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CVS’ Merlo to kick off Network of Executive Women’s Leadership Summit

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO Larry Merlo, president and COO of CVS Caremark and president of CVS/pharmacy, will kick off the Network of Executive Women’s Leadership Summit in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

The event will be held Sept. 27 to 29 at the Westin Charlotte. Merlo will welcome more than 700 Network members at the Summit’s opening reception on Sept. 27.

The event will “provide tools to help CPG/retail executives transform their careers, lives and companies to better profit from the consumer industry’s ‘new normal,'” according to the Network, which is the consumer products and retail industry’s largest diversity organization.

The three-day event will also include three SuperSessions, featuring Bill Fournet, corporate strategist and president and CEO of the Persimmon Group; Kevin Coupe, journalist, author and industry blogger at MorningNewsBeat.com; and DeLores Pressley, a consultant and coach specializing in building relationships.

Founded in 2001, the Network of Executive Women, Consumer Products and Retail Industry, has more than 3,000 members from more than 400 companies and 66 corporate sponsors.

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Kettle introduces Tias! tortilla chips

BY Allison Cerra

SAN FRANCISCO Diamond Foods’ Kettle brand is expanding to include all-natural tortilla chips.

New Kettle Tias! line will be offered in six flavors, including salsa picante, zesty ranch, nacho cheddar, toasted corn, sweet Baja barbeque and chili con queso. The entire line is made of certified organic corn, expeller pressed oil and all-natural seasonings.

“Kettle Brand Tias! is a strong opportunity for our company to leverage the innovation strength of the Kettle brand and place it into an adjacent segment. The natural tortilla chip segment is 40% larger than the natural potato chip segment,” said Michael Mendes, chairman, president and CEO of Diamond Foods.

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Lifeway Foods launches BioKefir probiotic beverages

BY Allison Cerra

MORTON GROVE, Ill. Lifeway Foods has launched a line of probiotic beverages that support immunity, heart health and digestion.

New 3.5-oz. BioKefir shots are sold in four-packs and five varieties, including:

  • BioKefir for immunity – available in pomegranate/blueberry and kiwi/passion fruit;
  • BioKefir for heart health – available in blackberry and black cherry; and
  • BioKefir for digestion – available in vanilla.

All five BioKefir flavors contain ProBoost, Lifeway’s exclusive new blend of live and active probiotic cultures, designed to strengthen immune response and alleviate digestive troubles. ProBoost enhances Lifeway’s longtime 10-Kefir culture probiotic combination with two new strains –– Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM –– that add extra benefits for building immunity and aiding digestion. All 12 powerful probiotic cultures are available in every sip of BioKefir, Lifeway Foods said.

“Our new BioKefir shots will enable health-conscious consumers to get their daily dose of probiotics, vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber quickly, easily and with no interference to their schedules or diets,” said Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods. “The 3.5-oz. package fits with today’s fast-paced lifestyles, can be carried anywhere and ensures that you can always add a health boost to your day.”

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