CENTER STORE

Dr Pepper Snapple Group CFO to retire

BY Allison Cerra

PLANO, Texas John Stewart, EVP and CFO of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, announced his retirement Tuesday after three years with the company.

To facilitate the transition of his duties as CFO, Stewart has agreed to remain in his position until March 31, 2010. The company said it will conduct an external search for his replacement, and Stewart will assist in his successor’s transition.

“John has played a critical role in our successful business transformation from a subsidiary to a publicly traded company,” said Larry Young, the company’s president and CEO. “He has built a strong and highly effective finance and IT organization and has led significant improvements in our systems and controls. All of us at Dr Pepper Snapple thank John for his lasting contributions to our great business.”

Stewart has served as CFO since November 2006. Prior to joining the company, he was SVP and CFO of Diageo North America, a subsidiary of Diageo PLC.

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Smart Choices Program postpones active operations

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The Smart Choices Program announced Friday that it would voluntarily postpone active operations and not encourage wider use of the logo at this time by either new or currently-enrolled companies.

This move follows an announcement by FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg on Oct. 20, which said that the agency intends to develop standardized criteria on which future front-of-package nutrition or shelf labeling will be based. In a letter captioned, “Guidance for Industry” and posted on its Web site, the FDA stated: “We want to work with the food industry retailers and manufacturers alike as well as nutrition and design experts and the Institute of Medicine, to develop an optimal, common approach to nutrition-related FOP… that all Americans can trust and use to build better diets and improve their health.”

The Smart Choices Program was developed, in part, to respond to earlier governmental calls for a more uniform, voluntary, front-of-package labeling program. The program was developed during an open and lengthy collaborative process by a diverse coalition of scientists, nutritionists, public health and public interest organizations and food industry leaders. The program’s nutritional criteria are based on the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the labels comply with all U.S. laws and regulations.

The Smart Choices Program will also continue to work with those who have an interest in front-of-package labeling.

“Our nutrition criteria are based on sound, consensus science,” said Mike Hughes, chair, Smart Choices Program and VP for science and public policy at the Keystone Center. “But with the FDA’s announcement this week that they will be addressing both on front-of- package and on-shelf systems, and that uniform criteria may follow, it is more appropriate to postpone active operations and channel our information and learnings to the agency to support their initiative. The Smart Choices Program stands ready to work with and support the FDA, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Institute of Medicine in this effort.”

For additional information on the Smart Choices Program, visit www.smartchoicesprogram.com.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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Duane Reade chips in to health trend with DR Delish snack line

BY Barbara White-Sax

Duane Reade has joined the ranks of retailers beefing up their private-label consumables lines. The New York-based chain recently unveiled its DR Delish food-and-beverage brand with 25 new products. With the new introduction, the chain will phase out the Fifth Avenue brand it previously used for its private-label consumer packaged goods.

The launch includes four cookie varieties, six varieties of juices and four teas in gallon containers, Trail Mix Crunch and a selection of sweet and savory snacks.

The chain is aggressively marketing its brand’s point of difference. In-store signage will compare Delish products with leading national brands, and the chain’s circulars and Web site will feature the brand.

In developing the line, the chain has tuned in to what consumers want. The Delish launch contains all-natural, gluten-free and 100% vegan trail mixes, vitamin-enhanced teas without artificial colors or flavors, 100% juices, soy snacks without trans fats and baked potato crisps with zero cholesterol.

“We found that our loyal customer base wants tasty, quality food products, so we developed a brand that not only satisfies those wants, but does so in an exciting way that reflects the unique desires of New Yorkers,” said Joe Magnacca, Duane Reade’s chief merchandising officer. Magnacca said the chain expects to expand the brand to 100 products for the holidays.

Introductory pricing is sharp, at $1.99 for a 12-oz. package of cookies and gallon teas for $2.99. Pricing is likely to increase, but the line will continue to have a value focus.

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