Saturday, May 16, 2009

Good News from Frito-Lay, Cancer Research Grants; Bad News about Poverty in PA

Hello World Family,
What a busy week it has been! Falcon has a variety of stories for you this weekend.
Good news for chips, bad news for PA; research money for Pancreatic Cancer. Read and enjoy! Oh, there have been some updates in previous posts, so make sure you check them out. Have a fantastic weekend!

Falcon and Dove

Frito-Lay Introduces Compostable Snack Chip Bag

Frito-Lay’s popular line of multigrain snacks, announced today that in 2010 it will introduce the first fully compostable snack chip bag made from plant-based materials. The change is designed to significantly improve the environmental impact of its packaging.
This month, the SunChips brand is taking the first step towards this transformational packaging. The outer layer of packaging on 10 ½ oz size SunChips snacks bags will be made with a compostable, plant-based renewable material, polylactic acid (PLA). By Earth Day 2010, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division plans to rollout a package for its SunChips snacks where all layers are made from PLA material so the package is 100% compostable.
“We know environmentally-friendly packaging is a priority for our SunChips consumer,” said Gannon Jones, vice president, marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “Today’s launch of packaging made with 1/3 renewable materials is an important first step towards having a fully compostable chip bag in market by Earth Day 2010.”
Current snack food packaging has three layers: a printed outer layer with packaging visuals/graphics, an inner layer, which serves as a barrier to maintain the quality and integrity of the product, and a middle layer that joins the other two layers. When the packaging is 100% compostable, it will fully decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost pile or bin. NatureWorks LLC is providing the PLA, which is trademarked under the Ingeo name.
“Packaging is clearly the most visible interaction consumers have with Frito-Lay’s brands,” said Jay Gehring, vice president, packaging R&D, Frito-Lay North America. “To make packaging that would interact differently in the environment we had to change the composition of packaging and invent key technologies. Using plant-based renewable materials, we have a promising solution that will transform packaging and significantly impact the billions of snack food bags produced annually.”
Once the 100% compostable bag is introduced, the company anticipates the switch will lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the production of the packaging and the elimination of petroleum-based packaging material.
Over the past few years, Frito-Lay’s packaging initiatives have made some significant strides. This includes reducing the amount of plastic in packaging by 10% over the last five years, and thereby eliminating 12 million pounds of materials annually used to make the snack bags. In addition, Frito-Lay will be the first snack food company to fund the collection and upcycling of its used packaging through a program in conjunction with TerraCycle.
To inform consumers about the new packaging initiatives, the brand will be communicating through traditional marketing efforts, including print, TV and digital advertising. As part of the current packaging change, the front panel of the current 10 ½ oz size SunChips package features a callout, “Renewable materials make up 33% of this bag.” To communicate the next improvement, the digital strategy includes a video showing how the bag decomposes over 14 weeks. Also, samples of the 100% compostable material will be distributed at major retailers across the country and as part of a special People magazine ad.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Research Grants

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network combines its push for increased federal research funding with direct research support of Fellowships/Young Investigator Awards, Career Development Awards, and Pilot Grants for pancreatic cancer research through a peer-reviewed grant system.

Fellowship Award: One-year grant totaling $45,000 that is awarded to a postdoctoral or clinical research fellow at an academic facility, teaching hospital or research institution who is sponsored by a mentor. The intent of the award is to attract young scientists to a career in pancreatic cancer research.

Career Development Award: Two-year grants totaling $100,000 per award that are provided to junior faculty at academic and medical institutions. The intent of these grants is to support and encourage young scientists to establish a career path in the field of pancreatic cancer research.

Pilot Grant: Two-year grants totaling $100,000 - $200,000 per award that support innovative research in pancreatic cancer. This research may be basic, translational, or clinical in nature. Particular consideration is given to projects that are non-duplicative and have the potential for national application.

In 2009, nine grants were awarded, totaling $1.2 million in research funding. This year’s portfolio includes three Fellowship Awards, two Career Development Awards, and four Pilot Grants. Collectively, these grants support junior and senior scientists and provide funding for research in diverse fields of inquiry, including: the origin and causes of pancreatic cancer; the biology of the disease, including underlying physiological and biochemical processes; discoveries in detection, staging and diagnosis; and novel therapeutic strategies.

Since introducing the Research Grants Program in 2003, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has provided nearly $5 million in funding for research. This includes nine Fellowship/Young Investigator Awards, 25 Career Development Awards, and 13 Pilot Grants.
2009 Grant Recipients
Fellowship Awards
Philippe Foubert, PhD
Eric Humke, MD, PhD
David Ting, MD
Career Development Awards
Maxence Nachury, PhD
Marina Pasca di Magliano, PhD
Pilot Grants
Qingshen Gao, MD
Brian Lewis, PhD
Jiayuh Lin, PhD
Kapil Mehta, PhD

FALCON and DOVE say kudos to these fine winners!

Poverty In Pennsylvania, new report

One in Four Pennsylvania Families with Young Children Can't Afford Basics

A surprising 535,000 Pennsylvanians live in working families that have one to three children under age 12 and do not earn enough to pay for basic necessities such as food, housing, child care and health care. Even in this period of national prosperity, that is 24 percent of such families, roughly one out of every four.
"Hardships in America: The Real Story of Working Families", released yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC and analyzed by Pennsylvania’s Keystone Research Center, shows that the majority of families that can’t afford basic necessities are two parent families, often with one or more workers, and for the most part earning incomes above the official federal poverty level.
The report examines the cost of living in every community nationwide and determines separate basic family budgets for each community.

In Pennsylvania, basic family budgets for a two-parent, two-child family range from $33,193 in Erie, to $39,312 in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. In all of Pennsylvania’s communities, two-parent two-child family budgets are within range of the national median of $33,511, which is roughly twice the official federal poverty line of $17,463 for such a family.

"The official poverty line is a grossly outdated yardstick of what’s needed to keep a family afloat, as this report powerfully shows," says Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center. "Families need to be well above the poverty line to cover the cost of the basics." Nationally, two-and-half times more families fall below basic family budget levels than below the federal poverty line, according to EPI.

The report documents the kinds of hardships faced by these low-income families
Nearly one-third of families with incomes below twice the poverty threshold -- a close proxy for the basic family budget level -- faced at least one "critical hardship," such as going without food, getting evicted or having to "double up" in housing with another family, or not having access to medical care during an acute illness.

Nearly three-quarters of families below twice the poverty threshold faced at least one "serious hardship," like worrying about food, failing to pay rent, using the emergency room as their main source of health care, having the telephone disconnected, or having children in inadequate child care arrangements.
Food insufficiency is the most common hardship. Eighteen percent of families below twice the poverty line missed meals involuntarily. Forty percent worried about having enough food to keep from going hungry. For single-parent families, food insecurities were experienced at rates of 23 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
Of families with incomes below basic budget levels,

• half include a parent who works full-time;
• nearly 60 percent are two-parent families;
• more than three-quarters are headed by a worker with a high school degree or more; nearly half are headed by a worker over the age of thirty; and
• about one-third live in the suburbs, one-third live in cities, and one-third live in rural areas.

"Our safety net is full of holes," says KRC Research Fellow David Bradley. "We phase working families out of supports for health care, child care, housing and other basic necessities well before they can afford them on their own."

"Work alone doesn’t ensure a decent standard of living," said Heather Boushey, an EPI economist and lead author of the study. "This report provides strong evidence of the need for policies that strengthen our social safety net and boost wages."
The EPI report includes policy proposals for raising the earnings of low-income and poor families, including a minimum wage hike, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, more comprehensive job training programs, and stronger pay equity policies that help to ensure that women are paid as much as men.

Policies to boost income, however, are only part of a plan to ensure that all American families can afford a safe and decent standard of living, according to the report. Families that earn enough income to be ineligible for Medicaid, for example, are still often unable to afford private health insurance. These experiences indicate that Americans at all income levels need a stronger social safety net, including:

Universal health insurance.
Families that lack private health insurance are far more likely to face other kinds of hardships. They are over twice as likely to miss meals and fail to pay housing or utility bills, even after accounting for income. The problem becomes a cycle when, for example, poor nutrition leads to other health problems.

Federally funded child care for children of all ages.

Families at all income levels have a hard time finding day care centers with the adult-to-child ratio recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 49 states, child care costs are greater than the tuition to public colleges.
Affordable housing and economic development. Affordable homes must be closer to work. One way to accomplish this is through "transit lead development," where mixed-use, high-density developments are built near transit hubs. Increased funds for affordable housing should also be made available, since national housing policy is biased in favor of middle-income homeowners.

"Even high school graduates working full time may not be able to support a family," said Boushey. "If the American Dream is to become a reality for all Americans, then there is a role for government in helping working families meet their basic needs."
The Keystone Research Center is a Harrisburg-based research and policy center dedicated to improving economic performance and economic opportunity in Pennsylvania.
20% of the 3.4 million households lack income to meet basic needs

6% receive public cash assistance

75% spend more than 30% of their income on housing

Fayette and Somerset counties hardest hit

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