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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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Shamrock Farms launches new product line nationally

BY Melissa Valliant

PHOENIX Arizona-based dairy brand Shamrock Farms is releasing a new single-serve “mmmmilk” line throughout select national markets in October. The company’s popularity has been on the rise recently due to its role as the official milk of SUBWAY restaurants, and its various flavored lines have been increasingly appearing in vending machines all over the country.

Shamrock Farms currently produces portable, 12-ounce containers of whole white, whole chocolate and 2 percent reduced fat white, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. On-the-go Shamrock Farms milk will be available through Kroger and Marsh in Charleston, W.V.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Roanoke and Richmond, Va.

“We have a strong brand with on-the-go functionality, compelling graphics, and even a sassy spokescow, Roxie,”” said Sandy Kelly, direcot rof marketing for Shamrock Farms Dairy Division. “This product delivers fun flavors and the great taste kids love without compromising the nutrition parents demand. Our single serve milk line has proven to be a real stand-out in the dairy case.”

The company plans on utilizing print, radio and in-store POS advertising to gain national interest in the new line, sampling the product at high-traffic locations and promoting it through sponsored sporting events.

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Diamond Foods acquires Pop Secret, makes plans for marketing

BY Melissa Valliant

SAN FRANCISCO Diamond Foods, marketer of Emerald brand snack nuts, is popping into the microwavable popcorn segment with its recent $190 million acquisition of Pop Secret, currently the No.2 microwavable popcorn brand.

Emerald brand snack nuts transformed the snack nut category in 2004 with resealable lids, different packaging, new flavors and heavy ad spending. Diamond Foods has the opportunity to do the same with Pop Secret. Diamond Foods chief executive Michael Mendes plans on catering the new advertising campaign to younger consumers through different flavors and packaging, and, according to Investor’s Business Daily, a series of national TV ads will be aired soon. The company intends to spend between $26 million and $29 million on advertising this year and expects to gain $85 million to $90 million in annual sales with the addition of Pop Secret.

“The microwave popcorn market has been pretty stagnant over the past few years, with little money spent on marketing,” analyst Mark Argento of Craig-Hallum Capital Group said. “There’s a big opportunity to re-grow the category with some marketing dollars and product improvement.”

Diamond Foods’ microwavable popcorn possesses high selling potential because of its location in the snack aisle, often adjacent to the snack nuts, and because retail buyers often have control over the purchasing of both snack nuts and popcorn. Both products also have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration.

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