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El Monterey mini tacos line makes its way to stores

BY Allison Cerra

DINUBA, Calif. — Ruiz Foods has added a new snack bag line to its El Monterey brand.

The El Monterey portfolio, which features such Mexican food favorites as quesadillas, taquitos and more, now includes mini tacos, which are available in chicken and cheddar cheese, and beef and cheddar cheese varieties.

“In this economy, consumers continue to work hard to stretch their dollar by eating out less and bringing their lunch to work more often,” Ruiz Foods president and CEO Bryce Ruiz said. “And while they look for less expensive food options, they do not wish to trade off on quality, taste or variety. As a result, consumers have turned to frozen snacks as inexpensive at-home meal options.”

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Hostess gives Twinkies brand the chocolate treatment

BY Allison Cerra

IRVING, Texas — Hostess is making one of its limited-edition treats a full-time staple.

The company said it has expanded its Twinkies line to include chocolate creme Twinkies. Available in multipack and single-serve options, the new Twinkies item is being rolled out to store shelves nationwide.

Chocolate creme Twinkies were first introduced last spring and have become part of the Hostess portfolio after positive consumer response, the company said.

"For over 80 years, Twinkies have been delighting Americans with their delicious golden cake and creme filling, and new chocolate creme Twinkies will be giving Hostess fans a chocolatey twist on an iconic treat that will keep them smiling for years to come," Hostess snack marketing director Amy Clark said.

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Diet Coke highlights partnership with The Heart Truth campaign

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA — In an effort to raise awareness of women’s heart health educational programs, an actress and a fashion designer have joined Diet Coke and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s The Heart Truth campaign.

Diet Coke said fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg teamed up with the brand to introduce a limited-edition collection of aluminum bottles that feature iconic prints from von Furstenberg, which will be sold in select Diane von Furstenberg stores in New York and on DVF.com during the month of February. Proceeds from the bottle sales will benefit the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, in support of The Heart Truth and women’s heart health research and educational programs, Diet Coke said. In addition, Diet Coke also will donate $1 to the FNIH, up to $100,000, for those that re-tweet Diet Coke’s The Heart Truth post on Feb. 8.

Also on Feb. 8, actress Minka Kelly will participate in the campaign’s Red Dress Collection Fashion Show — which kicks off New York Fashion Week — and will sport a custom Diane von Furstenberg dress. As part of the upcoming fashion show, five Diet Coke fans will attend the annual fashion show after entering for a chance to win via a social networks contest that encouraged the brand’s fans to "show their hearts" by using the "#ShowYourHeart" hashtag.

In related news, special Diet Coke packaging also is making its debut, which features the campaign’s stick figure painting a large, red heart. Additionally, more than six billion packages of Diet Coke will feature The Heart Truth logo throughout the year.

"For five years, Diet Coke has been a passionate supporter of The Heart Truth and its efforts to raise awareness about the importance of heart health," said William White, brand director for Diet Coke North America. "While we’ve shared this vital message with millions of people through our partnership with the NHLBI, we’ll reach even more this year with creative online programs, in-store activations and eye-catching packaging."

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