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Coca-Cola profit leaps 19 percent in first quarter

BY Jenna Duncan

ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Co. said that profits rose 19 percent on a 21 percent increase in sales in the first quarter of its fiscal year, beating Wall Street predictions.

Revenues leapt to $7.38 billion from $6.10 billion at the same time last year, the company said. Net profit totaled $1.5 billion for the quarter, compared with $1.26 billion in the first quarter of 2007. Per share, first-quarter profits came in at 64 cents, compared with 54 cents per share a year earlier.

Coca-Cola also reported that case volume saw an increase of 6 percent during the first quarter worldwide.

Coca-Cola holds its annual meeting in Wilmington, Del., today.

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Nestle Chocolate to add rich, dark varieties

BY Jenna Duncan

LAUSANNE, Switzerland Nestle SA has announced plans to respond to demands from older buyers in many countries who crave darker chocolates, the Nestle’s head of chocolate operations, Petraea Heynike has said.

“Dark chocolate is a still-accelerating trend. Even countries which have no dark chocolate tradition are successfully introducing such products. ‘Premiumization,’ the move towards refined chocolate, is another important trend. In our strengthened focus on premium, we want to increase our use of high-quality raw materials and production methods,” she said.

Nestle’s presence in the global market, worth about $90.37 billion U.S.D. and showing growth of about 5 percent per year, annually, places the food company in second place with about 12.5 percent of the market (it is second to Mars Inc. which currently holds about 14.8 percent).

Nestle has launched more than 200 new chocolate products in the past few years, and is is the global leader in dark chocolate, Heynike said. Heynike and Nestle also emphasized the dark chocolate’s purported health benefits, citing data from Nestle’s research and development team.

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Ukrop’s appeals to shoppers to ‘go green’ with reward promotion

BY Jenna Duncan

RICHMOND, Va. Ukrop’s Super Markets is encouraging its shoppers to think about the environment when shopping for groceries.

From March 31 through April 26, Ukrop’s Valued Customer cardholders who buy specially marked “green” products and scan their UVC cards will receive a $0.05 bag credit and have the chance to win a $1,000 Ukrop’s gift card.

All 29 Virginia Ukrop’s stores will participate in the green promotion, which runs through the week of Earth Day [April 22].

Some of the items included in the campaign are Clorox Greenworks cleaning products, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products, Seventh Generation products, Ukrop’s All Natural bakery, meat or Spring Water products, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Julie Bishop, manager of culinary and wellness trends at Ukrop’s, said, “Ukrop’s offers our customers products and opportunities to ‘Go Green’ by recycling, eating eco-friendly, and keeping an eco-friendly home. We want to remind our customers that these small lifestyle changes and green choices can have a big impact on our community and our environment.”

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