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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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Coca-Cola gears up for Olympics

BY Jenna Duncan

ATLANTA Coca-Cola is launching a new “Connect with the world over a Coke” campaign, with ads starring six American, to be launched May 19 and run during the Olympics in August. The campaign consists of ad spots, limited-edition Coke cans and a new Web site, MyCoke.com.

During the Olympic Games this summer, Coke will run ads featuring basketball player LeBron James; U.S. gold medalist for swimming, Natalie Coughlin; triathlon runner Andy Potts, and others, to form a “six-pack” of athletic stars.

Coke said it will alternate the can designs every 2-3 weeks, something competitor, Pepsi, often has done in the past. Additionally, fridge packs of Coke, bottle labels and individual cans will feature the Coke logo in different languages, such as Ethiopian, Mandarin and Russian.

Hendrick Steckhan, president and general manager of sparkling beverages of Coca-Cola North America, said, “By combining Coca-Cola cans in different languages with six amazing athletes, we’ve created a program that celebrates global communities coming together and the unifying spirit of the Olympic Games and Coca-Cola.”

Targeting teenagers, MyCoke.com will become an “online Olympic destination” where guests can download digital assets, design virtual Coke bottles and enter a sweepstakes to spend times snowboarding with Gretchen Bleiler, Olympic gold medalist.

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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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