PepsiCo Changes Oil in India, Sheds 'Snack Smart' Logo

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 27, 2012 02:02 PM

For a few years now in India, PepsiCo has been making its snacks with rice-bran oil, a fact that allowed it to stick a “snack smart” logo on the packaging. After all, the snacks then “had 40% less saturated fat, zero trans fats and no added monosodium glutamate,” the Economic Times reports. The publication notes that the company made various pronouncements “across various multimedia campaigns” about the oil switch back in 2007.

Well, that was then. Recently, the company didn’t bother to use those various multimedia campaigns to let folks know about a different switch: a return to the original, cheaper palm oil. It simply removed the logo from such products as Lay’s chips, Krukure, Uncle Chipps, and Cheetos.

Three officials tell the Times that the switch was driven by a cost-saving measure — stop using the pricier rice-bran oil because it wasn't driving sales. No rice bran oil; no snack smart logo. "Our analysis of consumer feedback on the use of rice bran oil showed that the consumer did not show any added preference to the use of rice bran oil," a PepsiCo spokesman told ET.Continue reading...

shopper insights

Nestle Researchers Prove Our Eyes Are Bigger Than Our Stomachs

Posted by Dale Buss on March 15, 2012 02:02 PM

Turns out those CPG and QSR brands that advertise pizza drenched with cheese and crisply frosted doughnuts know exactly what they're doing. According to a new study conducted at Nestle's research center in Switzerland, images of high-calorie foods make whatever follows into our mouths taste better — even if it's metal.

That's right. A team led by Dr. Julie Hudry identified previously unknown brain mechanisms of "visual-gustatory sensory interactions" involved with food enjoyment. They found that visual food cues are important as a determinant for "food rewards."Continue reading...

package design

Heinz Squeezes Packet Sizing

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 9, 2012 11:01 AM

Hot dogs and apple pie are supposed to be all-American, right? So H.J. Heinz wants to make sure all Americans can actually put some ketchup on their dogs (and boost their own bottom line, too, naturally). 

After supersizing its ketchup packets in 2011, the 149-year-old company has just announced that it “is introducing smaller sized Heinz pouches that will cost 99 cents for a 10-ounce pack” in order “to lower the entry price for price-sensitive consumers in times of tough economic conditions,” according to Forbes.com.

In addition, Heinz is getting out of the frozen-meals business and put more emphasis on the frozen-snacks biz, which is a $200 million business in the U.S. alone.

Heinz’s bigger packs of ketchup won’t be going doing in price, though, but will continue to have a lower price per ounce than the smaller packs, Forbes notes. The adjustments in difficult financial times have already paid off.Continue reading...

health matters

Brown Out: FDA Lobbied to Ban Colas' Caramel Coloring Over Cancer Concerns

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 8, 2012 11:58 AM

When the news came out of the state of California a year ago that the stuff that makes your cola beverage brown has been linked to cancer, there were a number of consumers that likely didn’t put their change into the vending machine that day.

The amount of that compound (4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI) in soda would cause the state to need to put warning labels on all of its cans, NPR reports. This, in turn, led to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to lobby the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “ban ammonia-sulfite caramel color,” according to NPR. Coke Clear, anyone?

While the cola companies and caramel manufacturers are obviously stating that there is no validity to these claims, the FDA is also chiming in that this could be much ado about not much. In any event, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, which account for almost 90% of the U.S. soda market, have tweaked their formulas in compliance with the Californian law — averting the need to add a cancer warning label.Continue reading...


British Retailers Balk at Cigarette Sale Legislation

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2012 02:35 PM

There is a worldwide battle against cigarette marketing going on and the British government has doubled up on rulings in order to keep them out of the eyes of consumers.

Starting April 6th, the UK government stipulates that retailers that runs stores larger than 280 square meters must keep cigarettes hidden from consumers and only expose them while making the sale or cleaning off the shelf that they are on, according to FreshBusinessThinking.com. “Price lists and posters, necessary because customers will not be able to see the products, have to be in a specified font and font size,” according to the Dec. 2011 tobacco display guidelines.

The effort to hide the smokes will cost retailers an estimated £15.6 million ($20.6 million), but there has been an outcry from the British Retail Consortium because the government is also “considering the possibility of plain packaging for tobacco products.”Continue reading...

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...

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