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Diamond Foods introduces chocolate almonds

BY Allison Cerra

STOCKTON, Calif. Diamond Foods announced Monday that it is getting even nuttier with its product lines.

The company, which manufactures the Emerald Nuts brand, will be adding Emerald Cocoa Roast Dark Chocolate Almonds to its product line in early 2008. The new offering marks an industry first among the national snack brands and compliments Diamond’s campaign as promoting nuts as a healthy source of natural energy, the company said in a release.

Emerald Cocoa Roast Dark Chocolate Almonds combine special dry roasted almonds with a rich dark chocolate flavoring, the company reports. One serving, which can be served by using the lid of the container is only 150 calories (the same number of calories as a handful of regular almonds) and is a low-sodium snack while also providing a great source of Vitamin E and protein.

“Consumers are looking for snack items that deliver an indulgent taste without the guilt,” said Andrew Burke, senior vice president of marketing, Diamond Foods. “Emerald Cocoa Roast Dark Chocolate Almonds delivers all the great benefits of Emerald’s dry roasted almonds with a light, sweet chocolate taste.”

The Emerald snack line, which has expanded from 14 to 23 products since its national introduction in August 2004, has distribution in approximately 84 percent of the nation’s grocery stores.

Emerald sales have grown 27 percent over the past year and a recently conducted Nielsen Study found that 77 percent of Emerald’s sales growth over the past year was incremental to the category. The brand has also found additional distribution in drug stores, convenience stores, club stores and mass merchandising outlets, and its availability is growing.

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Coca-Cola announces arrival of first hybrid trucks in its fleet

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA In an effort to go green, Coca-Cola is adding five hybrid-electric trucks to its distribution center in New York, according to published reports.

Currently, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises has two hybrid trucks in the Bronx facility, with three additional trucks scheduled for deployment in December. The five Bronx trucks represent the largest CCE hybrid-electric fleet of any city in the U.S.

Coca-Cola Enterprises said its Bronx sales center has a total of 90 trucks serving 8,700 customers in Manhattan and the Bronx, delivering more than 8 million cases of products annually. The hybrid-electric trucks use 32 percent less fuel than standard trucks and use technology to eliminate emissions when idling or in traffic.

The company also said it recently began installing an energy efficient lighting system at the Bronx facility.

Over the next year, another 120 hybrid-electric trucks are slated join Coca-Cola Enterprises’ fleet across the country.

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Hernquist adds another resignation to Hershey’s list

BY Allison Cerra

HERSHEY, Pa. Another Hershey executive is leaving the confectioner for greener pastures.

The company announced Friday that Thomas Hernquist, senior vice president and global chief growth officer, has resigned from the company, effective December 31, 2007.

“[Hernquist] has brought a tremendous passion to continuing our heritage of making a difference in the community and in leading industry efforts to drive positive change in the world’s cocoa-growing regions,” said chief executive officer Richard Lenny.

Hernquist joined Hershey in 2003 as senior vice president, chief marketing officer, where he led the growth in Hershey’s core brands and overall confectionery portfolio in North America.

Hernquist is one of several executives that resigned this year. The most recent resignation came from the company’s senior vice president and chief people officer, Marcella Arline.

Current chief executive officer Lenny will retire the same day as Hernquist.

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