Ocean City beaches top the list of favorites for beachgoers. By Maddy VitaleSo, you think you’re in a happy place? If you’re not in Ocean City, you might not be. “America’s Greatest Family Resort,” with shops and restaurants galore, a 2½-mile Boardwalk, pristine beaches, rides and entertainment, was selected by Coastal Living Magazine as one of 10 “America’s Happiest Seaside Towns” for 2018.“We are so excited to have the opportunity to participate in a contest like this because it recognizes all the fun and the diversity of Ocean City from the beach, to the Boardwalk, to the bay, to the boutiques and restaurants,” said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Ocean City has something for everyone to enjoy.”To choose the 2018 finalists, Coastal Living received nominations through social media. From there, they looked at factors such as percentage of clear or sunny days, clean beaches, commute times, walkability, crime ratings and the financial well-being of locals. The selection also included the Coastal Living editors’ assessment of each town’s “coastal vibe.” Former winners were not considered for the selection. The other towns for 2018 are as follows: Anna Maria, Florida, Bellport, New York, Bluffton, South Carolina, Cambria, California, Cannon Beach, Oregon, Cape Charles, Virginia, Hampton Beach/Hampton, New Hampshire, Traverse City, Michigan, and Vero Beach, Florida. Michele Gillian, Executive Director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, is confident the community is the happiest seaside town.Neither Michele Gillian, Mayor Jay Gillian, nor David Allegretto, president-elect of the Chamber of Commerce, are worried about the competition. After all, in 2016, Ocean City was named “Best Beach in America” in a nationwide online contest by Coastal Living Magazine. “Coastal Living has recognized Ocean City as the best beach in the country two years ago, and now we are in the competition for the happiest town. This says a lot about Ocean City,” Michele Gillian said. “Nationwide, we are the place to go for happy memories. It really tells a lot about Ocean City that we really not only market to people in our coastal area, but beyond.”Mayor Gillian said, “Our success in these polls is a testament to Ocean City’s enduring appeal to generations of residents and guests now spread across the country.”https://www.coastalliving.com/travel/happiest-seaside-townHe continued, “We all feel blessed to live in such a wonderful place and proud that so many visitors share our passion. I encourage everybody to take a minute to vote.”Chamber of Commerce President-Elect Allegretto remarked that as a lifelong resident, with “sand in his shoes,” he certainly hopes Ocean City is voted the top happiest seaside town.“It should be. Where else do you have such great amenities with a downtown so close to the beach?” he asked. “It is truly one of a kind and it is definitely my happy place. I am confident we will be the happiest place.”Surfing, swimming and just lounging, are some favorite ways to take in Ocean City beaches for visitors and locals alike.Michele Gillian said the city offers such a variety of entertainment along with the 100 storefronts and restaurants in the downtown shopping district.And since Ocean City is a dry town, it is a kid-friendly vacation and family spot.“We have attractions, water parks and rides, miniature golf. You get everything,” Gillian added.Not to mention the parades, pageants, plays, swim competitions, charity runs, lifeguard events and other sports competitions. When it comes to what makes Ocean City special, a lot of it has to do with keeping with tradition. People visit the resort because of the different activities it has to offer, but for many, their fondest memories come from experiences on the beaches, the bay and the Boardwalk, Gillian noted.“We realize tradition is a big part of resort memories,” she said. “We stay up on social media, but we also the reasons people come to visit.”The winner will be determined by online voting that opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, and closes at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6. To vote, visit www.coastalliving.com/happytowns2018. Winners will be announced online on June 12.
Out-of-home occasions featuring a savoury bakery item are up 3% compared to Q3 in 2017, new research from analyst MCA has revealed.The insights are part of its Quarterly Bakery & Sandwich Tracker, which also highlights a 1% decrease in the number of sweet bakery occasions to 500 million between July and September. This has been driven by a hefty 6% decline in sweet bakery snacking despite gains at breakfast and dinner.Savoury bakery, meanwhile, gained at every meal time, with breakfast driving the strongest growth with an increase of 15% to 212m occasions.The “significant” decline in total snacking is cause for concern, believes Gareth Nash, consumer insight director at MCA. However, he noted snacking continues to be the most important day-part.“Breakfast and dinner are great opportunities for retailers and operators to maximise bakery sales,” he said. “However, with over 532 million occasions in Q3 2018, they cannot take their eye off the snacking mission and should seek growth opportunities in a declining day-part,” he added.When it comes to specific items, sandwich carriers gained a share of total out-of-home meal and snack visits – up 0.5 percentage points to 26.8%, meaning they appeared on 644 million occasions.Within this, traditional sandwiches and baguettes dropped slightly, while bagels were the “big winner this quarter”, having been bought on more than 50 million visits. Notably, their growth was partly driven by McDonald’s, which now accounts for 35% of all breakfast bagel visits.The report is underpinned by MCA’s Eating Out Panel, which includes 6,000 monthly consumer interviews every year. The sample is representative of UK adults in terms of age, gender and region, and covers every day of the year. The results look at the consumer trends affecting the bakery and sandwich market – purchase behaviours, purchase locations, spend and products.