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Frito-Lay releases TrueNorth nut snacks

BY Jenna Duncan

PLANO, Texas Pepsi’s Frito-Lay snack chip business has unveiled a new plan to stretch business in the snack nut segment by launching TrueNorth, a line of all-natural nut snacks.

The company said that it is unveiling three varieties of TrueNorth snack nut items; nut clusters, nut crisps and nut crunches. Each contains 5 grams of protein per 1-ounce portion.

Regan Ebert, vice president and general manager of Frito-Lay North America, said, “While consumer demand for the nut category continues to be positive, the options have been limited and uninspiring. TrueNorth creates nut snacking options that range from reinventing the traditional to new twists that feature nuts as a crisp, which is reminiscent of a cracker.”

Frito-Lay has said that it plans a full marketing campaign to launch TrueNorth, including print and TV ads, free samples and free-standing marketing inserts.

TrueNorth nut snacks are available at select retailers for $3.29 per bag. A full nationwide rollout will occur in the second quarter 2008.

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Kraft Foods unveils plans to sell off Post cereals

BY Jenna Duncan

NORTHFIELD, Ill. In a statement released Monday, Kraft Foods’ board of directors announced the company’s plan to sell-off all outstanding shares of Cable Holdco, the Kraft subsidiary responsible for the company’s Post cereals business.

Kraft announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to distribute and merge its Post cereals into Ralcorp Nov. 15, 2007. But news of the split-off was announced in connection with the merger of Cable Holdco and Ralcorp Mailman LLC, a subsidiary of Ralcorp Holdings.

The exchange is expected to be tax-free to Kraft shareholders for U.S. tax purposes. The offer will expire at the closing date of Post/Ralcorp merger. That date should be announced in the coming weeks. The transactions face regular closing procedures one of which is approval by Ralcorp’s shareholders.

Kraft shareholders will also be granted the choice whether to exchange Kraft shares for Cable Holdco common stock, [then immediately exchanged for shares of Ralcorp common stock, just after the Cable Holdco/Ralcorp Mailman merger]. Outstanding shares of Kraft will be reduced as a consequence.

About 30.4 million shares of Cable Holdco will be offered in trade for Kraft common stock. Other conditions apply to the exchange, as well.

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Private label sales increase as budgets tighten

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Private label foods are making inroads as consumers’ budgets become tighter, Citigroup said Tuesday following a conference call with Tom Pirovano, director of industry insights for Nielsen.

Private label product sales have increased by 10.2 percent at drug stores, as well as 8.9 percent at grocery stores and 10.4 percent at Wal-Mart. Pirovano said during the call that Wal-Mart had become a benchmark retailer in private labels by keeping prices for its private label products low compared to branded products and private-label products from other retailers.

The shift to private labels has been most dramatic in foods that have seen the largest increases, such as eggs, milk and cheese. Sales were lower in processed foods.

At the same time, however, makers of branded food products have been trying to compete by adding extra features such as nutritional enhancements, changing quantities or making the products safe for the microwave.

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