Bulgaria don't identify with the values of Western Europe," says the local priest Father Vassilij Shagan.
"So they look east to Russia. It's not about Vladimir Putin or Russian politics, but Bulgarians and Russians have a lot in common."
All of which makes a dispute about the fate of a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline rather more complex.
Even here in Varna, South Stream always felt more like a political project than a viable economic one.
But the game is not yet over, and the last twelve months have changed calculations across Eastern Europe.
The EU says Russia is no longer a strategic partner; instead it is a strategic problem.
And the Black Sea coast feels like another front line.
16 December 2014 Last updated at 00:01
Taking stock: Tech to thwart retail's worst miscreants
Rebecca Minkoff is a very busy woman. And like all successful fashion designers she likes to be at least a few steps ahead of the rest of us.
So it's not surprising her first flagship store - in the heart of Soho, New York City - is a cleverly concealed mix of bricks and bandwidth.
A partnership with eBay means that shoppers can log on in the shop via a giant interactive screen, to make a wish list of items.
Once in the changing room, the shopper can also communicate digitally with tablet-carrying sales associates, who then bring over requested clothes in different sizes and colours.
Once a decision has been made the guest can then pay for merchandise without ever standing in a queue or seeing a cash register.
Rebecca loves the idea of providing her customers with a physical shopping experience that brings with it all the best bits from an online world that her younger customers crave.
But as it turns out her new way of doing business might also help solve a major problem that plagues a lot of high street business owners - theft.Tag it
To enable the customer care aspect of her boutique, every item has an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip embedded in the price tag.
So the in-store system can track the location of every shoe, skirt and handbag within the four walls, including the row of changing rooms which have been painted with a special surface to prevent radio signals becoming cross contaminated.
Of course, currently anyone can decapitate a tag in seconds, but Ms Minkoff says the shop is just one step away from a foolproof method of preventing "shrinkage", as the loss of products is known in retailing.
"Today, they could [walk out of the door with the item] because there is a [removable] tag on this, but our next goal once a back end issue is solved, is embedding them in the clothes, bags and shoes and it will become a security device," she says.
Another problem in the fashion world and retailing as a whole is fraudulent returns.
Only 1% of shoppers do it, but it added up to $16.3bn in the US alone in 2013 according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). And it's getting worse.
One trick known as "wardrobing", played out countless times especially around this time of year, is to buy a cocktail dress, wear it once, look absolutely stunning for a couple of hours, then return it the next day.
So now lots of shops put the tag in a prominent position on the garment that's super inconvenient for anyone to hide when taking the dress to a one-and-done style event.
Managers are also getting stricter about their return policies. Accidentally rip the tag off or lose the receipt? Too bad.We are watching
That of course is a pretty low tech solution.
That's where The Retail Equation (TRE) comes in.
It is not an organisation that US shoppers know much about, except maybe "returnaholics", and its clients are kept top secret.
But the way it works is that a network of shops share information about people who mimic the behaviour of "serial returners".
These are people who may, for example, buy a top-of-the-line TV just before the Superbowl and keep it for less than 24 hours every year.
The information collected from individuals may vary from state to state, and the return policies differ from shop to shop, so a sophisticated algorithm is needed to identify possible abuses.
Tom Rittman, vice president of marketing for The Retail Equation, points out that a refused return is therefore an objective result made by a computer, allowing even the most subjective cashier to be removed from the decision making process.
"The factors that Verify-3 (the name of the system) may use for a given retailer include the frequency of returns, return dollar amounts, whether the return is receipted or non-receipted and purchase history," he says.
"Verify does not use other factors in authorising returns such as age, gender, race, nationality, physical characteristics or marital status."Faking it
Another enterprise where a complete crackdown has long seemed elusive is the art of counterfeiting.
But in a few years it's possible that many products, especially high end ones, will feature a logo or pattern created using nanotechnology.
The result is impossible to see with the naked eye, as it's a tiny fraction of the size of a pin head.
The logo or design is stamped onto a surface such as paper, glass, metal or precious stones in such a way that particles are held in place by the natural surface tension of water.
Fluorescent spheres which give out red, blue and green light can also be used to create patterns.
Dr Heiko Wolf, a physicist at IBM Research in Zurich, claims it would be daunting for even the cleverest counterfeiter to replicate the technology.
That pleases many high end manufacturers, who are constantly on the look out for ways to hold on to their intellectual property.
"Yes, several have been in touch, in most cases they need the technique to print faster, which requires more research and investment," he says.
"The other challenge for them is how they can read the nano patterns at a retail location or at customs controls, so they would need to invest in optical detection instruments."
Some companies have high hopes for the technology after seeing 3D holograms and an endless array of other anti counterfeit measures beaten over time.
15 December 2014 Last updated at 00:37
Victims of a craze for cosmetic surgery
You can't avoid the adverts. Everywhere you go in Seoul, you are urged to change your shape through plastic surgery. In affluent Gangnam, every wall seems to have a sign pointing to a surgery.
On the train and in the street, you're told you can "bring your face to life". "Facial contouring" is on offer - "breast surgery", "anti-ageing", "eyeplasty", "body contouring". There is "square jaw reduction" (mainly, the adverts imply, for men). Or transforming your face "from saggy and loose to elastic and dimensional", targeted mostly at women.
One acquaintance of mine complains that her chin becomes painful when it rains. And then it emerges that she went into the surgery for a nose job but got persuaded - or persuaded herself - that it was her chin that really needed its contours changing. The result: a more shapely chin that is also a more painful chin. Despite that, she is now intent on breast enlargement.
In this country, parents tell me that they give their teenage daughters a present of what's called "double eyelid surgery" which makes eyes more pronounced - "less Asian" is the truth of it. Why, I wonder, when Korean eyes seem so beautiful the way they are?
The retort that blares from the adverts on the train is that "confidence in appearance brings positive energy which can be the foundation of happiness". Happiness - so easily found at the cut of a knife!
Except that, of course, it's not. There is now a backlash, a slew of court cases where patients - or victims as they might be known - are suing doctors who re-arranged their faces, but not in a good way. One victim said when the bandages came off: "This is not a human face. It is more revolting than monsters or aliens."
Part of the problem is that plastic surgery is so lucrative that unqualified doctors have been drawn in - or rather doctors qualified in other areas of quite different medicine. It's alleged that procedures have been done by what are called "ghost doctors". In one court case, it's claimed that the advertised doctor slipped out of the operating room once the patient was under the anaesthetic and the job was then botched by the replacement surgeon.
On top of that, it's emerged that some before-and-after photos have had a bit of surgery themselves - surgery of the Photoshop variety.
The upshot is that the Korean Association of Plastic Surgeons has called for tighter rules for doctors and for advertisers. They fear that the bad publicity is damaging the reputation of an industry which is largely well-run.
But they're fighting against the tide. Plastic surgery is very profitable, even with prices that undercut the US and Europe. One of the big businesses in Gangnam, here in Seoul, prices "eye-shape correction" at 1.7m Korean Won. That's about £1,000 ($1,500) for a 30-minute, simple procedure. It rises to 12m Won for a "full-incision face lift" - that's about £7,000 ($11,000).South Korea plastic surgery
In response to a survey of 1,000 patients, run by the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA):
- 70% of those questioned said they had a surgical procedure to improve their looks, and 14.5% said they believed it boosted their prospects for employment or promotion
- The most popular procedure was the "double-eyelid surgery" - 67.8% of respondents said they undergone the procedure
- 32.3% of those asked responded that the results of their procedures were "unsatisfactory"
Source: Wall Street Journal, Korea Times
Translation is increasingly needed. There's a big market with a similar sense of vanity right on Korea's doorstep: China. According to the reputable Joongang Daily here, two-thirds of the foreigners who came for plastic surgery to South Korea last year were from China, more than 16,000 customers. The press here says that some of the procedures have been so radical - so successful - that passport officials have not believed it's the same person holding the passport.
But maybe Chinese people who aspire to film-star beauty or, for that matter, South Korean parents who think they can improve their daughters through the surgeon's knife should reflect on one horror story going through the courts.
A former beauty queen here had breast enhancement which went horribly wrong. After a series of infections, she ended up with one breast much bigger than the other.
She blames doctors for the medical failure but also for never saying to her: "Look, you don't need this." "Plastic surgery is like an addiction," she said. "If you do the eyes, you want the nose.
"And doctors don't say, 'You're beautiful enough as you are.'"
Posted: Aug 31, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Sep 01, 2014 12:37 AM
By Sophia Harris, CBC News ET
Health Canada pulling last of citronella-based bug sprays
Health Canada ban confuses scientists who found citronella 'basically safe'
Health Canada is pulling the last of citronella-based bug sprays off the shelves by the end of December because of "the absence of adequate safety data.” The essential oil has been used as an insect repellent in Canada for decades.
The move has left scientists who advised Health Canada on the issue befuddled by the ban. So are many consumers who prefer natural bug sprays over ones with synthetic chemicals like DEET.'It's the basis of the ban that I don't really understand'- Sam Kacew, Toxicologist
Insect repellents are considered pesticides so they must meet strict safety standards. In 2004, Health Canada proposed phasing out citronella-based bug sprays because of new questions about its safety.
Small manufacturers who couldn't afford to submit detailed safety data saw their lines discontinued at the end of 2012. Those who submitted what data they could and tried to challenge the ban are now to see their products phased out at the end of this year.
In 2005, Kacew sat on an independent scientific panel to review Health Canada’s position. He says the panel believed the study that led the government to question citronella’s safety was flawed, in part because it examined what happened when rodents ingested the oil. “Humans are not going to drink citronella,” he says.
The department told CBC that “the panel supported Health Canada’s approach,” but Kacew refutes that. He says the team of scientists concluded that citronella was safe as long as it didn't contain methyl eugenol, an impurity that could be a potential carcinogen. “In general, most of these citronella oils that were available for us to examine did not contain impurities, and they were regarded by us to be basically safe,” he says.
Companies pay the price
Montreal company, Druide, has been selling government-approved citronella sprays and lotions since 1995.
“Where I am very sad is, in the end, [Health Canada] doesn’t have anything against citronella, except questions about it,” says Druide’s owner, Alain Renaud.
He says he spent five years proving to Health Canada that his repellent didn’t contain methyl eugenol.
But Renaud says that as soon as he won that battle the government "came back and said we still have questions and we need a complete toxicological report on many generations of animals.”
That may be a standard approach, but Renaud eventually gave up his fight because his company doesn't believe in animal testing, and didn’t have the estimated $1 million needed to fund a large-scale scientific study.
Druide's citronella-based bug spray was a bestseller for the company, which manufactures organic personal care products.
Renaud says he’s had to lay off five employees because of the ban and has lost up to a million dollars spent on marketing his product and providing research for Health Canada. “At the end of maybe, five, 10 years of fighting, [Heath Canada] gets all our energy,” he says.
DEET passed Health Canada’s scrutiny because the manufacturers provided the required safety data. But citronella — an extract from lemon grass — has never been patented, which makes it an unattractive investment for costly studies.
“If the market was such that this product was generating millions of dollars, then the industry would have done something re-active to try and get [citronella] back on the market,” said Kacew.
That’s the problem with other essential oils as well. They may be effective as bug repellents, but no one has yet funded the studies to prove they’re safe.
DIY bug spray
Tracey TieF made and sold a natural bug spray with essential oils including lavender and rosemary for seven years before Health Canada shut her down recently.
The problem was that she hadn’t registered her product and done any safety studies.
“I can’t afford to run my own trial,” says the certified health practitioner. “I feel afraid and I feel sick about it, actually, because for me, this is a passion.”
TieF now puts that passion into teaching others how to make natural bug sprays. In a tiny room at Karma Co-op in Toronto, she passes out bottles, essential oils and recipes. “I’ll teach people until [Health Canada] stops me,” she vows.
Aimee Alabaster says she joined the class because she wants a natural bug spray for her children. “Everything out there for the most part contains DEET, and I don’t want to put DEET on my kids.”
Research has suggested DEET could be harmful to the central nervous system. But Health Canada states on its website that “registered insect repellents containing DEET can be used safely when applied as directed.”
Come 2015, citronella bug sprays won’t be entirely out of reach, you will just have to cross the border. The product will still be available in the U.S.
16 December 2014 Last updated at 02:21
Brazil Olympics: Super-bacteria found in Rio sea waters
Researchers in Brazil have discovered drug-resistant bacteria in the sea waters where sailing and windsurfing events will be held during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The "super-bacteria" are usually found in hospital waste and produce an enzyme, KPC, resistant to antibiotics.
Researchers found the bacteria in samples taken from Flamengo beach.
Nearly 70% of sewage in Rio - a city of some 10 million people - is spilled raw into the waters of Guanabara Bay.
The bacteria were found in samples taken from several locations along the Carioca river.
One sample was found at the point where the river flows into the bay on Flamengo beach.
Residents have been told to take extra care. Flamengo beach is frequently declared unfit for swimming, but many people disregard the official warnings.
'Not completely clean'
The superbug can cause urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections.
"The problem is that in case of infection it is possible that treatment involves hospitalisation," said Ana Paula D'Alincourt Carvalho Assef, the study coordinator at Rio's renowned Oswaldo Cruz Institute.
"Since the super-bacteria are resistant to the most modern medications, doctors need to rely on drugs that are rarely used because they are toxic to the organism," she told the AP news agency.
In its Olympic bid, Rio promised to reduce pollution in Guanabara Bay by 80%.
But in June Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes admitted the target would not be met.
"I am sorry that we did not use the games to get Guanabara Bay completely clean," said Mr Paes.
The authorities say they understand athletes' concerns but insist that water pollution will not pose a major health risk during the Olympics, which will be held in August 2016.
16 December 2014 Last updated at 08:07
Why do Americans love ancient grains?
Would you like to taste the health-giving grain found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun? Or feast on the unprocessed kernels said to have been stored on the ark by Noah? Or how about a vodka made from traditionally farmed Bolivian quinoa? If any of this whets your appetite, you are not alone.
In the past five years there has been an explosion in popularity of so-called "ancient grains" in the American food market.
There is no comprehensive list of "ancient" grains, but the category is generally agreed to include amaranth, barley, bulgur, buckwheat, kamut, millet, spelt, teff and quinoa.
Many of these grains - Bolivian quinoa and Ethiopian teff, for example - have been planted and harvested in the same way for thousands of years.
"It's been a positive perfect storm for these ancient grains," says Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutritional strategies at the non-profit organisation, the Whole Grain Council.
"They fit with our desire to look for a super-food, a magic bullet we should be eating," she says.
Ancient grains are perceived as the opposite of modern wheat, which is the descendant of three ancient strains of wheat - spelt, einkorn and emmer - and often heavily refined.
They are seen as more healthy, more natural and better for us, providing more vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein than modern wheat - partly because they are rarely eaten in processed form.
• Amaranth - a grain, used by the Aztecs, which is both gluten and wheat-free and is a source of vitamin C
• Barley - an excellent source of fibre, manganese, selenium, and thiamine
• Bulgur - a quick-cooking form of whole wheat which is high in manganese
• Kamut - has a nutty flavour and is high in fibre, protein and several minerals, including selenium and manganese.
• Millet - a small, whole grain is a staple in many Asian and African countries but thought of mostly as bird food in the United States
• Spelt - commonly eaten in medieval times, spelt is part of the wheat family and is high in protein and fibre
• Teff - common in Ethiopia, this grain has the highest calcium content
• Quinoa - perhaps the best known ancient grain, quinoa is a complete protein since it has all nine essential amino acids
Source: Today's Dietitian
Many of the grains are also gluten-free, or at least low in gluten, tapping into a growing demand from consumers.
Part of the popularity of these grains are the stories that surround them, says Harriman.
"We're drawn to the idea that kamut comes from King Tutankhamun's tomb, the story draws our attention," she says.
"It's a revolt against processed food. It's the opposite of modern."
Other nutritionists agree.
"Aztec, Indian, African," says Vandana Sheth, nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"People might be more interested in trying these grains because of their place of origin, history and the culture," she says.
One of the first references to ancient grains as a health food was in an article in the New York Daily News in 1996.
Since then they have seen a steady surge in popularity, with a huge increase in consumption over the past five years, particularly in the last year.
According to figures released by the US Whole Grains Council, sales of kamut rose 686% in the year from July 2013, while sales of spelt rose by 363% and amaranth by 123% - all, admittedly, from a low base.
Such growth figures have spurred the processed food industry to take notice, especially against a backdrop of falling sales of breakfast cereals.
"In the past year ancient grains saw a 50% growth across all categories, and a 44% growth in the cereal category," says Alan Cunningham, marketing manager for new products for the food giant General Mills.
The company has announced it will be launching a new line of its successful breakfast cereal, Cheerios, with ancient grains next year.
"It's a way to bring this product into the mainstream," Cunningham says.
"Consumers may feel that the barrier to eating ancient grains is that they're not convenient, so we figured a way to deliver them in a bowl of cereal."
But this will also mean including five times as much sugar as in the original Cheerios recipe - 5g of sugar per 28g serving, instead of just 1g - though, as Cunningham points out, about half as much as in the company's best seller, Honey Nut Cheerios.
"We feel great about the health profile of this Cheerios," he says.
But the addition of sugar and heavy processing has led some to accuse companies like General Mills of cynically making money from the "health halo" surrounding ancient grains.
"Like any grain they can be used in a healthy or unhealthy way," says Hemi Weingarten, founder and CEO of the food blog site Fooducate.
"The gullible consumer is going to buy more if it sounds healthy," he says.
Nutritionists argue that consumers should look at carefully at nutrition labels before buying processed food, to check for the amount of whole grains, and of added ingredients, such as sugar.
"I have heard industry analysts talking about taking advantage of the ancient grains trend," says nutritionist Cynthia Harriman.
"With ancient grains on the label, you could increase the price by 50-300%," she says.
The main barrier standing in the way of incorporating more ancient grains into the American diet is a shortage in supply.
There are also concerns that the exploding market for the grains could have an adverse effect on populations that have eaten them for centuries, the quinoa-growers of Bolivia, for example.
But experts do not see this as a passing fad.
"By incorporating ancient grains, we'll benefit by not only getting more whole grains but enjoying a wider array of flavours, textures and nutritional profiles," says Vandana Sheth.
"Although they are currently thought of as a hot trend, I believe that ancient grains are here to stay."