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Coca-Cola aims to expand tea business

BY Tara Smith

DAVOS, Switzerland Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest soft drink company, is expanding its tea business and will look at acquisitions to improve its position.

Like arch-rival Pepsi-Co, Coca-Cola has suffered a domestic slowdown in sales of its soft drinks as consumers move toward such healthier options as bottled water or tea. The company’s U.S. Group already has a strong position in water, currently ranking third in the world, helped by last year’s acquisition of Glaceau.

Chief Executive Neville Isdell told Reuters Wednesday that “Tea is a priority area. Tea is one area where we’ve seen our performance has not been as good as we would like it to be.” Isdell has declined to comment on reports the company may purchase or invest Honest Beverages, maker of Honest Tea.

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Strawberry Frog tapped for Frito-Lay True North launch

BY Tara Smith

NEW YORK Frito-Lay on Tuesday tapped independent New York agency Strawberry Frog to serve as creative agency of record for its upcoming True North line of healthy snacks.

A spokeswoman for the Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay confirmed the agency will handle creative duties for the new nut-based snack line, which is expected to launch nationally in second quarter 2008.

Frito-Lay is reaching beyond parent PepsiCo’s advertising holding company of choice, Omnicom Group, by taking on Strawberry Frog, but both Omnicom and Frito-Lay said Strawberry Frog’s entry onto the PepsiCo roster has no bearing on the long-standing holding-company/marketer relationship.

“Nothing about this that is violation of our relationship with PepsiCo,” an Omnicom spokeswoman said. A Frito-Lay spokeswoman said: “PepsiCo continues to work with the Omnicom family of agencies, which provide the company with a great pool of talent.”

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Caffeinated Snickers Charged satisfies hunger, boosts energy

BY Tara Smith

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. Snickers Brand today announced the introduction of Snickers Charged, the first candy bar from the brand that provides a boost of energy with caffeine.

Containing 60 mg of caffeine, taurine and B-vitamins, Snickers Charged gives consumers a boost in energy and satisfies hunger cravings. “Snickers Charged offers consumers a bar of substance and a delicious and satisfying way to tackle the afternoon hours when one needs to ‘re-power,’” said Michele Kessler, vice president, marketing, Mars Snackfood U.S.

The introduction is yet another in a wave of caffeine-infused products, which include gum, lip balm, mints and even soap. With more than 80 percent of American adults consuming caffeine each year, the market for caffeinated products continues to expand.

Now available in select food, mass, club, convenience and drug stores through March 2008, Snickers Charged comes in a 1.83-ounce single pack, comprised of one bar, and retails for $.65.

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