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Pepsi to roll out Social Vending System

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo is building on the social networking experience by providing consumers with a new kind of vending system.

The company announced plans to roll out an interactive vending machine, dubbed the Social Vending System, which features a full touchscreen that enables users to give a gift to a friend by selecting a beverage, entering the recipient’s name, mobile number and a personalized text message. There’s also the option to further personalize the gift with a short video recorded right at the machine.

A prototype of Pepsi’s Social Vending System, which was conceived by the company’s newly formed equipment innovation group, made its debut at the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s One Show in Chicago this week.

Further development of the Social Vending System platform is under way. Pepsi also said that it anticipates testing the concept with key strategic partners later this year.

"Our vision is to use innovative technology to empower consumers and create new ways for them to engage with our brands, their social networks and each other at the point of purchase," said Mikel Durham, chief innovation officer at PepsiCo Foodservice. "Social Vending extends our consumers’ social networks beyond the confines of their own devices and transforms a static, transaction-oriented experience into something fun and exciting they’ll want to return to, again and again."

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Having your cake and ice cream too with Blue Bunny

BY Allison Cerra

LE MARS, Iowa — Blue Bunny is expanding its ice cream lineup with decadent flavors that feature pieces of cake.

The brand partnered with celebrity cake baker Duff Goldman to create such ice cream flavors as Red Carpet Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Lovers Triple Chocolate Cake, I Do! I Do! Wedding Cake and Strawberries Are Forever Shortcake.

"For me, cake and ice cream belong together like mashed potatoes and gravy," Goldman said. "We came up with these creations because they combine the best of both worlds, and we are really excited to see the reaction of folks when they discover them in their freezer aisle."

Each cake-inspired ice cream flavor is available at grocery retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $4.99 each.

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Lipton Iced Tea gets natural

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Lipton Iced Tea’s beverages now are boasting an all-natural ingredient list.

New 100% natural Lipton Iced Tea will be available in green tea with citrus, iced tea with lemon, iced tea with blueberry pomegranate and green tea with passionfruit mango flavors. Lipton Iced Tea’s diet portfolio also will expand with new diet green tea with watermelon joining diet green tea with citrus flavor.

Each bottle will retail from 99 cents to $1.59 and will be available in 20-oz. bottles.

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