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Caffeinated Snickers Charged satisfies hunger, boosts energy

BY Tara Smith

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. Snickers Brand today announced the introduction of Snickers Charged, the first candy bar from the brand that provides a boost of energy with caffeine.

Containing 60 mg of caffeine, taurine and B-vitamins, Snickers Charged gives consumers a boost in energy and satisfies hunger cravings. “Snickers Charged offers consumers a bar of substance and a delicious and satisfying way to tackle the afternoon hours when one needs to ‘re-power,’” said Michele Kessler, vice president, marketing, Mars Snackfood U.S.

The introduction is yet another in a wave of caffeine-infused products, which include gum, lip balm, mints and even soap. With more than 80 percent of American adults consuming caffeine each year, the market for caffeinated products continues to expand.

Now available in select food, mass, club, convenience and drug stores through March 2008, Snickers Charged comes in a 1.83-ounce single pack, comprised of one bar, and retails for $.65.

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PepsiCo positions Amp as everyman’s drink, launches Earnhardt campaign

BY Tara Smith

PURCHASE, N.Y. PepsiCo on Monday began a massive ad campaign for Mountain Dew Amp Energy to position the energy drink of the masses. The campaign will feature ads starring Dale Earnhardt Jr., three new flavors, a high-profile summer promotion and slew of packaging variations will aim to spur sales of the No. 5 energy drink.

The company is betting that Amp, which saw sales double in 2007, will become the choice of men ages 18 to 34. “Amp is about bringing your ‘A’ game whether it is going 200 miles per hour on the race track or going to your meeting,” said Maurice Herrera, Amp’s marketing director.

Amp has plenty of competition in the high-margin $5 billion energy category, which was up 35 percent for the first nine months of 2007, according to Beverage Digest. No. 2 Red Bull last week announced it would make its 16.9-ounce can a permanent offering and a sugar-free version will debut this quarter. Monster is No.1 with 27 percent of the category. New competitor All City NRG from AriZona is on the horizon, with the company testing the 16-ounce non-carbonated drink in select markets.

The poster child for this new attitude is Earnhardt, who signed a sponsorship deal with Amp and the National Guard for a reported $25 million per year. At retail, the Dale Jr. Collector series of 12-ounce sleek cans will be available from May through July. The beverage also will sponsor the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega on Oct. 5.

In three months, Amp will launch three new line extensions: Amp Relaunch will better hydrate consumers with an added mix of electrolytes and B vitamins. Amp Elevate can help boost drinkers’ mental capacity with L-Theanine. Amp Traction will present as a sustained energy option.

Pepsi spent $10.2 million on media for Amp for the first 11 months of 2007, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. This year, “we’re going to play big,” said Herrera. “Amp will get a tremendous amount of focus.”

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Lindt, Callebaut post strong sales figures

BY Tara Smith

ZURICH Swiss chocolate makers Lindt & Spruengli and Barry Callebaut today are posting strong sales figures as both benefit from a growing taste for premium-quality products.

Full-year sales at Lindt & Spruengli, whose products include Lindor pralines and gold-wrapped Easter bunnies, are expected to rise 14 percent to $2.68 billion, thanks to buoyant demand in the United States and Britain. The group has benefited from increased consumer spending on indulgence foods and has tapped into a growing appetite for premium and dark chocolate, noting strong demand for its Creation 70 Percent and Excellence products.

Analysts expect the group’s sales figures to put a stop to the downward trend seen in its shares, which have lost some 15 percent this year amid fears the United States is heading toward a recession. The company said a U.S. slowdown would likely have only a limited impact on the chocolate market.

Meanwhile, shares in Barry Callebaut have shed only around 3.6 percent of the 42 percent gained in 2007 as investors appreciate the company’s clear business prospects. The world’s largest chocolate maker is expected to post an 8 percent rise in first-quarter sales to 1.34 billion francs, boosted by a trend among the largest food companies to outsource chocolate production as a result of soaring prices for ingredients. Barry Callebaut has won contracts from Nestle, Cadbury and Hershey Co. and the group has said this trend looks set to continue.

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