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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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Smucker buys Knott’s Berry Farm

BY Jenna Duncan

Knott’s Berry Farm, maker of jams, jellies, preserves and gift sets, has been bought out by J.M. Smucker, ConAgra Foods today announced.

Details of the transaction have not been released, but ConAgra has said that the sale will not affect its 2009 sales and profit growth projections. The acquired business is expected to add approximately $40 million in annual net sales to the J.M. Smucker portfolio.

The buyout does not include the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park, located in Anaheim, Calif. That property is owned by Cedar Fair L.P., a publicly-traded company based in Sandusky, Ohio.

Sources said that production of Knott’s Berry Farm food products will transition to Smuckers’ facilities during the course of the next four months.

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Wish-Bone dressing giveaway aimed at encouraging healty eating

BY Alaric DeArment

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. Not everyone was raised by dieticians, but parents who exhort their children to eat their greens still have a point.

Wish-Bone wants to encourage people to eat more vegetables by giving away bottles of its new Bountifuls salad dressing between May 30 and June 1.

After buying bottles of Bountifuls at supermarkets, people can download a mail-in rebate form and send it in with their receipts. The form is at www.wish-bone.com/Digital-Garden.aspx.

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