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Purple beverage distribution gets boost from GNC

BY Jenna Duncan

FORT LAUDERDALE Purple Beverage Company has announced that its signature bottled drink, Purple, will be shipped out to an additional 700 General Nutrition Centers for a total presence in 1,500 GNC stores across the United States.

The company said that plans for expansion were the result of the drink’s rising popularity. Sales of Purple have been particularly successful in GNC stores since the beginning of the year.

Ted Farnsworth, chief executive officer of Purple Beverage Company, said “We are thrilled that Purple has been so well-received by GNC customers and that GNC has decided to feature Purple in even more stores. This is representative of the reactions that we have received from consumers nationwide who are looking for healthier alternatives to sugary soft drinks and have made Purple their beverage of choice.”

Purple is an all-natural, preservative-free beverage with no added sugar made from antioxidant-rich fruit juices such as acai berry, black cherry, black currant, blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate and purple plum.

Purple is sold in many GNC stores across the U.S. as well as in drug stores, convenience stores, health food stores and supermarkets. It retails for about $34.99 per case of 12 bottles. Consumers may also purchase Purple online at www.gnc.com, or get more information at www.drinkpurple.com.

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PepsiCo cmo resigns

BY Jenna Duncan

PURCHASE, N.Y. Pepsi-Cola North America has announced that its senior vice president, chief marketing officer, Cie Nicholson, last week stepped down.

Nicholson, known for overseeing Sierra Mist and launching Mountain Dew Code Red in 2001, has been PepsiCo’s marketing chief since 2005. She is slated to stand out her term until the end of July, reports said.

According to media sources, Nicholson has said that she is looking forward to taking some time off. Meanwhile, no replacement has been named for her post.

Nicholson’s current responsibilities include overseeing the advertising, brand development, grassroots marketing, media, promotions and sports divisions at PepsiCo North America for carbonated and non-carbonated beverages.

Her previous post was as vice president non-carbonated beverages and vice president carbonated soft drink flavors. Prior to coming to PepsiCo, Nicholson worked on the relaunch of Winston cigarettes for R.J. Reynolds.

Sources said that PepsiCo North America’s media spending has been lessened in the last five years about 39 percent to $254.4 million. New York-based Omnicom Group currently handles PepsiCo’s advertising and public relations.

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Heinz plans to beef up sales across channels

BY Jenna Duncan

PITTSBURGH The H.J. Heinz Co. recently made public plans to release about 400 new products over the next two years. The company also said that it plans to pump around $100 million into a new marketing plan to grow business.

Currently, the ketchup maker produces over 11 billion packets and 650 million bottles of ketchup per year. But in recent years, the company has grown its portfolio to also cover food products produced under brand names like Bagel-Bites, Ore-Ida, Smart Ones and Weight Watchers. To strengthen its core it will stretch further into health and wellness, the company has said.

According to reports posted by The Motley Fool, in the fourth quarter, Heinz’s overall sales increased 11.3 percent to $2.7 billion. The company’s profits rose 7.2 percent from the same time in 2007.

More than half of the company’s revenue comes from international sales and in that avenue Heinz saw greater growth. However, sales in the United States remained fairly level, though there was a 10 percent increase in U.S. consumer-product sales. The company’s dividend was increased to $0.415 per share, or 9 percent. Heinz stock has hit a remarkable $50 per share—up to the highest price in about a decade.

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