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Report: Pepsi onto the ‘next’ best thing

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Pepsi is gearing up to launch a low-calorie soft drink, according to published reports.

The beverage maker will debut Pepsi Next, which will tout 60 calories per 12-oz. can, Beverage Digest reported last week. The beverage could be the company’s way of meeting diet soda drinkers half way.

Pepsi’s portfolio of beverages includes its namesake, Pepsi Max, Pepsi Natural, Pepsi One, Pepsi Throwback and Pepsi Wild Cherry, as well as diet and caffeine-free varieties.

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New Uncle Ben’s campaign underscores family togetherness

BY Allison Cerra

RANCHO DOMINGUEZ, Calif. — A rice brand has kicked off a global campaign that encourages families to eat healthier and come together for meals.

Uncle Ben’s Begin with Ben campaign, which debuted in Europe and Canada earlier this year, has made its way to the United States. The campaign emphasizes home-cooked meals and simple solutions to make meals healthier by adding rice to a meal.

"Our new global creative campaign starts with a very simple insight that regardless of culture or cuisine, meals that begin with rice tend to be healthier meals, thus providing a very simple solution for consumers," said Tim Snyder, VP marketing of Mars Food, Uncle Ben’s parent company. "When consumers ‘Begin with Ben,’ they and their families are embarking on a culinary journey that can tempt their taste buds while providing a nutritious foundation for healthy rice-based meals."

For more information about Uncle Ben’s brand products, recipes and nutrition information, visit UncleBens.com and "like" the brand at Facebook.com/UncleBen’s.

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Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle packaging for Dasani, Odwalla debuts

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA — Coca-Cola’s 100% recyclable beverage packages have premiered on store shelves.

The company’s Dasani and Odwalla brands’ single-serving bottles now will feature PlantBottle packaging, which is touted as the first-ever fully recyclable plastic beverage bottle produced using plants.

Coca-Cola said that in 2010, more than 2.5 billion PlantBottle packages were available across nine countries. For 2011, that number is expected to double to more than 5 billion PlantBottle packages in more than 15 countries.

“It’s our goal to make traditional plastic bottles a thing of the past and ensure that every beverage we produce is available in 100% plant-based, fully recyclable packaging,” said Scott Vitters, general manager for the PlantBottle packaging platform at Coca-Cola. “The national launch of Dasani PlantBottle packaging represents an important step toward reducing our carbon footprint, and the up to 100% plant-based, recyclable packaging used for Odwalla is the first of its kind in the beverage industry.”

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