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Safeway, Warner Bros. partner on healthy foods for kids

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Bugs Bunny will soon stop lending his endorsements to junk food in Safeway stores. Instead, the cartoon rabbit known for his love of carrots will promote healthy eating along with the other Looney Toons characters, under a new contract between Safeway and Warner Brothers Consumer Products, Safeway announced Wednesday.

Warner Bros. will work with Safeway to promote healthy eating as part of the supermarket chain’s Eating Right Kids line of foods and beverages when the products are launched later this year. Eating Right Kids is an extension of the store’s Eating Right products for adults, which were launched last year.

The line will include more than 100 items across 30 categories that include breakfast foods, snacks, beverages and portable meals. The adult Eating Right line has more than 200 products across 30 categories.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products is a subsidiary of Warner Bros., which is part of AOL Time-Warner. Safeway operates 1,740 stores in the United States and Canada.

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Boo Koo works with Coca-Cola to launch beverage

BY Jenna Duncan

ADDISON, Texas Boo Koo Holdings beverage company today announced it will collaborate with Coca-Cola Bottling Co. to release its new beverage, BooKoo Burner+. Coke Consolidated plans to distribute BooKoo Burner+ to more than 2,000 convenience stores in and around Mobile, Ala., Nashville, Tenn., and Panama City, Fla.

BooKoo Burner+ is an energy drink with added protein as well as B vitamins, caffeine, ginseng and taurine for energy. Its protein source is 20 grams of whey protein per serving. The beverage also boasts zero sugar and provides two carbohydrates.

“The launch of BooKoo Burner [plus] through one of the largest bottlers represents a significant opportunity to rapidly penetrate the energy beverage market,” Steve Solomon, chairman of Boo Koo, said. “BooKoo Burner [plus] is a revolutionary development for the energy drink category. In the past, some people drank an energy drink as well as a not so good tasting protein drink. BooKoo has mastered the formula to provide both energy and protein in a great tasting beverage.”

BooKoo Burner+ will be available in three flavors: “dangerine” [raspberry with a blend of tangerine], “main lime,” and “pummelgranite” [pomegranate blended with blackberry]. All flavors will come in 16-ounce cans.

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New York announces cigarette tax hike

BY Jenna Duncan

ALBANY, N.Y. A statewide hike in cigarette taxes effective today drove the price of cigarettes in New York up $1.25 spike per pack. Officials said that the influx will bring an additional $265 million to the state in tax revenue per year.

Officials predicted that total cigarette taxes should generate about $1.3 billion for the state in fiscal 2008-2009.

New York health commissioner Richard Daines said, “This is a public health victory. We know one of the really effective tools to get people off of their nicotine addiction is to the raise the price.”

The total state tax per pack is set at $2.75, up from $1.50. Previously, the statewide average price per pack was $5.82, but that average l is slated to go up to $8. In most retail stores in New York City, smokers should expect to pay about $10 per pack.

Daines said officials estimated that approximately 140,000 New Yorkers will stop smoking due to the tax increase.

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