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Cheese gaining popularity in the snack category

BY Melissa Valliant

PLYMOUTH, Wis. More and more consumers are saying “cheese,” according to the NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y. Their statistics show that 4.5 percent of the population is snacking on tasty wedges and slices, compared to 2.5 percent a decade ago. Cheese sales have skyrocketed 9.5 percent from last year’s figure of $779 million to this year?s figure of $853 million for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 4.

Major cheese manufacturers Kraft and Sargento are catching on. Sargento is using the holiday to encourage rising cheese sales. This season, Sargento will be selling holiday-shaped cheese cubes, including snowflake and Christmas tree shapes. Kraft has developed in-store, four- to twelve-foot long cheese displays and plans to include these cheese snacking centers in 1,000 of its stores by the end of the year.

“We feel cheese represents an untapped opportunity in terms of the overall snacking trend, but also because cheese is a wholesome snacking alternative,” Tyler Williamson, brand manager for Kraft’s cheese business unit said. 

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Several food producers to adopt front-of-pack nutrition labeling

BY Jenna Duncan

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., and MINNEAPOLIS Unilever and General Mills today announced positive actions towards adding front-of-pack nutrition labels to their products.

General Mills and Unilever both signed on as “likely implementers” of the program which advocates adding food nutrition information, such as calorie content and other details of additives and ingredients, to front-facing labels. The labels are part of the Smart Choices Program, a system of nutrition labeling developed by academics, food and beverage manufacturers, health organizations, retailers and scientists.

Unilever has been a participant in the Keystone Food and Nutrition Roundtable which launched its “Eat Smart/Drink Smart” initiative in the United States and globally with the Choices Programme.

The Smart Choices Program symbol will be added to packaging by participating food companies in 2009.

More information is available at www.smartchoicesprogram.com.

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Atkins, Powered partner to launch social community supporting healthy lifestyles

BY Jenna Duncan

AUSTIN, Texas Social networking marketing program create, Powered, and Atkins Nutritionals have announced a partnership to produce and launch an onine tool for Atkins diet participants called The Atkins Community (http://community.atkins.com). At the Atkins Community site, dieters can interact with their peers as well as communicate with nutrition experts to get diet support, advice, exchange personal stories and search for content to learn more about the Atkins method of weight management.

“We are very pleased to introduce The Atkins Community which includes exciting new content and functionality to help Atkins site visitors connect more deeply with each other and the Atkins brand—all in a very measurable, programmatic fashion,” Ken Nicolson, chief executive officer of Powered said. “The Atkins Community is a testament to Atkins’ forward-thinking vision and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them to intelligently evolve their community over time.”

The Atkins Community features three main components:

• Ask & Answer: Dieters may contact nutritionists with diet-specific questions and receive responses quickly online.

• Rate & Review: Users are encouraged to peruse and try Atkins products, such as diet shakes and nutrition bars, and log their opinions about each product.

• Read & Learn: Users are invited to sign up for online nutrition classes and have hands-on access to participate in the “Nutritionist Blog.”

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