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General Mills introduces gluten-free Rice Chex

BY Jenna Duncan

MINNEAPOLIS General Mills last week announced that it has altered Rice Chex cereal slightly so it is now gluten-free.

The company said that it only has replaced the barley malt syrup in the cereal with molasses, and the original flavor is the same.

General Mills also said that the company has taken steps to ensure that during production there no products containing gluten come in contact with Rice Chex, and the new assembly line follows FDA standards.

“General Mills and Chex recognize the growing consumer demand for gluten-free products and we’re pleased to make Rice Chex, a classic American breakfast offering, available to more people,“ said Rohan Thakur, Chex cereal marketing manager. “We are also proud to partner with Celiac Disease Foundation to further generate awareness for celiac disease.”

New gluten-free Rice Chex will soon be available nationwide, the company said.

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Pepsi switches marketing gears for Gatorade, Tropicana

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO Marketing efforts for two of PepsiCo’s major brands, Gatorade and Tropicana, will fall into new hands, the company said yesterday. The Arnell Group of New York will now handle Tropicana and TBWA\Chiat\Day of Playa del Rey, Calif., will take on Gatorade, moving marketing out of the hands of Element 79, the company said. Both of the new groups, as well as Element 79, are controlled by Chicago-based Omnicom Group.

“We’re always looking for breakthrough creative, and … are continuously assessing performance from incumbents, as well as other agencies,” the company said in a statement released yesterday.

PepsiCo reportedly spent more than $180 million on its U.S. media campaign for Gatorade last year and almost $30 million on Tropicana, according to a report by Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Element 79, which was created in 2001 to handle Quaker/PepsiCo after the company left Foote, Cone & Belding, also lost three other PepsiCo brands earlier this year: Lays, Propel Fitness Water and Tostitos. But they continue to handle Quaker cereal, rice and snack brands, covering such brands as Cracker Jack, Life cereal, Quaker brand oatmeal and other products.

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Milwaukee Brewers name Quench their official gum

BY Jenna Duncan

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. Quench gum, marketed for its “thirst-quenching” flavors, will get an extra boost from American League baseball team the Milwaukee Brewers; the team has named Quench its official gum.

Mark Lutz, national sales manager for Quench, said, “We are thrilled to team up with the Brewers. Brewer fans are extremely loyal and their games are a big draw. It’s the perfect opportunity to support the home team and spread the word about Quench gum to a wide variety of people.”

Quench will be allowed exclusive marketing rights during the Brewers’ 2008 season at Miller Park and has planned several events for the summer, including giveaways like Quench Gum Night, July 25.

Mueller Sports Medicine is the maker of Quench gum, purported to help alleviate thirst because it has a tart flavor that stimulates saliva. In addition to its alleged prevalence among baseball players, Quench is also reportedly used by professional athletes in basketball, football, hockey, and even marathon runners.

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