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Curbside pickup, grocery delivery, and Zoom meetings became the norm for the many who stayed home at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses looked for ways to survive during quarantine. But how many of those changes are here to stay?
"I am actually not seeing many pandemic practices that are here to stay for business," James Schrager, a clinical professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, told VOA in an email ahead of an interview. "As we track in-person retail, it is booming. Flying is wildly busy. People want in-person instruction in classes," Schrager says. "Food delivery isn't growing, it is shrinking, and most realize it wasn't a profitable business for grocery retailers. People are glad to go back to see their doctors for routine check-ups. The snap-back to normal is almost complete and even cruise ships are starting to get booked."
But other COVID-19 changes may be more lasting. A study conducted by the business advisory firm BDO Digital shows that the pandemic forced businesses to pivot to digital, with 90% of middle-market organizations planning to maintain or increase their digital spending in 2021 and 53% planning to train their workforce to improve their digital fluency. One lasting pandemic change, according to Schrager, is the so-called Zoom effect, the use of online meeting platforms.
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"Last week, I had a meeting with a wonderful colleague in Italy on Zoom that was just beyond compare, that was free for both of us," he says. "He was in Italy. I'm right here in Indiana. Couldn't do that before — I mean, I could, but in practice, nobody taught me." More companies might be swiveling to digital, but that doesn't mean average Americans are following businesses' lead. In the first four months of 2021, online sales accounted for 13.6% of total sales. That number has increased by about 1% per year over the past decade. During the pandemic, that number increased more than 2%, but it is already coming down to pre-pandemic levels, Schrager said.
"When people couldn't go into the store, they used it (online shopping). The minute they could go into the store, we're back at it," he says. "So, the big takeaway is bricks-and-mortar retail has just taken another big experiment to show that they are not going away. People love to go out and love to shop. … Americans love the way they shop, always have." But the focus on convenience will remain, whether shopping is done online or in stores. "Buy completely online, buy completely in-store, two polar opposites," says Robert Brown, managing director at BDO Digital. "However, if you want to buy online and pick up in-store, or buy in-store and set up a return online, or have a curbside pickup, I think what you're seeing is a change to the way that these businesses have had to come out of chaos too, now, interesting new models that create these new experiences."
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And although it might not be visible to the consumer, a lasting impact of the pandemic could be that some storefronts will act as distribution centers. "If I buy online and pick it up ... like in the restaurant industry, I can buy that burger, but it's actually being made by a ghost kitchen down the street, so that original restaurant that had a storefront is now actually making food for the branded storefronts that remain in place," Brown says. "So, we're actually seeing the shift, in some cases, of industries becoming wholesalers, if you will, instead of retailers in their brick-and-mortar operations."
Schrager believes food delivery services will continue pretty much as they were before the pandemic because bringing your goods to the customer is always more costly than having the customer come to you. Once restaurants are filling up again, losing profits to delivery apps becomes less attractive, he says. Ultimately, he says, the pandemic will not have a great impact on how we shop, eat out or generally live life. "The Zoom, I think, is a big deal, and the curbside pickup is a nice thing. But yeah, if we follow the numbers on online versus retail, (the pandemic was) just a blip," Schrager says. (VOA/JC)
By Monika Manchanda
Eating fruits is one of the most satisfying ways to tackle sweet-tooth cravings while meeting your nutritional needs. Despite many studies and research on fruit consumption in diabetes, there are a lot of speculations on the right kind of fruit consumption and its relation to blood sugar levels.
Eating seasonal and locally available fruit has many health benefits ranging from reducing sugar and inflammation levels to fighting high blood pressure -- thanks to their abundant vitamins and mineral presence! They are a powerhouse of antioxidants like vitamins A, B, C, E, and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and fiber.
The fruits listed below are not just diabetic-friendly but are loaded with fiber and water content which can slow down the sugar spikes and sugar absorption rate. Apples are not just nutritious and filling; According to a study, they are significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes if consumed in moderation. Turns out there is a truth in the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", after all!
Apples are not just nutritious and filling; According to a study, they are significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes if consumed in moderation. | Photo by Pierpaolo Riondato on Unsplash
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. They are high in fibers as well, and have been linked with lowering the risk of diabetes. Berries: Adding berries is one of the best ways to add a variety to your diabetes-friendly diet. You can choose from blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries because all of them are power-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fibers. Papaya is rich in natural oxidants, which makes it a perfect pick for people with diabetes. It reduces the chances of future cell damage.
Star fruit: This sweet and sour fruit is rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C. It also positively impacts anti-inflammatory processes and can help repair cell damage, and it has minimal fruit sugars as well. Kiwi fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin E, K, and potassium, and they are low in fruit sugars as well, which makes it a perfect diabetic-friendly fruit.
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and more than 20 vitamins and minerals. | Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash
Melons (Musk melon and watermelon): Powerful hydrating fruits like cantaloupe and melons are recommended for people with diabetes, and people with the risk of developing diabetes. Eat-in moderation for multiple nutritional benefits like fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B, and C. Dragon fruit is full of dietary fibers, vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Pear are nutrient-rich, and they are known to fight inflammation and improve digestion.? Studies also suggest that consuming pears along with a healthy diet reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Orange: This citrus fruit is full of fiber that helps slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream, and its vitamin C component helps improve immunity levels.
Add fruit to your salads to enjoy their goodness with a sprinkle of cinnamon, it tastes better and reduces sugar spikes . | Photo by Jo Sonn on Unsplash
Add fruit to your salads to enjoy their goodness with a sprinkle of cinnamon, it tastes better and reduces sugar spikes . Add nuts like walnuts and almonds to complement your fruit snack. you can also add flaxseeds to balance the glycemic load in the body. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Diabetics, Apples, Star fruit, Pear, Melons, Kiwi fruit
By Nimerta C Sharan
Your monthly round up of the latest lifestyle launches, from luxury indulgences to artisanal creations, here's what you can look forward to :
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags 'Artycapucines - Chapter 3'. Six internationally -- acclaimed artists have transformed the black canvas of the timeless Capucines bag into beautiful art pieces. Each bag will be available in a limited edition of 200 and will be released worldwide at the end of October 2021.
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags. | Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Add To Cart
Looking for a quick festive fashion fix for you and your loved ones? E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. The shopping platform has roped in stylista Sonam Kapoor as the face of the sale that will offer more than 2500 brands at discounted prices.
E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. | Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash
The country's leading design house, Good Earth, in collaboration with textile designer Madeline Weinrib will present its collection of 'butah' motif dinnerware and home textiles at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York. The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe.
The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe. | Photo by Jean Vella on Unsplash
Sweet dreams are made of this! Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. Spread over three floors, the bakery currently has twelve macaron flavours, their signature pastries and tea cakes and other brunch and high-tea items on the menu. Bon appetit.
Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. | Pixabay
Bright And Beautiful
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. Inspired by the richness and diversity of Rajasthan, the collection consists of organza and silk saris and shararas, gota lehengas and kurtas and embroidered odhnis. The colours and silhouettes are just right for the upcoming festive season. (IANS/ MBI)
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. | Photo by Souravi Sinha on Unsplash
Keywords: Lifestle, AJIO, sale, Deepika PAdukone, saris, Motifs, artisan, art
Actress Kangana Ranaut has talked about how her weight adjustments for her latest 'Thalaivii' that "messed up many things" in her body and left her with "permanent stretch marks". For her role in the film, based on the life of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and former actress J. Jayalalithaa, Kangana had to gain 20kg and undergo major physical transformation several times.
She took to Instagram to share her experience, detailing that doing all that over the six months period left her with "permanent stretch marks". "Gaining 20 kgs in 6 months and loosing it all within 6 months that too in my thirties messed up many things in my bodya I also have permanent stretch marks as well but art comes to life with a price and more often than not price is the artist him/herself," she wrote.
"Thalaivii" showcases the varied aspects of Jayalalithaa's life, tracing her journey as an actress at a young age to becoming the face of Tamil cinema, as well as the rise of the revolutionary leader who changed the course of the state's politics. Talking about her upcoming works, Kangana currently has 'Dhaakad'.
She is also shooting for her next 'Tejas', where she plays a fighter pilot. The Indian Air Force was the first of the country's defence forces to induct women into combat roles in 2016. The film takes inspiration from the landmark event. 'Tejas' is directed by debutant Sarvesh Mewara. The film will be RSVP's second film which pays a tribute to the Indian military after the immensely successful film "Uri: The Surgical Strike" which was released in January 2019. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kangana Ranaut, Thalaivii, bollywood, stretc marks, actress, tamil cinema