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Coca-Cola gets eco-friendly with new ‘PlantBottle’

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Company unveiled Thursday a new plastic bottle made partially from plants.

The “PlantBottle” is fully recyclable, has a lower reliance on a non-renewable resource, and reduces carbon emissions, compared with petroleum-based PET plastic bottles.

“The ‘PlantBottle’ is a significant development in sustainable packaging innovation,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola. “It builds on our legacy of environmental ingenuity and sets the course for us to realize our vision to eventually introduce bottles made with materials that are 100% recyclable and renewable.”

The “PlantBottle” is currently made through an innovative process that turns sugar cane and molasses, a by-product of sugar production, into a key component for PET plastic. Coca-Cola is also exploring the use of other plant materials for future generations of the “PlantBottle.”

Manufacturing the new plastic bottle is more environmentally efficient as well. A life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College of London indicates the “PlantBottle™” with 30 percent plant-base material reduces carbon emissions by up to 25 percent, compared with petroleum-based PET.

Another advantage to the “PlantBottle” is that, unlike other plant-based plastics, it can be processed through existing manufacturing and recycling facilities without contaminating traditional PET. So, the material in the “PlantBottle” can be used, recycled and reused again and again.

Coca-Cola North America will pilot the “PlantBottle” with Dasani and sparkling brands in select markets later this year and with Vitaminwater in 2010. The innovative bottles will be identified through on-package messages and in-store point of sale displays. Web-based communications will also highlight the bottles’ environmental benefits.

“The ‘PlantBottle’ represents the next step in evolving our system toward the bottle of the future,” said Scott Vitters, director of sustainable packaging of Coca-Cola. “This innovation is a real win because it moves us closer to our vision of zero waste with a material that lessens our carbon footprint and is also recyclable.”

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Dr Pepper Snapple Group reports 37% jump in EPS for Q1

BY Allison Cerra

PLANO, Texas Dr Pepper Snapple Group reported a 37% increase in earnings per share for its first quarter 2009, the company announced Wednesday.

The company reported first quarter 2009 earnings of $0.52 per share, compared with earnings of $0.38 per share in the prior-year period. Excluding net gains related to the Hansen contract termination settlement and the sale of certain distribution rights in the current year period, as well as restructuring charges in the prior year period, the company earned $0.37 per share compared with $0.40 per share in 2008.

For the first quarter, reported net sales declined 3%. Excluding the loss of Hansen product distribution and on a currency neutral basis, net sales increased 4% on 6% sales volume growth and solid pricing actions. Net sales growth was negatively impacted by a higher mix of carbonated soft drink concentrates and value juices. Segment operating profit, as adjusted, increased 18% reflecting lower commodity and fuel costs, operating benefits from higher volumes and a strong cost control focus. Reported income from operations was $265 million, including $62 million of net pre-tax gains related to certain distribution agreement changes.

“While the U.S. economy remains weak, consumer sentiment appears to be improving and we’re continuing to see a shift in purchase habits toward CSDs and other value offerings,” said Dr Pepper Snapple president and CEO Larry Young. “Our portfolio of CSDs and value juices performed extremely well in the quarter led by strong gains in Crush distribution and Hawaiian Punch and solid Dr Pepper and Core 4 growth. Pressure remains at the premium end of the portfolio, especially with Snapple. We’re confident, however, that recent product and package changes coupled with strong marketing programs will return this brand to growth toward the end of this year.”

Young added, “As we look ahead, we see a North America beverage industry that will be markedly different, yet has the potential to reignite category growth. For DPS, this presents a unique opportunity to build upon our already strong growth prospects. This will require even greater attention to revenue, cost and productivity management and ongoing investments in our brands to ensure we capture our fair share of the growth.”

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Mars announces limited edition candies, marketing campaign

BY Allison Cerra

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. Mars Snackfood announced Monday the availability of limited-edition M&M’s Strawberried Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies and Snickers Nougabot Bar to celebrate the June 24 release of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” from DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, in association with Hasbro, Inc.

Mars also will be rolling out a “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”-themed marketing campaign in support of the limited-edition products, including:

  • Action film director Michael Bay is putting his signature touch on a dramatic television commercial in which animated M&M’s brand characters, “Red” and “Yellow,” team up with the popular Autobot Optimus Prime, to deliver the M&M’s Strawberried Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies to stores around the country. The commercial will debut on June 1, 2009.
  • Michael Bay himself will become an M&M’s character for a new “Inner M” print ad that will be featured in June issues of Entertainment Weekly, Us Weekly and USA Weekend. The print advertising is an extension of the brand’s “Inner M” equity campaign which encourages Americans to find their fun side and embrace their “Inner M.”
  • Consumers will be able to join “Red” and “Yellow,” as well as other “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” characters on a digital scavenger adventure on www.mms.com, as well as other sites throughout the Web, beginning May 19, 2009.
  • Kyle Busch’s No. 18 M&M’s car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will sport a special “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”-themed paint scheme during the June 21, 2009, race at Infineon Raceway, where Busch took the checkered flag last year. The special paint scheme features movie title decals on the hood, trunk and TV panel and the M&M’s brand “Red,” “Green” and “Yellow” characters modified into “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” characters.

“This campaign with the iconic M&M’s brand is a great way to build even more excitement about the new installment of the ‘Transformers’ movie franchise with consumers everywhere – from the grocery store, on their computer screens and even at the racetrack,” commented LeeAnne Stables, EVP Worldwide Marketing Partnerships for Paramount Pictures.

The M&M’s Strawberried Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies feature smooth peanut butter and sweet strawberry flavor surrounded by a colorful M&M’s candy shell. The M&M’s Strawberried Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies are offered in singles (1.4 oz) and medium bags (11.4 oz) and retail for $.79 and $3.49, respectively.

 

In addition to M&M’s, Mars’ Snickers brand is launching a limited-edition Snickers Nougabot Bar with yellow nougat and dark caramel to resemble the colorings of one of the  Autobots named Bumblebee. The packaging includes images of the Bumblebee character as well as “Bits & Bytes” “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” movie and Snickers candy trivia. The Snickers Nougabot Bar is available nationwide in singles for $.79.

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