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Michael Season’s releases fat-free, all-natural reduced cheese puffs, pops and curls

BY Melissa Valliant

ADDISON, Ill. Many food manufacturers are attempting to find a happy medium between tasty and healthy, and Michael Season’s Feel Good Snacking brand aims for just that—in the form of cheese curls, no less.

Michael Season’s two new flavors of baked cheese puffs, baked white cheddar cheese pops and baked hot chili pepper cheese curls, are now available nationwide.

Both products contain completely all-natural products and have absolutely no additives, MSG, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, preservatives, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, wheat or gluten. Michael Season’s new baked white cheddar cheese pops are made with real white cheddar and, like the baked hot chili pepper cheese curls, contain half the fat of traditional cheese puffs or curls. Both products are priced at $2.59 per 4-ounce bag.

Michael Season’s released lite cheese puffs in July with 65 percent less fat than the original product. The company has also recently redesigned its baked cheese puffs, curls and pops packaging, adding new “mouth-watering” photos and an updated “Feel Good Snacking” logo.

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P&G unveils ‘Plush Potties for the People’ tour

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES Procter & Gamble recently unveiled its “Plush Potties for the People” tour in Santa Monica, Calif., a tongue-in-cheek media campaign featuring comedian Chelsea Handler to help support the need for cleaner and more accessible public bathrooms in the United States, and, of course, to use Charmin in those restrooms.

As part of the promotion, P&G is rolling out Charmin’s “Plush Potties”—free, family-friendly, and ADA stalls that include state-of-the-art toilets, faucets, sinks and sconces provided by KOHLER, a stainless steel baby changing station, fireplace, vanities and flat screen televisions. “To make sure the potties stay pristine, attendants dressed in Charmin clad tuxedos will clean the restrooms after every use,” P&G said.

“I’m excited to be putting my name behind this program, and helping Charmin with such a public need” said Handler, who is host of the hit show Chelsea Lately on E!. “As a frequent traveler, I’ve seen some nasty public restrooms, and it’s a horrible feeling to come out feeling dirtier than when you went in. With the ‘Plush Potties’ national tour, Charmin is finally offering the opportunity to go in style.”

“Charmin wants to bring the same premium experience it creates for consumers at home to those who are on the run and need a clean and accessible public bathroom,” added Jacques Hagopian, brand manager for Charmin. “The Plush Potties offer a comfortable and luxurious alternative compared to the standard public restroom.”

The “Plush Potties” tour starts in Los Angeles and will travel to Chicago Nov. 6 and Boston Nov. 10, leading up to the grand re-opening of Charmin Restrooms in New York’s Time Square this holiday season.

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Nestle Waters doing the best it can to be environmentally responsible

BY Melissa Valliant

GREENWICH, Conn. Nestle Waters North America is addressing criticism directed toward its packaging, which some say is environmentally wasteful. The company, which produces major bottled water brand Poland Spring, says it has been taking steps to ensure environmental friendliness; it just had never considered it necessary to speak up about its efforts.

Nestle Waters chief executive officer Kim Jeffery remembers when he first heard about Wal-Mart’s environmental initiatives and says he realized he could think of 10 similar things his company had done; it’s just that no one knew about them. For one, Nestle Waters had built LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) factories, as well as worked with vendors to reduce the amount of plastic in its Poland Spring, Deer Park and other spring water brand bottles. It had also worked toward building awareness and new solutions to increase recycling.

In 2007, the company eliminated 15 percent of their bottles’ weight, sparing 65 million pounds of plastic resin and decreasing energy production costs by 10 percent. Jeffery says he has become an “outspoken advocate of comprehensive recycling initiatives,” despite the fact that once the bottles is in the hands of consumers, his ability to get them to a recycling center is limited. Nestle Waters is currently working with the American Beverage Association to establish a model recycling program in Hartford, Conn. to raise recycling rates in the area. If successful, the plan will be expanded to other cities.

The company hopes to reduce its plastic bottles by another 15 percent by 2010, though it believes this last 15 percent is the furthest it can go in reducing weight and plastic resin in its bottles. It also plans on continuing its efforts to cut its transportation, production and water use. “Being environmentally responsible is part of our DNA and has been in the 30 years that I’ve been with the company,” Jeffery said.

“Obviously, protecting the source of our product is important to us. We wouldn’t have a long-term business otherwise.”

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