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Harris Poll EquiTrend ranks Americans’ favorite food brands

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Harris Interactive has unveiled the results of its 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study, which measured and compared more than 1,500 brands.

Brands of the year included:

  • Greek yogurt brand Chobani, which topped competitors Yoplait, Dannon and Stonyfield;

  • Orville Redenbacher was named popcorn brand of the year;

  • Oreo was named cookie brand of the year;

  • Lay’s potato chips topped other salty snack brands; and

  • Clif achieved the distinction of brand of the year for the energy bar category.

The study measured the perceptions of more than 38,500 American consumers.

"The Harris Poll EquiTrend study confirms that while Americans tend to be brand-loyal, they are happy to experiment with new products, even if they are substantially different from the traditional competitors," Harris Interactive SVP Lorraine Julian said. "Greek-style yogurt is a relatively recent phenomenon, and the Harris Poll EquiTrend study demonstrates that a good number of Americans have been open-minded enough to alter their ideas about what a yogurt should be. This would suggest that if food mega brands ensure that their products are of exceptional quality, they can benefit greatly from innovation."

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Popsicle rolls out Yosicle line

BY Allison Cerra

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — Popsicle has grown its brand to include a line of treats that contain nonfat yogurt.

Yosicle pops are available in four varieties and three shapes, including:

  • Yosicle Torpedo! pops feature three flavors in one low-fat, creamy pop: purple berry, watermelon and vanilla;

  • Yosicle Duos! pops feature creamy yogurt on the inside with flavored ice on the outside. These low-fat pops have two flavors on each stick and are available in two variety boxes: watermelon-vanilla and cotton candy-vanilla or purple berry-vanilla and cherry-vanilla; and

  • Yosicle Layerz! pops feature two flavors per low-fat pop and are made with flavored ice on the top and creamy yogurt on the bottom. They are available in two flavors: cotton candy and vanilla and orange and vanilla.

As part of the launch, Popsicle has partnered with Tom Kenny, the voice of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants, to launch the "Your Yosicle Adventure" contest on Facebook. The online competition invites fans to create their own ending to an animated adventure — one where a character named Popsicle Pete collides with yogurt to create a Yosicle pop. Through June 12, consumers can submit their scripts via the Popsicle Facebook page. All eligible entries will be reviewed and scored by a panel of judges, including Kenny, and will be judged on humor, creativity, how well the entry completed the original story and alignment with the Popsicle brand.

"Popsicle has been surprising and delighting families with new and exciting flavors and products — like Yosicle pops — for years," Popsicle senior brand manager Brian Critz said. "Now, we’re encouraging consumers to surprise and delight us with creative and unexpected adventures for Popsicle Pete."

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ConAgra acquires Kangaroo Brands’ pita chip business

BY Allison Cerra

OMAHA, Neb. — In an effort to grow its presence in private-label foods, ConAgra Foods has acquired the pita chip business of Kangaroo Brands.

The acquisition includes a manufacturing facility located in Milwaukee, Wis., and approximately 50 employees who joined ConAgra Foods from Kangaroo Brands. Kangaroo Brands will continue to own and market its pita bread and frozen sandwiches. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"Pita chips are a high-growth category and a natural fit with ConAgra Foods’ private-label snacks business," ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin said. "We are pleased to add another business that further positions us for accelerated growth."

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