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Hershey hikes prices, says commodities costs to blame

BY Jenna Duncan

LOS ANGELES Hershey Co. has said that it will raise prices of all of its goods in the United States by about 10 percent. The company cited the rising costs of basic ingredients such as cocoa, peanuts and sugar and the effect on its profit as the reason for the price hike.

“Consumers are likely to see higher every day and promotional retail prices as we implement the price increase and, as a result, we expect volume in the fourth quarter and next year to be lower than previously estimated,” the company said in a statement.

Reports have stated that grocery prices in the United States have risen roughly 6 percent this year. Hershey said that it expects to see the prices of many commodities double in the 2008 to 2009 time period, and is adjusting its prices accordingly. The costs of ingredients including cocoa, corn sweeteners, peanuts and sugar are up by 20 percent to 45 percent since the start of 2008, the company said.

The company said that its 2008 profits were expected to be on the low side of projections [$1.85 to $1.90 per share], and that cuts to sales and earnings for fiscal 2009, will drive the price of its shares down by 4 percent. Overall for 2008, the company said it expected net sales to have a growth of 3 percent or 4 percent.

Additionally, Hershey reduced it growth projection for 2009 form 3 percent to 5 percent down to 2 percent to 3 percent.

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Red Bull adds hybrid delivery trucks to fleet

BY Jenna Duncan

WARRENVILLE, Ill. Red Bull has announced the addition of four hybrid delivery trucks to its U.S. fleet. Brand-new Navistar International DuraStar hybrid trucks were delivered this week to the Red Bull Southern Nevada Distribution Center, to be driven for deliveries in and around the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Jim Williams, director of sales and distribution of new products at Navistar, the company that builds the hybrid delivery trucks said, “We’re proud that Red Bull recognizes the importance of green transportation for the environment. We need more companies like this to take a stance and add hybrid vehicles to their fleets.”

The hybrid diesel-electric trucks are capable of getting 30 percent to 40 percent better fuel efficiency. In addition, they release about 35 percent less nitrogen oxide and 33 percent less hydrocarbon emissions than regular diesel trucks.

Each truck will save Red Bull around $4,000 a year on fuel costs, the companies said.

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General Mills to sell Pop Secret to Diamond Foods

BY Jenna Duncan

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. General Mills today announced details of an agreement to sell its Pop Secret microwave popcorn business to Stockton, Calif.-based Diamond Foods for around $190 million. None of General Mills’ employees or plants will be affected by the sale because Pop Secret is manufactured at an outside facility, a company spokesperson said.

According to spokesperson Heidi Geller, the sale is part of a move by General Mills to reevaluate its priorities. Additionally, General Mills is also looking to sell its Nature Valley granola bar line and other grain-based snacks.

Diamond Foods, the creator of Diamond brand almonds and other snack nuts has said that it is very excited to add Pop Secret to its portfolio. The added brand will broaden Diamond’s presence in the snack aisle and the company expects to generate $85 million to $90 million per year from the sale of Pop Secret products.

General Mills is looking at a one-time $160 million profit gain, not including costs related to the costs.

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