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Coke announces distribution deal with Monster energy drink

BY Melissa Valliant

ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Company decided Monday to take a bite (or a gulp, rather) out of Hansen Natural Corporation’s Monster Energy drink brand. Though many predicted Coke would take an equity stake in the company, it instead agreed on a long-term distribution deal that includes Canada, six Western European countries and about half of the United States.

It’s no wonder Coke is reaching out for help, considering it’s own energy drink brand—Full Throttle—showed an 11 percent drop in traded shares in the first half of the year. Energy drink sales are higher than that of many beverage types, but consumers are replacing the major energy drink labels for independent ones. Only Red Bull surpasses Monster’s current sales, and Brandweek named Monster Energy one of its 2007 Marketers of the Year. Rockstar, with whom Coke has already made a similar deal, joins the two brands as the most popular in the energy drink segment but has showed a 0.3 percent volume drop.

“We do believe that CCE is better off with having a growing brand [Monster] in 50 percent of the U.S. versus having a declining brand [Rockstar] in 100 percent of the United States. We also believe that down the road the Coke system could potentially pick up the balance of the United States,” said Morgan Stanley analyst William Pecoriello.

Anheuser-Busch will be distributing Monster throughout areas not included in Coke’s deal.

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Kraft says it may cut hundreds of jobs at North American operations

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO Kraft Foods will be announcing closings to operations at many of its plants in North America, the company has said. Kraft has said that the move will be undertaken in an attempt to cut overhead, and will result in the termination of several hundred jobs.

Sources said that this will affect about one percent of the company’s work force in  North American. The cuts will happen across the United States and potentially at plants in Canada, too, a spokesman from Kraft told the media.

At the close of last year, Kraft employed 41,000 in the United States and the Canadian press has reported that about 7,000 people are currently employed by Kraft in Canada.

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R.A.B. Food Group adopts monicker ‘The Manischewitz Company’

BY Jenna Duncan

R.A.B. Food Group Monday announced that it would change its name to The Manischewitz Company. The company has come under new ownership and recently spent millions of dollars in upgrading a capital investment program as well as making upgrades to its production facility in Newark.

“We are excited about the name change, as it signals our move forward as a new organization, yet it reinforces our heritage and core strength in Kosher and the power of the iconic Manischewitz brand,” said company president and chief executive officer, Bruce Bossidy.

The company modernization project was led by The Manishewitz Company’s new vice president of operations, Randall Copeland. “We are very excited about the new team at our Newark facility led by [Copeland],” Bossidy said. “This change combined with our investment in the plant infrastructure is yet another testimony of our relentless efforts to continuously improve our quality, efficiencies and service to our customers.”

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