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Kettle Foods joins 100-calorie pack wave

BY Adam Kraemer

SALEM, Ore. Kettle Foods announced that, starting Jan. 1, its Kettle brand Bakes will be available in 100-calorie packs at retailers nationwide.

The chips, which are made with real potato slices and no artificial ingredients, cholesterol, MSG or trans fats, offer 65 percent less fat than regular potato chips. “With Kettle brand Bakes, snackers don’t have to compromise taste or calorie count when it comes to eating on the run,” said Michelle Peterman, vice president of marketing for Oregon-based Kettle Foods.

Demand for healthier, convenient snacking options has increased significantly in the past year as more Americans seek healthier alternatives for snacking on the go, according to a recent study by Report Buyer. Many major food companies have begun offering normally indulgent foods in portion-controlled sizes, including Oreo, Chips Ahoy and Wheat Thins. “Consumers see it as a good-faith attempt on the part of manufacturers and we’ve seen positive responses for a lot of those products,” said David Morris, senior market research analyst at Mintel International Group.

The single-serving Bakes bags offer about 18 chips per bag, and will retail for about $1.09-$1.39.

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Hershey tries luck on lottery promotion

BY Tara Smith

HERSHEY, Pa. Lottery players in such states as Illinois, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington and Delaware will soon be able to try their luck on games like “Kisses & Cash,” and “Hugs & Kisses.”

The Hershey Co. recently reached a licensing agreement with Atlanta-based MDI Entertainment to offer Hershey-branded lottery tickets. The company believes the pairing of the Hershey brand with instant lottery tickets is a natural fit. “Hershey’s goal is to be everywhere our customers are,” said Kirk Saville, spokesman for Hershey. “This partnership represents a powerful way to extend our brands and reach our customers.”

Additionally, the demographics of people who buy lottery tickets and the outlets where they are sold fit well with the consumers who buy Hershey products, he said. As MDI is focused soley on Hershey, the company won’t have to worry about competing with other candy makers in the field while for MDI, the licensing agreement presents an opportunity to develop a stand-out product in what has become a competitive business. The agreement also lends itself to a marketing strategy.

“Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is the most popular candy bar in the world,” Steve Saferin, president of MDI and Scientific Games, said. “You don’t need to do much more than put them on a ticket and use that as a way to support a branding strategy, as well as Hershey.”

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Coca-Cola names Kent to chief executive position

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA Coca-Cola Co.’s president and chief operating officer is set to become the beverage giant’s new chief executive officer.

Muhtar Kent will replace Neville Isdell as CEO on July 1, 2008, the company announced Thursday.

Kent, who has broad experience in international company management, said he would continue an existing strategy of reviving brands, expanding overseas operations and acquiring new brands. He was named president of Coca-Cola International in January 2006 and appointed president and COO of the company in December 2006.

Kent will continue to serve as president of the company when he acquires the chief executive position next year.

Isdell will continue in the dual capacity of chairman of the board of directors and CEO until that date and remain chairman until April 2009.

“The opportunity to lead The Coca-Cola Company is an extraordinary honor, and I am grateful to the board for the confidence it has placed in me,” Kent said. “I look forward to building on the strong foundation for sustainable growth that we have set in place for the Coca-Cola system around the world.”

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