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Kraft signs Euro RSCG for salad dressing brand marketing

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK Kraft Foods has reeled in the Chicago branch of Euro RSCG to work on its direct marketings, events and interactive campaigns for promoting Kraft salad dressings, reports said Tuesday.

Several digital and interactive companies, such as Digitas, Momentum and Razorfish, had split duties on different interactive and event-oriented campaigns. Digitas and Momentum will still handle in-store marketing and promotions and some online media marketing, but much of the salad dressing marketing will be rolled into work by Euro RSCG, Kraft has said. The deal will earn Euro RSCG about $2 million, reports said.

Euro RSCG’s New York and overseas branches have worked on marketing projects for Kraft’s Lu, Ritz and Triscuits brands.

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BJ’s Wholesale Club reports 3Q results; plans expansion

BY Jenna Duncan

NATICK, Ma. In its third quarter company call, BJ’s Wholesale Club executives told stockholders that the company is planning for greater expansion over the course of the year than previously considered.

BJ’s will open three more stores by the close of the current fiscal year, and, the company plans to open eight new stores in fiscal 2009, the company said.

In the conference call, the company said that net sales for third quarter 2008 totaled about $2.4 billion, up13.4 percent from third quarter 2007. The hike in gas prices padded net income so the total reported for third quarter was $28.2 million, up from $22.7 million at the same time the year prior.

Same store sales, not including gas, were up 6.6 percent, total comp increase of 11.9 percent, the company said. The wholesale chain reported that food comp sales were up 11 percent. General merchandise sales were down 1 percent, the company reported.

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Global Probiotics Council announces grants for probiotic research

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The Global Probiotics Council, a committee formed by Groupe Danone and Yakult Honsha, on Monday announced the availability of two grants for the second annual Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research.

Each Young Investigator Grant will provide $50,000 over one year. This year, the grant focus is on the role of probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota in health and disease. The grants are designed to contribute to the advancement of probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota research in the United States and to attract promising, young researchers into this field of study.

“Groupe Danone and Yakult Honsha are committed to benefiting human health by advancing research on probiotics,” said Sven Thormahlen, executive vice president of research and development for Danone Research. “We established the GPC to raise awareness of probiotics and their health benefits through science-based education.”

Researchers applying for this grant must be interested in understanding the health benefits of probiotics and the relationship between probiotics, gastrointestinal microbiota and the body.

Probiotic research is a key expertise of Danone Research, the companies stated. Over the past 90 years, Danone has amassed a collection of approximately 3,500 lactic bacteria strains or “cultures.” In addition to taste and texture, some of these cultures provide probiotic health properties. Such is the case of Bifidobacterium animalis DN 173 010, used to produce Activia, and Lactobacillus casei DN 114 001, used to produce DanActive.

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