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Coca-Cola and illy team up on RTD coffee

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Company and illycaffe SpA announced today that they will be signing a global joint venture agreement focused on the premium ready-to-drink coffee segment.

Using illy’s expertise in the art of the espresso, Coca-Cola said, will expand the company’s beverage category with new brands and products.

“illy is a proven leader with an uncompromising commitment to high-quality espresso coffee and a strong history of innovation with whom we are proud to partner,” said Muhtar Kent, president and chief operating officer of the Coca-Cola Company. “We will be able to bring our brand building and distribution expertise together with illy’s premium brand reputation. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to meeting evolving consumer demands while creating additional value for our system, our customers and our shareowners.”

According to the companies, he RTD coffee category globally is valued at just under $10 billion and has experienced several years of growth that is expected to continue. Globally (excluding Japan), the RTD coffee category has grown at an average rate of 10.1% over the past five years.

While the specifics on brands and distribution have not yet been finalized, both parties expect the final joint venture agreements to be signed by the end of 2007.

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Cabot Creamery Cooperative has gone Greek for yogurt.

BY Allison Cerra

CABOT, Vt. Cabot has launched and already stocked shelves with its unique recipe for Greek Style yogurt. Its rich taste and thick consistency is a recipe for success, Cabot said. The company, already dubbed “Makers of the World’s Best Cheddar” hopes it will take on a new title as “Makers of the World’s Best Greek Style Yogurt.”

“Our new line of Greek Style Yogurt melts in your mouth—better than ice cream if you want rich, luscious taste,” said Richard Stammer, Cabot Creamery Cooperative’s chief executive officer. “The family farmer-owners of Cabot Creamery Cooperative have produced another world-class product. And, like our award winning cheeses, our Greek Style Yogurt is in a class all by itself. We’re proud of that and we think our customers will agree.”

Available now only at area Publix Super Markets, the retail food chain currently stocks Cabot Greek Style Yogurt in the following six-ounce flavors of peach, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and tropical fruit. The chain also carries Cabot’s Plain Flavor Greek Style Yogurt in a 32-ounce size.

Yogurt is one of the oldest known foods, dating back more than 4,500 years. Their concentrated nutrients include high levels of calcium, protein, vitamins B6 and B12, and magnesium, all of which promote intestinal health and help cure bacterial infections.

While the health benefits of Cabot Greek Style Yogurt are extensive, this style of yogurt trumps traditional American-style with its cooking advantages.

“Cabot’s Greek Style Yogurt has countless uses as an ingredient in recipes,” said Cabot’s celebrity Chef of Staff, Jon Ashton. “It won’t separate when it is baked and can easily be substituted for cream. Best of all, it can be used in so many wonderful recipes. It’s great with honey and nuts, makes a great smoothie and it makes an amazing chiffon or topping for healthy desserts.”

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Cadbury to spin off U.S. drinks unit

BY Tara Smith

NEW YORK Cadbury Schweppes announced plans today to spin off its U.S. drinks unit, listing the Americas Beverages division on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Bloomberg.

The decision was made after the search for a buyer was derailed by record subprime mortgage defaults in the United States. The unit accounted for 35 percent of Cadbury’s $15.1 billion in 2006 sales and controlled 15 percent of the U.S. soda market with such brands as Dr Pepper, Seven-Up and Snapple. Cadbury said it would cut 470 jobs at Americas Beverages.

The plan allows for Cadbury, the world’s largest candy maker, to focus on its forte—confectionary. Chief Executive Officer Todd Stitzer said on a conference call that confectionary sales rose 10 percent in Europe and U.S. sales increase 14 percent, boosted by sales of Stride gum.

According to a note from Bear Stearns Co., the spinoff is disappointing because investors expected the London-based company to make much as $15 billion from the sale before the subprime crisis.

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