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Coke goes green with ‘PlantBottle’

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA Coca-Cola’s newest green initiative hit store shelves on Monday, the beverage maker announced.

The “PlantBottle” packaging, a recyclable plastic bottle made partially from plants, is now available in 500-mL and 2-liter sizes. For the PlantBottle packaging in the United States and Canada, up to 30% of the content in the PET plastic comes from plants.

Coca-Cola said its goal is to produce 2 billion of the by the end of 2010.

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New flavors, products help drive consumers ‘nuts’

BY Barbara White-Sax

Consumer interest in better-for-you snacks, and a stream of new product introductions from manufacturers, have led to continued growth in the nut category.

While nut category dollar sales overall only grew 2% in the drug channel for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 6, according to Information Resources Inc., the category has seen significant growth from new introductions from Planters NUTrition brand and Frito-Lay’s TrueNorth.

Chris Clark, a spokesman for the Snack Food Association, said new flavors, products and packaging have contributed to growth. “While category growth slowed last year compared to the rapid growth we had been seeing over the past few years, there’s still been a lot of action in the category,” he said. “Premium resealable pack aging, canisters and 100-calorie packs and new flavors—particularly spicy and sweet/savory combinations—also have contributed to category growth.”

TrueNorth has been a big hit in the category. IRI data indicated the brand, which includes nut crisps and nut and fruit clusters, has grown more than 170% since its launch last year. Katherine Ritchey, a spokeswoman for Frito-Lay, said consumers have responded to a healthy, great-tasting snack that’s 100% natural and offers 4 g of protein in each 1-oz. serving. “We’ve raised consumers’ expectations of what a nut snack can be,” she said. TrueNorth recently rolled out three new varieties: apple cinnamon and citrus burst clusters, and almond cranberry crisps.

Blue Diamond’s dollar sales were up nearly 37%, while Planters NUTrition brand surged 16%, according to IRI. Planters’ Daybreak Blend trail mixes, which combine granola clusters with dried fruits and nuts, have been popular. Planters also recently introduced Harvest 100 Percent Natural Nuts and Trail Mixes, mixes that are all-natural and have a lower sodium content than many other trail mixes.

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What’s Hot: Coke pops out slim can

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK —Addressing consumers’ desire for lower-calorie beverages and reduced-calorie portions, Coca-Cola has introduced a 90-calorie slim can version of its classic cola. The new cans contain significantly smaller servings than Coke’s traditional 12-oz. cans, which contain 140 calories.

The 7.5 fluid-oz. mini cans will be test marketed in Washington, D.C., and New York City in December. Coke plans to expand to a national rollout in March 2010 and to add 90-calorie cans of additional brands, including Fanta Orange and Sprite, as part of that rollout. All will be available in eight-can multipacks and will not be sold individually.

The introduction of the mini cans is “part of a broader effort to adjust to the demands of consumers trying to make better decisions,” according to a statement released by Coca-Cola.

Consumers have been migrating to lower-calorie beverages since the 1990s. Coke’s carbonated beverages were off 3% last year, according to the company’s 2008 annual report, and the percentage of noncarbonated and low-calorie beverages rose from 11% in 2000 to 22% in 2008.

Controlled portions have been successful in the snack category; it could be a smart strategy for keeping consumers interested in carbonated beverages as well.

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