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Mars, NASCAR re-sign contract for marketing partnership

BY Jenna Duncan

MOUNT OLIVE, N.J. Mars North America announced that it will continue its partnership with NASCAR to marketing select products and candies. The companies made the announcement Monday to extend their alliance into a multiyear deal.

Mars has said that it will continue to cultivate relationships that support its outreach to racing fans through 2009.

Some of the Mars/ NASCAR joint sponsorship marketing events and activities for 2009 include: an M&Ms “Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR Contest” to run for 24 weeks with a launch at the Daytona 500; A Pedigree contest called The Luckiest Dog of NASCAR to kick off in April at the Pedigree-sponsored Taladega races; Snickers NASCAR sponsorship in stores nationwide; and Combos will launch a NASCAR-themed “Man Zone” promotion incorporated into packaging which will feature appearances at 10 race tracks into the beginning of the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season.

To find more information on Mars/NASCAR promotions and events, go to www.mms.com/us/racing.

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ConAgra Foods, Constar receive award for Hunt’s Ketchup bottle design, production

BY Jenna Duncan

OMAHA, Neb. ConAgra Foods and Constar International have received the 2008 WorldStar Award from the World Packaging Organization for ConAgra Foods’ 46-ounce Hunt’s Ketchup bottle which is made using Constar’s DiamondClear PET technology, the companies announced Friday.

“At ConAgra Foods, we’re focused and committed to utilizing new and better packaging materials that are environmentally friendly and designed for better recyclability,” ConAgra’s VP of sustainability and channel development, Gail Tavill, said. “We’re proud to receive this prestigious WorldStar Award for our Hunt’s Ketchup bottle.”

ConAgra’s Hunt’s ketchup bottle has also been recognized with a “top sustainable packaging” AmeriStar Award in 2007 from the Institute of Packaging Professionals and a second-place AmeriStar Award in the food category.

Constar’s DiamondClear PET technology has helped ConAgra Foods cut the weight of its 46-ounce ketchup bottles by 12 percent, reducing packaging waste. The reduced-weight bottles also can be recycled.

ConAgra Foods has made a commitment to reducing food packaging waste. In August, the company started to use post-consumer recycled plastic to make frozen meal trays for its brands such as Banquet, Kid Cuisine and Healthy Choice. The company has said this will reduce new plastic waste in landfills by 8 million pounds per year.

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Fresh & Easy, Aldi stores lower prices on select holiday food items

BY Jenna Duncan

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets and Aldi stores have cut prices for holiday grocery shopping items now through Dec. 24, the companies announced this week.

For store brand items such as Fresh & Easy frozen green beans, smoked bone-in ham and Fresh & Easy pecan pie, prices have been reduced by 50%. Holiday groceries at Aldi have also been reduced to prices around 50% below competitors’, Aldi representatives said.

“With everyone trying to stretch budgets this holiday season, we are giving even better deals on our high-quality products so our customers don’t have to compromise,” Simon Uwins, Fresh & Easy CMO said.

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