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Neil to take CFO position at Diamond Foods

BY DSN STAFF

STOCKTON, Calif. Diamond Foods , a nuts and snack food company, said Tuesday that chief financial officer Seth Halio left the company, and Steven Neil will be the new chief financial and administrative officer, effective March 1.

Neil, a board member since 2005, is the current executive vice president and chief financial officer of specialty contact lens maker Cooper Cos. He will resign Feb. 29.

Before joining Cooper in 2005, he was executive vice president, chief financial officer and secretary of Ocular Sciences contact lens company.

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Folgers leads increase in coffee prices

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Procter & Gamble hiked the list prices of some of its well-known Folgers coffees, including Folgers Instant, by 6 percent, effective immediately, a company spokesman said Monday. Other coffee companies are expected to follow suit within a few days.

The price hike reflects the recent rally in green arabica and robusta beans on the futures markets, P&G spokesman Bryan Brown said.

Arabica beans are typically used to make brewed coffee. Robusta is either processed into instant coffee or blended into a roasted mix typically priced less than 100 percent arabica.

The benchmark arabica May futures contract KCK8 trading on ICE Futures U.S. closed up 0.70 cents at $1.505 per pound Monday, after touching a 10-year high for the second position at $1.512 in early trade Monday.

May robusta futures LKDK8 trading on the London International Financial Futures Exchange closed down $14 at $2,238 per ton after hitting a 10.5-year high of $2,291.

While Maryland Club will be included in the Folgers Ground increase, other brands including Millstone Gourmet, Dunkin’ Donuts retail coffee and Folgers Singles will not be affected, according to the company.

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M&Ms debuts live-action motion capture Green M&M

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK M&Ms and advertising company BBDO, New York, have developed a new technology that will allow an actress wearing a motion capture suit to be interviewed live as an animated character.

The Green M&M will make her debut Wednesday, with a Valentine’s Day tie-in for the product, appearing on 25 national and local talk shows, interacting with and being interviewed by hosts in a unique combination of technology and media. The satellite media tour, in which Green appears with presenters alongside Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor, will begin in the morning and run until noon. The holiday push also will include bags of all-green M&Ms emphasizing the candy maker’s claims of the color’s long-time rumors of being an aphrodisiac, and a Web site.

“The technology can put the character in any live situation, walking the red carpet, into the pit of a NASCAR race,” says Mars North America spokesman Ryan Bowling. “We don’t have to worry about free rendering the character; this technology allows us to take advantage of short lead opportunities as well as putting the character in environments we couldn’t before.”

Bringing the Green M&M to life are a proprietary, Mars-owned motion control system, voice recognition and Bluetooth technologies. Mars’ icon—an actress wearing a motion capture suit and a headset—will work alongside an animator manipulating the character’s facial expressions with a joystick. That footage will at some point be joined via satellite with the main feed and broadcast as a whole. 

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