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Report: Costco’s donations to Washington state initiative break records

BY Alaric DeArment

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale’s donations to a Washington state voter initiative that would legalize liquor sales by private retailers have broken state records, according to published reports.

The Seattle Times reported that the $22 million the mass-merchandise chain spent on Initiative 1183 was the most any single donor had ever spent on an initiative. In addition, Safeway and Trader Joe’s each spent $50,000, while the Northwest Grocery Association spent $30,373, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, alcohol wholesalers, the Beer Institute and the UFCW Local 21 have donated to defeat the measure.

Washington is among the handful of states in which liquor may only be sold in state-owned liquor stores, due to laws that date back to the period following Prohibition, when alcohol sales were legalized but became subject to strict regulations.

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Dole introduces fruit smoothie shakers, frozen fruit single-serve cups

BY Allison Cerra

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Dole has boosted its frozen fruit offerings.

Dole fruit smoothie shakers and Dole frozen fruit single-serve cups are designed to provide consumers with new ways to enjoy the great taste of fresh fruit right from the freezer, Dole said.

“Now more than ever consumers are looking for a variety of options that fit into a healthy diet,” Dole Packaged Foods marketing director Paul Panza said. “By developing frozen products like our fruit smoothie shakers and frozen fruit single-serve cups, that are made with real fruit and all-natural ingredients, we can give consumers new and easy ways to add fruit to their diet — with the convenience and value they have come to expect from Dole.”

Dole fruit smoothie shakers, which are available in strawberry banana, strawberry and mixed berry flavors, carry a suggested retail price of $2.19. Dole frozen fruit single-serve cups, available in strawberry, pineapple and blueberry, carry a suggested retail price of $2.49 for a pack of two 3-oz. cups of strawberries or pineapple, and $2.79 for a pack of two 3-oz. cups of blueberries.

The new products are available at select retail outlets and select Walmart stores, with a national rollout slated for April 2012.

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Kraft Foods extends partnership with NASCAR, Stewart-Haas Racing

BY Allison Cerra

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kraft Foods said it will continue to serve as official partner of NASCAR, while two of its brands will continue to serve as associate sponsors for Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Kraft said its Oreo, Nilla and Nutter Butter brands serve as the "official cookies" of NASCAR, while its Ritz and Wheat Thins brands will serve as the "official crackers" of NASCAR. The Oreo and Ritz brands also will continue to serve as associate sponsors of Stewart-Haas Racing.

Kraft has been an official NASCAR partner since 2000.

“NASCAR has been one of our strongest strategic partnerships, and we are very pleased to continue our relationship with both the sanctioning body and with Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Michael Tilley, associate director of Kraft Foods consumer engagement. “NASCAR has been a much respected partner, aiding us in connecting with its many ardent fans across the nation. We look forward to a great year in 2012 with exciting activation plans.”

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