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Candy category sees growth despite rocky economy

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO, MacLEAN and VIENNA, Va. Though many Americans are tightening their belts on luxury items and fuel costs, candy sales are staying strong, sources have reported.

According to statements from the National Confectioners Association, in the United States, candy sales brought in more than $29 billion in retail sales in 2007—a 3 percent increase from 2006.

The Nielsen Co. has reported that candy is virtually recession-proof, compared to other items such as carbonated beverages, tobacco and beer, because it is a less-expensive indulgence. Nielsen made the correlation that while consumers may avoid driving long distances for shopping trips due to increased gas costs, they are more likely to spend more money at their local drug and convenience stores on impulse-buy items.

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Heinz Ketchup receives top marks in brand equity, says Harris study

BY Jenna Duncan

ROCHESTER, N.Y. Harris Interactive today released the 2008 results of EquiTrend—a 28-year study of brand equity covering more than 1,000 brands and spanning 39 categories The study named Heinz Ketchup as No. 1 in brand equity.

The study said that Heinz Ketchup beat out other contenders like M&Ms, Hershey, Cheerios and Duracell in six base categories: brand expectations, distinctiveness, familiarity, purchase consideration, quality and trust.

The EquiTrend report also examined each category’s word of mouth marketing and identified certain demographic sub-groups that were most likely to participate in word of-mouth-marketing. For example, the restaurant category reportedly had high levels of word-of-mouth marketing.

“While there are many ways to strengthen the bonds between brands and their stakeholders, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the social networks to which stakeholders belong and how they operate, in order to proactively influence the spread of positive brand experiences and minimize the damage of negative experiences,” senior vice president of brands and communications consulting at Harris Interactive, Carol Gstalder, said. “This word-of-mouth marketing, combined with the historical brand equity tracking data in EquiTrend, provides a new way of looking at brands and their management in the context of a highly dynamic marketplace.”

Harris Interactive provides more EquiTrend information on brands and strategizing at its Web site, www.harrisinteractive.com/brand.

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Kellogg touts benefits of high-fiber diets

BY Jenna Duncan

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. According to Kellogg Co., the remedy for feeling “lighter” and more comfortable for many people is a high-fiber diet. Kellogg cited survey data coming from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that claims that as few as one-in-10 Americans get the right amount of fiber daily—25 to 30 grams.

To encourage more people to try diets high in fiber, Kellogg is giving its All-Bran Fiber Drink Mix and All-Bran Fiber Bars a boost.

“While new All-Bran Fiber Bars and Drink Mixes certainly taste great, we’re excited because they offer a substantial amount of fiber per serving fiber that many consumers aren’t getting enough of,” Dr. Jennifer Garrett, Kellogg’s director of nutrition marketing, said.

All-Bran Fiber Bars and Fiber Drink mixes 10 grams of fiber per serving. The fiber bars come in two flavors; apple cinnamon streusel and strawberry drizzle; drink mixes are available in iced tea and pink lemonade flavors and contain 20 calories per serving mixed with 16.9-ounce to 20-ounces of water. The fiber bars are made from wheat bran and whole grain rolled oats and contain 120-130 calories. All-Bran fiber products contain about three times the amount of fiber as leading fiber supplements [10 grams], according to Kellogg.

All-Bran high fiber bars and drink mixes are available in the diet and nutrition aisle at grocery stores across the United States.

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