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Just Born introduces PEEPS Spooky Friends marshmallow candies

BY Allison Cerra

BETHLEHEM, Pa. Just Born is brewing a variety of treats for this Halloween, the company said.

Just Born announced plans to unveil individually wrapped Peeps, the confectioner’s most noted candy, in a new line called Spooky Friends. The marshmallow candies will be available in assorted Halloween shapes, including bats, ghosts and spiders. Traditional Halloween Peeps will also be available this year. Suggested retail prices for both size assortments are $1.99 and $5.99.

Additionally, three of Just Born’s other brands, Mike and Ike’s, Hot Tamales and Peanut Chews, will be available in miniature sized for trick-or-treaters. Miniature half-ounce boxes of Mike and Ike’s and Hot Tamales are available in 10.5-oz bags at an SRP of $1.99. Also, 31.5-oz variety bags containing both brands will be available with an SRP of $5.99.

Peanut Chews will be available in both original dark chocolate and milk chocolate flavors, and will be offered in three assortments sizes, of 8 oz., 14 oz. and 3 lb. bags, ranging from $1.99 to $5.99 in price.

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Hershey names David West as new CEO

BY Allison Cerra

HARRISBURG, Pa. The Hershey Co. board said Tuesday that another former Nabisco executive will replace Richard Lenny as the leader of the nation’s largest candymaker.

David West, Hershey’s chief operating officer, was named company president and a director, effectively immediately, and will become chief executive on Dec. 1, the board said in a statement. The move came a day after Lenny announced he was stepping down as chief executive following six years at Hershey.

“Dave is a very strong leader with an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of Hershey’s business,” company director Robert Campbell said in the statement.

Lenny, who was the first chief executive officer hired from outside Hershey, will remain as chairman through the end of the year, when Campbell will take over, the company said.

Soon after Lenny left Nabisco for Hershey in 2001, he hired West to join the confectionary to come up with a marketing plan. West became Hershey’s chief financial officer in 2005 and chief operating officer in January.

Hershey’s stock fell $1.63 a share, or 3.4 percent, to $45.78 in trading Tuesday.

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Kraft to sell Fruit20 and Veryfine brands to Sunny Delight

BY Tara Smith

NORTHFIELD, Ill. Kraft Foods Inc. announced Wednesday that it will sell Veryfine juice and Fruit2O brands to Sunny Delight Beverages Co., a leader of juice drinks in North America. In addition to the brands, the transaction includes specific manufacturing equipment, a manufacturing facility in Littleton, Mass and about 200 employees who will join Sunny Delight. In 2006, Fruit2O and Veryfine had net revenues of about $135 million.

“For Kraft, we believe we will create greater long-term shareholder value by selling, rather than investing in, these brands [Fruit2O and Veryfine],” said Rick Searer, Kraft Executive Vice President and President of Kraft North America.

Kraft will record a one-time, pre-tax asset impairment charge of $125 million in the third quarter in anticipation of the sale. The sale is expected to conclude in the fourth quarter.

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