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Cargill announces release of sweetener made from stevia

BY Jenna Duncan

WAYZATA, Minn. Cargill today introduced that it will be launching a natural sweetener, Truvia, made from leaves of the South American herb stevia.

Cargill has called the release of the new calorie-free sweetener a “milestone” because of its proposed uses in foods, beverages and for home use.

“We have spent more than two years validating the consumer demand for this new sweetener,” said Marcelo Montero, president of Cargill Health & Nutrition. “Soon consumers will recognize Truvia for quality and great taste, delivering the first natural, zero calorie sweetness people have been asking for.”

Truvia comes from rebiana, the leafy part of the stevia plant which is a shrub native to Paraguay, also grown in China for commercial purposes. A process of drying and then steeping the leaf in water releases the taste of the rebiana, which reportedly has a sweetness 200 times more potent than sugar.

Cargill has announced the release of Truvia the same day that a report was released online by the Food and Chemical Toxicology detailing results of a research study into the safety of rebiana. The study evaluated rebiana use for safety, stability and its effect on metabolism, as well as other health related effects.

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Nielsen predicts sharp spike in beer purchases for Memorial Day holiday

BY Jenna Duncan

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. The Nielsen Company predicts that consumers will spend around $381 million on beer (more than 21 million cases) at supermarkets during the Memorial Day holiday. This period is the second most popular season of beer sales in the U.S., following July 4.

The two weeks surrounding Memorial Day account for around 5 percent of annual beer sales, based on volume. In 2007, the season garnered sales of $380.8 million, or 21,534,727 cases, at supermarkets nationwide.

Nearly 35 percent of annual beer sales happen during the summer. Around half of summer beer sales are premium brands, Nielsen said.

“Summer is a hot time for beer retailers,” The Nielsen Company’s vice president of client service, beverage alcohol, Nick Lake said. “Beer is popular with consumers during the Memorial Day holiday and summer as it is generally more portable than wine or spirits, making it easier to take to outdoor parties, picnics and barbeques. Beer retailers can take advantage of this opportunity by understanding what types of beer their consumers are looking for and promoting a well-stocked selection of beer in their stores.”

According to Nielsen, Millennial consumers, buyers in the 21­30 age range, prefer to buy beer over other types of alcohol. Millennials also are more likely than older generations to try different flavors and types of beer, and are more likely to buy imports and craft beers.

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Del Monte names Pearce its first CMO

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK Del Monte Foods today announced that William Pearce will chair the newly created positions of company chief marketing officer and senior vice president.

“We’ve created the position of [chief marketing officer] to further elevate our focus on marketing strategy, innovation, and execution across our portfolio,” Del Monte chairman and chief executive officer, Rick Wolford, said in a news release. “This centralized organizational structure located in San Francisco will continue to build on our marketing success, enhancing marketing’s role in lead our future strategy.”

Wolford added that he “looks forward to leveraging [Pearce’s] proven track record of attracting top talent.”

Pearce joins Del Monte after serving as chief marketing officer at Taco Bell. Del Monte is currently working towards centralized marketing operations at the San Francisco headquarters, and also integrating pet and consumer marketing teams.

In addition to heading marketing operations, Pearce will also be responsible for covering pet and consumer campaigns, and package design and promotions.

Del Monte has not said whether it will up its marketing spending this year or not. But, in 2007, Del Monte’s advertising budget was around $18 million.

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