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Barilla introduces mini pasta aimed at kids

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO Barilla, the popular past-maker, has announced its new petite-sized Barilla Piccolini past line. The pasta is comprised of bite-sized miniatures of traditional pasta shapes.

Piccolini literally means “little ones” in Italian, and was designed with children in mind. The new Piccolini-sized pastas come in four shapes; mini farfalle, mini fusilli, mini penne and mini wheels. They will debut in mass and retail stores across the U.S. The retail price per unit is the same as standard-sized Barilla pastas.

“As the world’s number one pasta maker, Barilla is passionate about bringing families together and teaching children to enjoy wholesome meals at an early age,” president of Barilla America, Kirk Trofholz, said.

Barilla is also launching a storytime promotion, in conjunction with Scholastic books for children. The “Mealtime Magic” promo is an activity book that will appear in the May issue of Scholastic Parent & Child and also at www.scholastic.com. “Barilla and Scholastic strive to teach and inspire children to broaden their understanding of the world around them, such as the spirit of authentic Italian cooking,” Trofholz said.

The Barilla Group owns Barilla, Mulino Bianco, Pavesi, Voiello, and Wasa, among other pasta, whole wheat and grain brands.

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Kraft Foods announces expansion of production plant

BY Adam Kraemer

DOVER, Del. Kraft Foods, the second largest food manufacturer in the world, announced Thursday it is adding 40 jobs and expanding production at its Dover manufacturing plant.

Kraft, the maker of Jell-o gelatins, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Maxwell House coffees, is directing about $40 million towards upgrading its Dover plant to up production of single-serving packets of its popular drink mixes, like Capri Sun, Crystal Light, Country Time, Kool-Aid and Tang.

The State of Delaware has awarded Kraft a $708,000 grant to help grow the 1-million square-foot plant and boost production.

The announcement for expansion comes at a turnaround from a couple of years ago when Kraft was closing manufacturing plants and cutting jobs. Nationwide, the U.S. has seen the loss of hundreds of manufacturing jobs in recent years.

The jobs that Kraft is adding will include operator and mechanic positions on the single-serve drink-mix production line. Kevin Ripley, the plant’s manager, said that the annual salaries of these jobs will be between $35,000 and $45,000. The Dover Kraft plant currently employs 520 people.

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Candy maker announces Baskin-Robbins soft candies to be sold in theatres

BY Jenna Duncan

MOORESVILLE, N.C. BestSweet confection maker has announced that a new line of Baskin-Robbins soft candy will soon be available in boxed form for the movies.

Brand manager, Mark A. Fields, said, “Given the buzz and success we received from the recently launched soft candy products, it was only fitting to also release it in the fun theater box format. We’ve witnessed fantastic growth of the theatre box packaging format across food, drug and mass channels, and with the recent product launch and changes we’ve been making to the line, the timing was perfect for those retailers looking to add unique theatre box items to their candy sets.”

The announcement to release the boxed soft candies was first made at the 2008 Winter Confectionery ECRM event, in Denver, C.O. during the week of Feb. 18 through 22.

The soft candies will be available in two flavors; mint chocolate chip and very berry strawberry ice cream flavors. The box comes in a 3.1 oz size and retails for $1.29. BestSweet says the boxed soft candies will be available in theatres May 2008.

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