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Nestle Chocolate to add rich, dark varieties

BY Jenna Duncan

LAUSANNE, Switzerland Nestle SA has announced plans to respond to demands from older buyers in many countries who crave darker chocolates, the Nestle’s head of chocolate operations, Petraea Heynike has said.

“Dark chocolate is a still-accelerating trend. Even countries which have no dark chocolate tradition are successfully introducing such products. ‘Premiumization,’ the move towards refined chocolate, is another important trend. In our strengthened focus on premium, we want to increase our use of high-quality raw materials and production methods,” she said.

Nestle’s presence in the global market, worth about $90.37 billion U.S.D. and showing growth of about 5 percent per year, annually, places the food company in second place with about 12.5 percent of the market (it is second to Mars Inc. which currently holds about 14.8 percent).

Nestle has launched more than 200 new chocolate products in the past few years, and is is the global leader in dark chocolate, Heynike said. Heynike and Nestle also emphasized the dark chocolate’s purported health benefits, citing data from Nestle’s research and development team.

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Kraft Foods announces expansion of production plant

BY Adam Kraemer

DOVER, Del. Kraft Foods, the second largest food manufacturer in the world, announced Thursday it is adding 40 jobs and expanding production at its Dover manufacturing plant.

Kraft, the maker of Jell-o gelatins, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Maxwell House coffees, is directing about $40 million towards upgrading its Dover plant to up production of single-serving packets of its popular drink mixes, like Capri Sun, Crystal Light, Country Time, Kool-Aid and Tang.

The State of Delaware has awarded Kraft a $708,000 grant to help grow the 1-million square-foot plant and boost production.

The announcement for expansion comes at a turnaround from a couple of years ago when Kraft was closing manufacturing plants and cutting jobs. Nationwide, the U.S. has seen the loss of hundreds of manufacturing jobs in recent years.

The jobs that Kraft is adding will include operator and mechanic positions on the single-serve drink-mix production line. Kevin Ripley, the plant’s manager, said that the annual salaries of these jobs will be between $35,000 and $45,000. The Dover Kraft plant currently employs 520 people.

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Candy maker announces Baskin-Robbins soft candies to be sold in theatres

BY Jenna Duncan

MOORESVILLE, N.C. BestSweet confection maker has announced that a new line of Baskin-Robbins soft candy will soon be available in boxed form for the movies.

Brand manager, Mark A. Fields, said, “Given the buzz and success we received from the recently launched soft candy products, it was only fitting to also release it in the fun theater box format. We’ve witnessed fantastic growth of the theatre box packaging format across food, drug and mass channels, and with the recent product launch and changes we’ve been making to the line, the timing was perfect for those retailers looking to add unique theatre box items to their candy sets.”

The announcement to release the boxed soft candies was first made at the 2008 Winter Confectionery ECRM event, in Denver, C.O. during the week of Feb. 18 through 22.

The soft candies will be available in two flavors; mint chocolate chip and very berry strawberry ice cream flavors. The box comes in a 3.1 oz size and retails for $1.29. BestSweet says the boxed soft candies will be available in theatres May 2008.

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