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Kettle partners with NWF on Backyard Barbeque potato chips promotion

BY Tara Smith

SALEM, Ore. Kettle Foods on Monday announced it is joining forces with the National Wildlife Federation to launch its newest flavor—Backyard Barbeque.

The partnership will be promoted on every bag of Backyard Barbeque potato chips, where Kettle Foods is encouraging snackers to create their own backyard habitat for local wildlife by following NWF’s step-by-step guide on how to “garden for wildlife” at www.nwf.org/backyard. Beginning January 2008, Kettle Foods is donating $1 to NWF for every backyard certified by Aug. 31, 2008 through the NWF Web site. Consumers who earn Certified Wildlife Habitat recognition also will receive a coupon for a free bag of Kettle brand potato chips.

Kettle Foods’ commitment to habitat restoration starts with its own two “backyards.” It has restored a 2-acre wetland adjacent to its Oregon headquarters and is revitalizing a 5-acre prairie at its new LEED Gold certified factory in Wisconsin.

Backyard Barbeque is the latest addition to the Kettle brand potato chip line and will be available in nine-ounce bags for a suggested $3.29 to $3.49. Backyard Barbeque, which combines tangy, smoky and sweet seasonings, will be available at supermarkets and natural food stores nationwide early in 2008.

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Miller brews up light craft beers for masses

BY Tara Smith

MILWAUKEE Miller Brewing Co. announced late last week that it would test market the Miller Lite Brewers Collection in Minneapolis, Charlotte, N.C., San Diego, and Baltimore beginning in February.

The three new versions of Miller Lite will be a blonde ale, an amber beer and a wheat beer—each with fewer calories and carbohydrates than a typical beer for that style. The three new beers will target mainstream drinkers and capitalize on trends that favor light beer, greater variety of beer styles and a willingness to pay more for higher-quality beers. They also could help establish a new beer industry category, something Miller chief marketing officer Randy Ransom calls “craft-style light.”

Light beer makes up roughly one-third of U.S. beer sales volume and is the dominant category in the beer industry, but craft beers, such as Samuel Adams Boston Lager, are taking a growing share of sales. That niche accounted for only about 3 percent of sales in 2006 but saw an 11.7 percent sales volume increase over 2005, compared with industry-wide growth of 2 percent.

The three beers will initially be available in six-pack bottles and priced between mainstream light beers and typical craft beers, the company said.

Miller Lite is Miller’s largest brand, accounting for 47 percent of the company’s sales volume in 2006.

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Kellogg to expand research facility

BY Tara Smith

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Kellogg Co. on Wednesday announced plans to expand its W.K. Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition Research facility. The 157,000-square-foot addition will accommodate up to 300 employees, though president and chief executive officer David Mackay said job creation is not necessarily tied to the expansion.

The expanded facility will include food and packaging review rooms, chemistry labs, test kitchens, development labs and a large, flexible production pilot plant where new ideas for products are tested before full-scale production in any of the company’s manufacturing facilities. Construction is to begin in the second quarter of 2008; the facility may be operational in the third quarter of 2009.

The Battle Creek-based maker of cereal and snacks proposed the $54 million expansion plan to the Battle Creek City Commission in October.

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