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CPG labels promote ‘Smart Choices’

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON —The Smart Choices Program labeling has gained support among major consumer packaged goods companies that are rolling out products featuring the program’s green check-mark icon on their packaging. The program, a voluntary front-of-package labeling system developed by a coalition of scientists, nutritionists, consumer organizations and food-industry leaders, was designed to help consumers make smarter food and beverage choices within certain categories.

Administered by the nonprofit American Society for Nutrition, the program grants the right to use the Smart Choices green check icon on products that meet strict criteria and display a calorie indicator. The program, which went into effect at the end of August, should bring clarity and consistency to nutritional labeling. By May 2010, more than 1,200 products should feature the symbol and calorie indicator.

More than 500 products from such CPG companies as General Mills, Kraft Foods, Kellogg Co. and PepsiCo already have qualified for the Smart Choices Program designation in the program’s 19 categories.

Unilever recently announced that several of its brands, including Ragu, Bertolli, Hellman’s, Skippy, Wish-Bone and Slim-Fast, qualify for the Smart Choices Program, and that packaging soon will carry the program’s check-mark logo. The company also plans to launch a consumer-education initiative called Become Label Conscious to promote the program.

Kraft Foods recently announced that it plans to become the first company to use the program’s nutrition criteria to identify which products it advertises to children ages 6 to 11. Kraft also will be rolling out products featuring the Smart Choices label, including Teddy Grahams and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Crackers.

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Bounty helps kids make ‘messterpieces’

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble’s Bounty brand unveiled the first Make-A-Messterpiece ultimate creative studio for kids.

Located in Glenview, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, Make-A-Messterpiece demonstrates Bounty’s commitment to encouraging creativity and curiosity for children in a fun, hands on way. Trusted by parents across America to clean up everyday messes, Bounty’s aim is to provide parents an opportunity to help their children express their curiosity and learn by doing, without having to worry about the cleanup.

The 10,000-sq.-ft. creative studio is home to five experiential art and science centers, including Bubble’ology, Experimentation Station, Drum Roll, Creative Kitchen and Little Sprouts, as well as open play areas. In order to establish a well-rounded selection of engaging activities that encourage children to make their own “messterpiece,” Bounty consulted leading industry experts such as child psychologists and development professors, to ensure each station encourages children to actively explore the world around them.

“At Bounty, we saw the Make-A-Messterpiece studio, along with the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation partnership, as opportunities to help children grow and learn by sponsoring fun, ‘hands on’ activities that encourage curiosity and creativity outside the classroom,” said Eric Higgs brand manager for Bounty. “It is our way of saying ‘never let messes get in the way of your children learning and trying new things.'”

Bounty’s sponsorship of Make-A-Messterpiece will be for a limited time only; after which, the brand will evaluate future possibilities to continue sponsoring the studio. For fun at-home art activities and more information on Bounty’s Make-A-Messterpiece creative studio, visit www.bountymakeamessterpiece.com.

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Drank expands distribution to San Diego

BY Allison Cerra

HOUSTON A relaxation beverage is rolling out in the San Diego market.

Innovative Beverage Group Holdings announced a partnership with 5 Star Beverage to distribute its proprietary product, Drank.

With more than 1,400 accounts, 5 Star Beverage is the premiere distributor responsible for satisfying the thirst of anyone in San Diego County. Drank joins other well-known products in 5 Star’s portfolio including Xyience Energy Drink, Sweet Leaf Tea, Myoplex, Designer Whey, and Xing Tea.

“By signing a distribution deal with 5 Star, which has established relationships with stores, schools, markets and more, we are now able to provide San Diegans with this popular beverage and a proven way to relax and take the edge off,” said Peter Bianchi, CEO of Innovative Beverage Group.

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