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Holiday feasts get effervescent

BY Tara Smith

SEATTLE As of Sunday, ham- and Christmas tree-flavored sodas now are available in your grocer’s soda aisle, in addition to other holiday-themed flavors. Jones Soda Co., whose products feature original label art and odd flavors, is tackling traditional Christmas and Hanukkah feasts.

The Christmas pack will feature sugar plum, christmas tree and christmas ham and egg nog flavors, while jelly doughnut, apple sauce, chocolate coins and latkes will be the flavors included in the Hanukkah pack. According to the company, both packs are kosher—including the ham—and contain no caffeine.

According to the company, a portion of the proceeds from sales of the packs will be given to charity.

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New beverage company gets celebrity spokeswoman

BY Allison Cerra

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Entertainment legend Chaka Khan has been named the celebrity face of a new health beverage.

Purple, the antioxidant beverage chock full of rich berries, will be launched in the winter of 2007.

Chaka Khan will serve as a spokeswoman for the company and work directly with The Purple Beverage Company to develop musical events that benefit The Chaka Khan Foundation and The Purple Beverage Company’s various charity initiatives.

The announcement coincides with an additional announcement: Khan’s debut in the Broadway musical “The Color Purple.”

Purple is available in health food stores, restaurants, delis, drug stores, supermarkets and convenience stores in select cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

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Marketers are predicting sales of low-salt foods will increase

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Food marketers believe that reducing the salt in their products will ultimately boost up to more sales.

With baby boomers reaching their 60s, BrandWeek reported, marketers are being lead to believe that consumers are becoming more health-conscious.

The report also suggests, however, that the changing tastes of consumers is being overlooked, citing that Datamonitor Productscan Online reported that only 4.1 percent of foods today are making low-sodium claims, up from 2.5 percent in 2002.

While the low-sodium category is a slow-growing one, some companies, such as Campbell’s Soup, have invested millions in their campaign to cut sodium content in its food and beverage categories.

“We are focusing on how to lower sodium across our entire portfolio,” said Juli Mandel Sloves, senior manager of nutrition and wellness at Campbell. “The soup sales have exceeded our expectations and have been incremental to sales of our base brands.”

Food and beverage maker Del Monte introduced organic products three years ago, which has improved sales of low-sodium items. The company has 25 low-sodium or no-salt-added products across its portfolio. “The low-sodium/no salt business is small, only about 5 percent of our sales, but it’s growing,” said Apu Mody, senior vice president of consumer products.

As an accompaniment with the rapid increase of low-sugar products (specifically, cereals) that premiered on store shelves three years ago, this glacial-paced market may have consumers saying they want one thing and actually crave something else. But naturally, only time (and sales) will tell.

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