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Jones Soda names Joth Ricci COO

BY Tara Smith

SEATTLE Jones Soda Co. on Thursday named Joth Ricci as its chief operating officer.

Ricci, 39, will join Jones Soda on Monday. He is currently general manager of Columbia Distributing Company, a beverage distributor based in Portland, Ore.

Peter van Stolk, the founder and chief executive of Jones Soda, recently stepped down. The company did not say why he left, but his departure came after three consecutive quarters of disappointing financial results. Jones also has been hit by several shareholder lawsuits claiming executives and board members pushed up the share price, then sold stock before poor first- and second-quarter earnings reports caused the price to plunge—claims which the company has denied.

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Frito-Lay’s snack production goes green

BY Tara Smith

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. Frito-Lay’s parent company, PepsiCo, is attempting to get its Casa Grande plant, used in the production of Doritos and Lay’s potato chips, to generate its own power and recycle water at the facility, a step toward “green” snack production.

“Our ultimate goal will be to get the plant off the water, natural gas and electricity grid … Creating a ‘net-zero’ environmental impact,” said Al Halvorsen, the energy and utilities manager for Frito-Lay.

Though company officials don’t have a cost estimate yet, they say the expense will be justified in what they learn about conservation. Though the company may not build another net-zero plant, they plan to take what they learn at the Casa Grande plant and apply that knowledge to its 37 other facilities in North America. Currently, the Arizona plant reuses its water to grow feed crops on some of its surrounding acreage.

To further conservation efforts, the plant will install a water-cleaning system that will allow it to reuse most of its industrial water to wash vegetables, a solar-power project is planned and the plant will incorporate a biomass-burning energy generator. Details as to whether Arizona Public Service or Frito-Lay will run the power facilities still are being worked out, according to Halvorsen. The final plan for the plant will be submitted to PepsiCo in March, with a “net-zero” operation expected to start running in 2010. The effort will add some marketing mileage for the company—the plant will add SunChips to its lines, providing a good tie-in for its solar project.

Some of the company’s other plants currently employ some efforts to save energy, including a Texas plant that burns landfill gas to heat its boiler and one in Connecticut that recaptures some of its heat to make steam. The company’s largest distribution center in the country, located near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, recently added a solar-power system. Dedicated to conservation since 1999, the company also is developing hybrid delivery vehicles.

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Kellogg introduces weight-conscious Special K variety

BY Tara Smith

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Breakfast cereal manufacturer Kellogg Co. has developed the new Special K Cinnamon Pecan cereal to help consumers better control their weight.

The company on Wednesday stated that this latest offering from Special K is a combination of light and crunchy cinnamon-flavored flakes mixed with real pecans that provides great taste while helping people manage their weight.

According to Jennifer Garrett, director of nutrition marketing at Kellogg, Special K Cinnamon Pecan “reinforces the brand’s commitment to providing weight managers with great-tasting foods that help them meet their goals without the feeling of sacrifice.”

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