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Mars rolls out Indiana Jones snack campaign

BY Jenna Duncan

McLEAN, Va. Mars Snackfoods U.S. has initiated a campaign in association with the new “Indiana Jones” movie.

To help launch “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Mars has created specially packaged M&M’s and Snickers candies and has developed an interactive Web site, as well as Indiana Jones print and TV spots.

The packaging of M&M’s new mint crisp chocolate candies features Indiana Jones-themed wrappers. A new flavor of Snickers has also been released [Snickers Adventure Bar] that contains added coconut and spice flavors. M&M’S cookie ice cream sandwiches and ice cream cones and Snickers ice cream bars will also have movie-themed packaging.

M&M’s and Indiana Jones fans can visit an interactive Web site at www.mms.com which has games that presents an online game, movie trailer and downloads, like themed wallpaper.

The M&M’s NASCAR race team will also have an “Indy”-themed car and plans to hold movie-related activities for guests at selected races.

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Kraft to announce new products for 2008-09

BY Jenna Duncan

NORTHFIELD, Ill. Last week Kraft Foods announced the release of several new food items in its effort to keep afloat in an increasingly competitive snack and grocery market.

Kraft said that it has in the works 80 new products to be launched in the next year. Some of the new products include Cool-Whip in an aerosol can, digestive-health promoting granola bars, macaroni-and-cheese-flavored crackers and single serving deli meats.

Bob Becker, senior vice-president of new products for Kraft Foods North America, said, “We are spending much more time and focus on reinventing our iconic brands.”

A leader in the lower-calorie snack race and convenient beverage creations, Kraft said it will focus its energies on developing more convenient meals, healthy foods, premium items and snacks.

Kraft last year boosted its sales an impressive 8.4 percent to $37.24 billion. However net earnings fell 15.4 percent to $2.59 billion. The company says the loss was the result of higher commodity costs and increased spending on things like developing products, marketing and restructuring. Kraft will report its earnings for the first quarter on Wednesday, April 30.

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Mars buys Wrigley Co. for almost $23 billion

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO McLean, Va.-based Mars, maker of M&Ms and Snickers candies, has announced that it is purchasing the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. for nearly $23 billion in cash in a deal that could spark even more confectionery mergers.

Wrigley shareholders stand to receive $80 (cash) for each common stock share and Class B common share individually owned. Wrigley said the buyout could take from six to 12 months and, at the finish, Wrigley would become a subsidiary of Mars.

In addition to traditional titles such as Wrigley Spearmint and Juicy Fruit, Wrigley also makes products like Altoids, Eclipse gum and Lifesavers.

Berkshire Hathaway, controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett, will also have a hold of part of the new Wrigley subsidiary; it was announced that Berkshire Hathaway will make minority equity investment in the division.

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