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Arizona launches three new Rickeys beverage flavors

BY Jason Owen

WOODBURY, N.Y. — Arizona Beverages is adding three new Rickeys flavors, a beverage that combines a balance of sweet fruit and tart lime inspired by the Brooklyn original soda fountain novelty, the company announced this week.

The three new Rickeys flavors include: Mango Lime, Grape Lime and Lemon Lime Rickey. These flavors join Cherry Lime, an immensely popular drink, according to the company.

The new drinks contain 10% juice and only 70 calories per serving.

The line is easily identifiable on shelves with Cherry Lime Rickeys 20th Anniversary Design, created by contest winner Kenny Vidinich. The Lime Rickeys will be available nationwide with a suggested retail price of $.99 – $1.25 per 23-ounce can.


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CVS Caremark’s integrated model continues to prove successful in Q1 results

BY Antoinette Alexander

CVS Caremark executives were upbeat during last week’s conference call with analysts, as the company pulled in a “strong” first quarter and narrowed its 2013 guidance to reflect higher-than-expected performance.

The positive start to 2013 is important as it further demonstrates that CVS Caremark’s distinctive, integrated healthcare model is resonating and spelling success for this pharmacy innovation company.

“While CVS merely narrowed full year guidance despite the 1Q13 EPS beat, we remain confident that guidance will still prove conservative, as Maintenance Choice, ExtraCare, Pharmacy Advisor and MinuteClinic drive growth. CVS is on Citi’s Top Picks Live! list,” stated Citi Research analyst Deborah Weinswig in a research note.

During the conference call, CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo told analysts that it recently completed its client advisory forum, which represented an opportunity to spend time with about 800 clients. What did their clients have to say?

“Obviously, they are very focused on the implementation and administration of the changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act, while continuing to look for innovative ways to both lower costs and improve outcomes. And with our integrated breadth of assets across retail pharmacy, where we interact with five million customers a day, our PBM, as well as our MinuteClinics, we can engage with patients through our unique clinical programs to help drive better outcomes. And we are very well aligned with the goals of health reform and well-positioned to be an important part of the solution,” Merlo told analysts.

In fact, CVS Caremark saved clients more than $643 million in 2012 in their overall healthcare spend due to improved medication adherence for chronic conditions, and its Maintenance Choice and Pharmacy Advisor programs contributed to the improved adherence rates and cost savings.

Meanwhile, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield announced early last week that it has entered into a three-year agreement with CVS Caremark to provide pharmacy benefits and other related services to its commercial and Medicare Part D members — 1.1 million CareFirst members, to be exact.

It is also important to note that the MinuteClinic business is increasingly playing a vital role as it develops wellness programs and programs aimed at monitoring clients with chronic conditions.

During the company’s Annual Analyst Day meeting in December, it was noted that non-acute services account for 16% of total MinuteClinic visits. Over the last three years, its non-acute services have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 41%, Andrew Sussman, SVP and associate chief medical officer of CVS Caremark and president of MinuteClinic, told analysts in December.

During its 2011 Annual Analyst Day meeting, Merlo talked about “innovation with a purpose — a purpose that defines why we exist as an organization.”

CVS Caremark is indeed innovating with a purpose — and it is resonating with clients and customers.
 

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Hain Celestial buys Ella’s Kitchen

BY Alaric DeArment

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. — Hain Celestial Group, the company that makes Celestial Seasonings tea and other products, has purchased organic baby food company Ella’s Kitchen Group, the company said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company said Ella’s had $70 million in sales last year. The company markets its products in the United States, United Kingdom and Scandinavia, offering 80 products for babies, toddlers and small children. In addition, Ella’s founder Paul Lindley will become CEO of Hain Celestial US’s new Global Infant, Toddler and Kids Division.

"We plan to grow Ella’s Kitchen brand by leveraging our distribution platform in the European Union and the United States with the addition of Ella’s Kitchen organic baby food product offerings," Hain Celestial president and CEO Irwin Simon said. "We also see the opportunity to expand in the UK market with new feeding and personal care products under the Ella’s Kitchen brand."

 

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