going green

Coca-Cola's Green Bottle Goes Back to School

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 2, 2012 12:01 PM

Two years ago, Americans were throwing away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour, according to SmartPlanet.com.

Coca-Cola, which is responsible for a good number of the beverage bottles floating around America, is trying to make its containers more environmentally friendly — as is its chief rival, PepsiCo, which is promoting its plant-based PET bottle.

The latest volley in the green bottle rivalry: Coke's marketers are touring college campuses, including visiting Alabama’s Samford University and other colleges in the South to “create awareness for their PlantBottle packaging initiative,” according to the Samford Crimson.

The college marketing tour will help Coke test consumer preferences among the all-important 18-24 demo for its eco-friendly bottles in Atlanta, Birmingham, and Nashville in three different beverage sizes: 12.5, 16, and 20 ounces.Continue reading...

package design

Judge Knocks Down FDA's Graphic Cigarette Warnings

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 1, 2012 05:28 PM

After being approved last June, gruesome images of a man exhaling smoke through a tracheotomy hole, blackened lungs, and an unborn baby suffering from smoke inhalation were slated to appear on cigarette packaging across America in September of this year, due to an order from the Food and Drug Administration.

But tobacco lovers were saved the pain of looking at such things by a judge on Wednesday, who said that the “images … violate free speech protected by the Constitution,” according to CBS/AP. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon had already temporarily blocked the requirement back in November, and the government is appealing his decision.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Ben & Jerry's Linsanity Flavor Leaves Bad Taste for Some

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 28, 2012 11:55 AM

The world is not tiring of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. And why should it? 

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last month, you are likely aware that the 23-year-old Harvard grad, who happens to be the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, surprisingly led the New York Knicks on a seven-game winning streak and has scored 17 0r more in nine out of the 11 games he’s started. His play has lifted the hopes of Knicks fans that their team can find some triumphs this season as well as in the playoffs.

With his success on the court has come a lot of off-the-court love and attention, of course, particularly from folks who’d like to stick his name on their products. Nike, not surprisingly, has stepped in to give him his own shoe deal. And now Ben & Jerry’s has released a limited-edition ice cream, according to the Boston Globe.

The new flavor, “Taste the Lin-Sanity,” is only being served at Ben & Jerry's Harvard Square "scoop shop" in Cambridge, Mass., which makes sense as Lin is an alum — although it would be a surefire hit in the NYC market, too. It was intended to be a fun tribute, although it proved uncool to a few who felt the ingredients were insulting. OK, racist.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Size Matters, Gets Pepsi and Coke Pulled From Shelves in UAE

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 20, 2012 04:02 PM

Coke and Pepsi have irked the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Economy to the extend that the country has kicked their soda cans from local store shelves, according to GulfNews.com.

At issue: UAE officials claim that the two cola companies reduced the size of their cans that sell for 1.50 Dirham (41 cents) and continued charging the same amount without informing consumers, which the UAE's consumer watchdogs sees as tantamount to "consumer fraud."Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Ben & Jerry's Launches Frozen Greek Yogurt

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 15, 2012 05:01 PM

Frozen yogurt? It's all Greek to Ben & Jerry's, evidently, as the Unilever-owned brand is jumping on the Greek Yogurt craze with a line of frozen Greek yogurt.

The Junk Food Guy blog got the scoop by sampling B&J's new Strawberry Shortcake Greek frozen yogurt flavor after spotting it at his local supermarket. His verdict: "very soft, fluffy, CREAMY, and not super sweet. The strawberry flavor was present but not overwhelming, and the little bits of strawberries added an accent here and there."

The description on the package, which features the brand's iconic jersey cow wearing a Greek laurel wreath and Greek yogurt as the second listed ingredient:

Sweet Eureka! It's our most epic Fro Yo yet & it's uniquely Greek! Made with real Greek Yogurt, it's all the creamy richness of Greek yogurt, and Ben & Jerrily loaded with all the flavor boldness and fun chunks you expect. We think it's really Greekin' good & it'll pretty much rock your acropolis. 

According to the On Second Scoop blog, the brand's updated Fro Yo line launches next week. Besides Strawberry Shortcake, other flavors apparently include Raspberry Fudge Chunk, Blackberry Vanilla Graham Cracker, and Banana Peanut Butter.

Take a closer look at the packaging, as photographed by the Junk Food Guy, below.Continue reading...

sip on this

Tropicana's Low-Cal Trop50 is a Rising Star for PepsiCo

Posted by Dale Buss on February 15, 2012 04:29 PM

With all the pontificating about the performance of traditional PepsiCo beverage brands such as Pepsi, it's easy to lose sight of a bright spot shining forth from the company's voluminous beverage portfolio, and one emanating from its controversial stable of better-for-you products as well: Trop50.

The low-calorie juice brand, sweetened with stevia and marketed in a campaign featuring 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski that originated in Canada, is headed to $300 million a year in sales after only three years on the market — a pittance, revenue-wise, compared with conventional orange juice, where PepsiCo's Tropicana brand is one of the leaders. But it's been an impressive ramp-up for a new product in a mature segment where all sorts of things have been tried before.

"We went after a segment who love the goodness of juice without also limiting calorie consumption," Kate Keller, Trop50's director of marketing, told brandchannel. "And they don't want to sacrifice the great taste of juice. They're getting the goodness of juice and taste and sugar at half the sugar and calories — it's pretty simple for them."Continue reading...

brand commentary

Walmart's New Healthy Labels: Great for You, or Great for Them?

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 9, 2012 06:15 PM

Built on the back of its ubiquitous retail operation, Walmart has become the largest grocer in the U.S. That position carries with it a certain responsibility, and Walmart is rising to the occasion. The company, for example, has been publicly acknowledged by the first lady, Michelle Obama, for its work in helping to encourage healthy eating and fight childhood obesity.

As we noted here earlier, Walmart's latest entry into the nutritional battlefield is a product labeling strategy it calls "Great for You." As the company explains, this "nutrition icon" will begin appearing this spring on foods that "meet rigorous nutrition criteria informed by the latest nutrition science and authoritative guidance from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Institute of Medicine (IOM)."

At first, the green "Great for You" labels, depicting a non-descript person with arms raised, will appear only on products within Walmart's own brands, Great Value and Marketside. Walmart claims, however, that it will allow other brands to make use of the label on products adhering to the same criteria with no licensing fee. In theory, this would help level the playing field between Walmart branded products and other brands sitting on Walmart shelves. But does it?Continue reading...

health matters

Walmart's "Great for You" Icon Promotes Healthier Food Choices

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 9, 2012 10:02 AM

The Food and Drug Administration said in 2009 that it was going to develop standards for what food products can claim to be healthy and what can’t. But there hasn’t been any kind of report as of yet, and Walmart has decided to stop waiting and make one of its own.

A year after pledging to develop a front-of-pack label that would give its customers an easier way to identify healthier food, and a month after a public commitment with First Lady Michelle Obama to putting nutrition front and center in its stores, the nation’s largest food retailer this week unveiled a “Great For You” icon to create a visual system to educate customers.

The Arkansas-based grocery behemoth announced this week that the seal will appear on a variety of house brand food items, with a WalmartGreatforYou.com website supporting the effort.

The green and white seal, "which shows the stylized outline of a human figure with its arms spread toward the sky, is part of a multiyear campaign the world’s largest retailer is undertaking to promote healthier products and fight childhood obesity," the Associated Press reports.

Walmart says it will adapt to whatever the FDA’s regulations are whenever that list actually is produced, but will for now add the icon to products with lower levels of fat, sugar, and artificial additives. Plus, the seal will appear on signage in the fruits and vegetable section of its grocery area.

“It helps customers see very, very quickly what healthier choices are for them,” stated Andrea Thomas, SVP of sustainability for Wal-Mart Stores. More details are in its press release below.Continue reading...

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