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MillerCoors to remove caffeine from malt beverages after industry crackdown

BY Melissa Valliant

CHICAGO Major beer manufacturer MillerCoors is removing caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng from its popular Sparks-brand beer due to the recently raised concerns over the potential adverse health effects of caffeinated alcohol. The two-year-old brand will be sold until MillerCoors’ current inventory is depleted, and the company will cease production by Jan. 10, 2009, at which point Sparks will be reformulated.

“Attorneys general from around the country are gravely concerned about premixed alcoholic energy drinks,” said Maine attorney general Steve Rowe. “They’re popular with young people who wrongly believe that the caffeine will counteract the intoxicating effects of the alcohol.” 

Critics also complained that MillerCoors, a joint venture between SABMiller PLC and Molson Coors Brewing Co., was marketing Sparks toward underage consumers, though MillerCoors president Tom Long denies these allegations. 

MillerCoors is not the first company to react to the pressure from health awareness groups; Anheuser-Busch announced it was removing the same ingredients from its malt beverage brands like Tilt and Bud Extra in June. 

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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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Kellogg asks consumers to share their ‘wake-up calls’ for weight loss in the new year

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Kellogg will be featuring a weight-loss resolutions message around its Special K brand to the millions of New Year’s revelers who will gather to see the ball drop in Times Square next week, according to a report in Advertising Age.

Messaging around Special K will remain on Times Square billboards through the first month of the new year.

It’s all part of Kellogg’s Special K “wake-up call” campaign, which includes an opportunity for consumers to spell out their own “holy cow” moment that alerted them to the fact that they needed to lose some weight at http://weightlossnew.doburu.com/wakeup/new_wakeup_call.php.

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