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Solo Cup Co. teams up with community improvement organization

BY Allison Cerra

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. Solo Cup Company announced plans for its partnership with Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest community improvement organization.

As a national sponsor of KAB and its Great American Cleanup, Solo be on-site at selected KAB cleanup events to educate consumer volunteers on environmentally preferable options in single-use tableware, as well as on recycling and composting. In addition, Solo will ask its employees to volunteer in the Great Solo Cleanup from March through June 2009, to help beautify the communities in which they live and work.

Great American Cleanup activities include beautifying parks and recreation areas; cleaning seashores and waterways; handling recycling collections; picking up litter; planting trees and flowers and conducting educational programs and litter-free events. The annual Great American Cleanup engages three million volunteers in more than 17,000 separate cleanup events, taking place March 1 through May 31, in all 50 states.

This year, Solo has donated thousands of cases of Bare by Solo products to help serve food and beverages to more than 100,000 Great American Cleanup volunteers across the country. The product contribution includes cups made with 20% post-consumer recycled PET plastic, paper cups made with 10% post-consumer recycled content, and plates made with bamboo and other renewable materials such as sugarcane and other natural fibers.

Bare by Solo is the industry’s first full line of eco-forward single-use products for restaurants and consumers made using recycled, recyclable, compostable or annually renewable materials. Bare by Solo products are available at Target stores and other retailers.

“Our partnership with Keep America Beautiful is in keeping with our goal to be an industry leader in environmental sustainability,” said Robert M. Korzenski, president and CEO, Solo Cup Company. “We want people to understand their options and the inherent trade-offs associated with each material and disposal options in their community so they can make informed decisions about what best fits with their priorities.”

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New super-premium Starbucks ice cream line to debut

BY Allison Cerra

SEATTLE Starbucks Coffee Company and Unilever are unveiling an ice cream line inspired by some of consumers’ favorite Starbucks beverages.

Starbucks ice cream, rolling into grocers nationwide will gain significant distribution in convenience stores and other mass retailers by early spring.

Created by culinary experts and food developers from both companies, Starbucks ice cream is made with high-quality, all-natural ingredients. The new Starbucks ice cream line is the result of an exclusive licensing agreement between Starbucks and Unilever for the product’s manufacturing, marketing and distribution.

Starbucks beverage flavors were selected for the line based on their popularity among consumers and their ability to complement the richness of super-premium ice cream. The line’s packaging design mirrors that of the iconic Starbucks cup, which is served at more than 11,500 Starbucks stores across the United States.

The new line features Coffee, Caramel Macchiato, Mocha Frappuccino, and Java Chip Frappuccino flavors. Flavors are available by the pint, single-serve cup or novelty bar, retailing at $3.99, $1.29, and $2.49, respectively.

“We want consumers to enjoy the Starbucks experience on their terms – in our stores, on the go or at home, through a variety of food and beverage offerings,” said John Culver, president, Starbucks Global Consumer Products, Starbucks Foodservice and Seattle’s Best Coffee. “We’re pleased to introduce the new Starbucks ice cream line in collaboration with a partner that shares our passion for innovation and our core values.”

The original Starbucks ice cream line was introduced in 1996, at which time it became a leader in the U.S. coffee ice cream category.

Meanwhile, Unilever and Starbucks; in alliance with PepsiCo, have agreed to enter a licensing agreement for the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of Starbucks super-premium Tazo Tea ready-to-drink beverages in the U.S. and Canada.

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Anheuser-Busch distributor brings new beverage to Southwest Missouri

BY Allison Cerra

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Innovative Beverage Group Holdings, Inc. announced Tuesday that it has signed a deal with an Anheuser-Busch supplier to expand distribution of its proprietary product, dubbed the “extreme relaxation beverage”, to the Southwest region of Missouri.

Wil Fischer Companies, a supplier in the region with exclusive rights to distribute Budweiser, has developed relationships with more than 750 on-and off-premise accounts including grocery chains, convenience stores, restaurants and other retailers in the region.

Innovative’s beverage, called drank, is the antithesis of an energy drink. It is a lightly carbonated beverage infused with melatonin, valerian root and rose hips to provide a relaxing effect.

Drank launched in select markets in early 2008.

“As the Anheuser-Busch supplier in Southwest Missouri, Wil Fischer Companies touts an extensive portfolio of solid relationships that they will be able to use to place drank on store shelves and refrigerator cases of many accounts across the region,” said Peter Bianchi, CEO of Innovative Beverage Group. “It is the personal relationships with their accounts that make well-respected local distributors like Wil Fischer the key to success for drank as it continues to grow nationally.”

Drank is currently sold in several major markets, including metropolitan areas of Houston, Las Vegas, New York, and more.

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