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Nielsen predicts sharp spike in beer purchases for Memorial Day holiday

BY Jenna Duncan

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. The Nielsen Company predicts that consumers will spend around $381 million on beer (more than 21 million cases) at supermarkets during the Memorial Day holiday. This period is the second most popular season of beer sales in the U.S., following July 4.

The two weeks surrounding Memorial Day account for around 5 percent of annual beer sales, based on volume. In 2007, the season garnered sales of $380.8 million, or 21,534,727 cases, at supermarkets nationwide.

Nearly 35 percent of annual beer sales happen during the summer. Around half of summer beer sales are premium brands, Nielsen said.

“Summer is a hot time for beer retailers,” The Nielsen Company’s vice president of client service, beverage alcohol, Nick Lake said. “Beer is popular with consumers during the Memorial Day holiday and summer as it is generally more portable than wine or spirits, making it easier to take to outdoor parties, picnics and barbeques. Beer retailers can take advantage of this opportunity by understanding what types of beer their consumers are looking for and promoting a well-stocked selection of beer in their stores.”

According to Nielsen, Millennial consumers, buyers in the 21­30 age range, prefer to buy beer over other types of alcohol. Millennials also are more likely than older generations to try different flavors and types of beer, and are more likely to buy imports and craft beers.

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Mars Snackfood revamps Texas plant to use greener fuel

BY Jenna Duncan

WACO, Texas Mars Snackfood yesterday announced a new plan to go green by incorporating methane gas from a local landfill into one of its plant’s energy supply. The gas will be piped to a boiler and help to fuel production operations at the plant.

During a public ceremony yesterday, the company released a public-private partnership plan between the plant and landfill to span about a decade. The methane gas recycling efforts should have great environmental benefits in the long-run, the company said. The methane could provide about 60 percent of the plant’s boiler fuel requirements for up to 25 years, according to Mars.

Todd Lachman, president of Mars Snackfood U.S., visited the plant, as well as government officials from all levels and Waco business community members.

This particular Mars plant produces Skittles, Snickers and Starburst candies.

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Smucker buys Knott’s Berry Farm

BY Jenna Duncan

Knott’s Berry Farm, maker of jams, jellies, preserves and gift sets, has been bought out by J.M. Smucker, ConAgra Foods today announced.

Details of the transaction have not been released, but ConAgra has said that the sale will not affect its 2009 sales and profit growth projections. The acquired business is expected to add approximately $40 million in annual net sales to the J.M. Smucker portfolio.

The buyout does not include the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park, located in Anaheim, Calif. That property is owned by Cedar Fair L.P., a publicly-traded company based in Sandusky, Ohio.

Sources said that production of Knott’s Berry Farm food products will transition to Smuckers’ facilities during the course of the next four months.

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