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Nestle Chocolate to add rich, dark varieties

BY Jenna Duncan

LAUSANNE, Switzerland Nestle SA has announced plans to respond to demands from older buyers in many countries who crave darker chocolates, the Nestle’s head of chocolate operations, Petraea Heynike has said.

“Dark chocolate is a still-accelerating trend. Even countries which have no dark chocolate tradition are successfully introducing such products. ‘Premiumization,’ the move towards refined chocolate, is another important trend. In our strengthened focus on premium, we want to increase our use of high-quality raw materials and production methods,” she said.

Nestle’s presence in the global market, worth about $90.37 billion U.S.D. and showing growth of about 5 percent per year, annually, places the food company in second place with about 12.5 percent of the market (it is second to Mars Inc. which currently holds about 14.8 percent).

Nestle has launched more than 200 new chocolate products in the past few years, and is is the global leader in dark chocolate, Heynike said. Heynike and Nestle also emphasized the dark chocolate’s purported health benefits, citing data from Nestle’s research and development team.

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Cargill turns over third-quarter earnings in fiscal 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

MINNEAPOLIS Cargill, international food production and supply company, reported net earnings of $1.03 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2008, ended Feb. 29. That figure is up 86 percent from last year when the company reported $553 million. Earnings from the first nine months of fiscal 2008 reached $2.9 billion—a 69 percent increase from $1.71 billion during the same time last year.

Greg Page, Cargill chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Cargill posted a third consecutive strong quarter in a year in which the dimensions of change in global agriculture are striking S Prices are setting new highs and markets are extraordinarily volatile. In this environment, Cargill’s team has done an exceptional job measuring and assessing price risk, and managing the large volume of grains, oilseeds and other commodities moving through our supply chains for customers globally.”

Cargill has announced success in its diversification measures, global assets, market insight and risk management. “Our business model gives us the wherewithal to remain customer focused in a very challenging operating environment,” Page said.

Cargill reported that four out of five of its business segments saw increased earnings compared to third quarter 2007. The origination and processing segment, which sources, processes and distributes agricultural commodities and provides supply chain and risk management services to customers globally, saw the greatest earnings. The Cargill industrial segment also saw a dramatic increase. Risk management and Cargill’s financial segment experienced mixed results in the third quarter, but overall were down from the same time in 2007, the company said.

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Candy maker announces Baskin-Robbins soft candies to be sold in theatres

BY Jenna Duncan

MOORESVILLE, N.C. BestSweet confection maker has announced that a new line of Baskin-Robbins soft candy will soon be available in boxed form for the movies.

Brand manager, Mark A. Fields, said, “Given the buzz and success we received from the recently launched soft candy products, it was only fitting to also release it in the fun theater box format. We’ve witnessed fantastic growth of the theatre box packaging format across food, drug and mass channels, and with the recent product launch and changes we’ve been making to the line, the timing was perfect for those retailers looking to add unique theatre box items to their candy sets.”

The announcement to release the boxed soft candies was first made at the 2008 Winter Confectionery ECRM event, in Denver, C.O. during the week of Feb. 18 through 22.

The soft candies will be available in two flavors; mint chocolate chip and very berry strawberry ice cream flavors. The box comes in a 3.1 oz size and retails for $1.29. BestSweet says the boxed soft candies will be available in theatres May 2008.

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