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ENGOBI caffeine-infused snack chips land in city markets

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK ENGOBI snack chips infused with caffeine will broaden their distribution to include nine more U.S. cities on the East Coast and in the South during the next month, the company said.

Following successful taste tests in New York City, ENGOBI is launching a campaign with a tour van and “ENGOBI girls” who will appear at select public areas to hand out samples of the new snack chips and provide Guitar Hero video game demos.

“ENGOBI is rocketing off New York City shelves as soon as it’s stocked,” vice president of Rudolph Foods, the maker of ENGOBI, Mark Singleton said. “When we saw the way typically jaded New Yorkers are reacting, we knew it was time to pack up the ENGOBI van and give crunch lovers outside Manhattan the chance to tank up on the tastiest, crunchiest energy source around.”

ENGOBI is available in two flavors cinnamon surge and lemon lift. The name of ENGOBI’s national campaign is “Don’t Be a Piano Hero,” and it features an interactive Web site at ENGOBI.com and a contest with a top prize of a custom-designed, Xbox 360-enabled, Fender Stratocaster guitar, among other prizes.

A single-serving bag of ENGOBI (1.5 oz.) contains about 140 mg of caffeine—more than twice as much as the average energy drink. ENGOBI will be available at convenience stores and some grocery stores nationwide. The suggested retail price is $1.29 per bag.

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Belgian Bulcke accepts challenge of heading Nestle

BY Jenna Duncan

VEVEY, Switzerland Paul Bulcke, former executive vice president and director for Zone Americas: United States of America, Canada, Latin America, Caribbean for Nestle has been named the successor to departing chief executive and chairman, Peter Brabeck.

Bulcke told the media that he was ready for the challenge of heading up the world’s largest food maker.

“I like action,” Bulcke told London’s Telegraph. “What you have to do, you do. If it looks simple that is good, because if it is not, then it doesn’t work.”

Bulcke’s strategy of simplicity relies on the company’s four key strengths and driving growth in four further areas; namely, Nestle’s product portfolio (29 brands), research and development, global presence and workforce. Nestle is also making strides in emerging markets, nutrition, premium products and the out-of-home market.

Bulcke said, “The vision of Nestle is to be the leading nutrition, health and wellness company in the world. When you have a good vision you don’t change it dramatically each year.”

Facing the rising costs of commodities, Nestle’s approach has been to cut costs, reformulate products and pass on price increases early. Bulcke said that he believes prices will normalize in the near future, and that there is no “economical reason why the price of a product doubles in two months.”

One of Brabeck’s last moves before leaving his spot as chief executive officer was to sell Nestle’s majority ownership in eye-care business Alcon to Novartis for almost $39 billion.

For the first quarter ending in 2008, Nestle reported growth of 9.8 percent as a group, and 9.8 percent in food and beverage along. Nestle currently employs about 280,000 worldwide.

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Fewer retail chains stocking cigarettes

BY Jenna Duncan

SAN FRANCISCO A couple of weeks ago, Mayor Gavin Newsom proposed a ban forbidding drug stores from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products and the proposal seems to be gaining popularity with Northern California government, as well as across the nation.

Newsom said he was confident that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors would approve his legislation to ban tobacco product sales from drug stores this month or in June. The proposed ban would then go into effect Oct. 1. Similar bills are now pending in states like Illinois, New Hampshire and Tennessee. A proposed bill in New York covers not only all pharmacies, but also big box stores, like Wal-Mart.

New York assemblyman, Sam Hoyt, indicated that it didn’t make sense for drug stores, places designed to promote health and wellness, should stock cigarettes. “It just seems inappropriate that on the other hand, they sell something that kills,” he said.

The majority of U.S. pharmacies no longer stock tobacco products. But many drug stores currently dominate the market.

That is changing lately, however, as more and more retailers are deciding not to sell tobacco products. Target stopped carrying tobacco products in 1996, Wegmans ended its sale of the products in February, and New York-based Budwey’s and DeCicco Family Markets, have followed suit as well.

So far in San Francisco, locally-based Andronico’s stopped carrying tobacco products in February, and a number of San Francisco-area ShopRites ended their tobacco sales in March.

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