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Nestea announces new packaging, products

BY Jenna Duncan

ATLANTA Nestea has given its line of iced tea products a new look and its green tea citrus and diet green tea citrus teas now have the power of 50 percent more antioxidants than before, the company said yesterday,

To stay competitive in the growing ready-to-drink tea segment, Nestea revamped its green tea citrus and diet green tea citrus teas to now contain 96 milligrams of flavonoid antioxidants per eight ounces.

Independent research, the company said, shows that the RTD tea category was up in sales by 24 percent last year, and green tea sales, specifically, provided two-thirds of that category’s growth.

Nestea said the growth in retail sales, plus increased consumer education about the health benefits of tea, were the reasons for its recent launch.

“With over 50 years of brand equity and consumer trust, our products blend the natural goodness of tea with natural fruit flavors to offer consumers a refreshing experience to immediately revitalize their day,” Coca-Cola North America’s senior vice president/general manager of coffee and tea, Penny McIntyre, said. “We have reinvigorated the brand with a new look and new green tea formulations—with superior taste and more antioxidants to appeal to consumers seeking a delicious green tea.”

The newly packaged Nestea flavors are available nationwide at convenience stores, drug stores, retailers and supermarkets.

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Campbell debuts Chunky Soup ads with Chargers’ star, unveils new foods at trade show

BY Jenna Duncan

CAMDEN, N.J. Campbell Soup Co. has been busily planning several launches for 2008. The newest in its ad campaign for Campbell’s Chunky Soup is a spot featuring LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers’ running back, the company announced today.

Campbell said it selected Tomlinson as a spokesman because he is known as one of the NFL’s most hard-working, generous and humble players. The Campbell ads featuring for the 2008 campaign are titled, “Working Day.” They went into production earlier this week in Los Angeles.

Campbell’s Chunky soups brand manager, Doug Brand, said, “As we enter our 11th consecutive season with the NFL, we are excited to introduce a new and different approach for this year’s advertising campaign S We are delighted to have LaDainian Tomlinson back for a second season and believe he is the foundation for the outstanding evolution of this new campaign. LaDainian is a stand-out athlete who truly represents all of the qualities of the Chunky soup brand—big-hearted, hardworking and fun—making him a natural fit as our spokesperson.”

Campbell also unveiled yesterday its new product line for the 2008-09 fiscal year at this year’s Food Marketing Institute meeting. The new group of foods is health- and vegetable-oriented and includes updates to some of Campbell’s soup lines, new Swanson cooking stocks and new flavors of Pace salsas.

Campbell’s said it has added two soups to its Healthy Request line; chicken corn chowder and sirloin burger with country vegetables. Both selections are lower sodium than traditional Campbell soups.

The company has also announced in February is has plans to revamps its whole line of Campbell’s Kids soups to bring them up to par with the government’s standard for “healthy” foods.

Consumers may visit www.chunky.com for more details on Campbell’s Chunky soups.

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Tootsie Roll maintains independence during times of consolidation

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO The news of the pending sale of Wrigley to Mars this week has left speculators scanning the market for other independent confectioners who have withstood looming threats of consolidation. But one American candy industry stalwart, Tootsie Roll, seems to have no plans to sell any time soon.

Family-owned and led by 88-year-old chief executive officer Melvin Gordon and his wife, 76-year-old president Ellen Gordon, have been mum with their shareholders on the topic of selling.

Many shareholders, and even he company’s stock analyst, have indicated that they thought a sale such as the transaction that put Wrigley in the hands of Mars would be the best thing for Tootsie Roll. Some believe that leadership by an industry giant might help grow distribution and sales and keep the candy company afloat in a rough economy—especially in overseas markets where growth is projected.

Tootsie Roll reported that its profit fell by 22 percent last year and its first quarter of 2008 was even worse. The company said that it is suffering from the soaring costs of ingredients.

But despite its losses, the company has been moot on the topic of potential buyers and its current leadership appears to be firmly in place.

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