CENTER STORE

‘Crave the wave’ with a new energy drink

BY Allison Cerra

LAKEVILLE-MIDDLEBORO, Mass. A new energy beverage and a spokesperson with pizzazz are coming to a major city near you.

Ocean Spray, accompanied by fitness guru Richard Simmons, will be embarking on a three-city “Ring in Spring Natural Energy Tour” to reenergize Americans. The company will unveil full-scale Cranergy Fuel Stations in Miami, Chicago and Philadelphia to dispense free samples of its Cranergy Energy Juice Drink.

According to a study from Yankelovich MONITOR 2008, 50% of Americans are reportedly too tired to do the things they enjoy. Between Simmons’ pep and the invigorating taste of Cranergy Energy Juice Drink, the tour will give Americans the healthy lift they need to enjoy the extra hours of daylight this spring.

Ocean Spray Cranergy Energy Juice Drinks are made with green tea extract, which is a natural source of caffeine; five B-vitamins, which support healthy energy production; and vitamin C, which can help boost immunity.

While Simmons invigorates the crowd with his lively aerobics routines and spirited panache, fuel station attendants will pump more than 70,000 samples, amounting to more than 5,000 gallons of Cranergy Energy Juice Drink as well as distribute Ocean Spray’s Craisins Sweetened Dried Cranberries 100-Calorie Packs.

Coupons for Cranergy will also be available nationally at www.cranergy.com.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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Pillsbury kicks off annual baking contest

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Pillsbury wants consumers to get their bake on by enterting their annual bake-off contest.

Creative home cooks must enter online at www.bakeoff.com or via the Spanish language site www.quericavida.com between now and April 20, 2009, for a chance at the million-dollar grand prize. Four recipe categories define the kinds of recipes consumers should submit for the Bake-Off competition, including appetizers, breakfast, dinner and dessert.

General Mills, along with returning contest sponsors General Electric, The J.M. Smucker Company, Eggland’s Best, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Fisher Nuts, and new sponsor The Hershey Company, will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the venerable Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.

This year’s contest provides consumers with extra ingredients for their use, courtesy of the contest sponsors, and also will give them a chance to help determine 10 of the 100 final recipes.

The contest finals will take place April 11 to April 13, 2010, at the newly built Waldorf-Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek hotel in Florida.

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Dr Pepper Snapple Group reports earnings in Q4

BY Allison Cerra

PLANO, Texas It’s sweet to be Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc.

The company’s adjusted quarterly profit topped analysts’ estimates on Thursday, helped by higher-than-expected concentrate sales, which sent shares up 9%.

The soft drink maker also forecast a full-year profit that could top analysts’ estimates as its brands, which include 7UP, Dr Pepper and A&W, outperform the overall industry as cash-strapped consumers seek out value-priced drinks. Fourth quarter net sales rose 3%, as sales volume rose 1%.

Segment operating profit increased 4%, reflecting continuing strength in the company’s carbonated soft drinks business.

“Our (carbonated soft drink) case volume contracted only slightly at a time when liquid refreshment beverages declined low single-digits,” CEO Larry Young said.

The company also reported that it generated $709 million of cash from operating activities. Since its separation from Cadbury in May 2008, the company has repaid $395 million of principal of its floating rate term loan, covering both its 2008 and 2009 obligations.

DPS’s forecasts full-year earnings of $1.59 to $1.67 per share, excluding a one-time gain of 12 cents per share related to the termination of a contract with Hansen Natural Corp, owner of Monster Energy Drinks.

Meanwhile, DPS reported a fourth quarter 2008 loss of $2.44 per share, compared with earnings of $0.54 per share in the year-ago period, which Larry Young noted was caused by the current economic climate and the “weak demand for [our] premium products.”

“In our first year as a public company, and in what is arguably one of the toughest economic environments on record, we are proud of what we have accomplished so far,” Young said. “With the U.S. economy facing its worst recession in postwar times and rising unemployment rates, consumers have dramatically changed the way they shop. Value, quality, product satisfaction and increased at-home usage are key factors in purchasing decisions.”

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