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Pepsi designs lighter, more eco-friendly bottle for non-carbonated drinks

BY Jenna Duncan

PURCHASE, N.Y. Pepsi proclaimed yesterday it will begin bottling some flavored drinks in a new 500-mL beverage bottle made with 20 percent less plastic. Pepsi said the bottles will arrive in stores starting this month.

Pepsi will sell Aquafina Alive, Aquafina FlavorSplash, Lipton iced tea and Tropicana juice drinks in the lighter bottles. These selections will be available in 12- and 24-packs. Pepsi said about 20 million pounds of waste will be eliminated from entering the environment by the introduction of the bottles.

“As a company, we’ve challenged ourselves to consistently identify ways to lessen our impact on the environment and in this case we’re doing a little ‘plastic surgery,’” PepsiCo vice president of worldwide beverage packaging and equipment development, Robert Lewis, said. “We’re constantly striving to make our packaging an even smaller part of the waste stream and this new bottle is just one of many examples.”

Not only will the amount of plastic used in each bottle be reduced, Pepsi said, label sizes will also be reduced by 10 percent and shrink wrap film used to cover multi-packs will be lessened by 5 percent.

Pepsi said that a special team of experts from inside and outside the company were behind the project. After trying out more than 30 designs with consumer testing, a team worked to streamline the lightweight package that is now coming to the market.

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Tootsie Roll maintains independence during times of consolidation

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO The news of the pending sale of Wrigley to Mars this week has left speculators scanning the market for other independent confectioners who have withstood looming threats of consolidation. But one American candy industry stalwart, Tootsie Roll, seems to have no plans to sell any time soon.

Family-owned and led by 88-year-old chief executive officer Melvin Gordon and his wife, 76-year-old president Ellen Gordon, have been mum with their shareholders on the topic of selling.

Many shareholders, and even he company’s stock analyst, have indicated that they thought a sale such as the transaction that put Wrigley in the hands of Mars would be the best thing for Tootsie Roll. Some believe that leadership by an industry giant might help grow distribution and sales and keep the candy company afloat in a rough economy—especially in overseas markets where growth is projected.

Tootsie Roll reported that its profit fell by 22 percent last year and its first quarter of 2008 was even worse. The company said that it is suffering from the soaring costs of ingredients.

But despite its losses, the company has been moot on the topic of potential buyers and its current leadership appears to be firmly in place.

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Eagle Snacks may see a comeback

BY Jenna Duncan

CHICAGO Reserve Brands, a small Chicago-based start-up, has obtained the exclusive license to market Eagle Snacks, a brand whose familiarity is known by retailers and consumers across the country.

But what many consumers do not realize is that Eagle Snacks are not currently on the market, and haven’t been since Eagle was purchased from Anheuser-Busch by Procter & Gamble in 1996. Though the brand name is still easily recognized, its line of snacks hasn’t been in production for some time. The fact that Eagle’s absence has seemingly gone unnoticed might actually be a great “comeback” strategy for the brand, Reserve said. It plans to reintroduce Eagle Snacks to grocery and retail shelves later this year.

“When people say, ‘I didn’t even realize you can’t buy Eagle Snacks any more,’ you know you’ve got a business opportunity,” Reserve Brands president and chief executive, Scott Lazar, said.

Many consumers remember Eagle as the first brand to have snack nuts on airplanes, company spokespersons said. The name recognition will be a good thing, they said, for the company to introduce new products. Eagle plans to roll out two new product lines into Chicago-area Dominick’s stores later this year; Eagle Bursts and Poppers.

Reserve Brands’ goal is to reach $50 million in sales in its first year and to reach $100 million in sales in the next two to three years. After that, the company said, it plans to sell to a bigger player.

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