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Strawberry Frog tapped for Frito-Lay True North launch

BY Tara Smith

NEW YORK Frito-Lay on Tuesday tapped independent New York agency Strawberry Frog to serve as creative agency of record for its upcoming True North line of healthy snacks.

A spokeswoman for the Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay confirmed the agency will handle creative duties for the new nut-based snack line, which is expected to launch nationally in second quarter 2008.

Frito-Lay is reaching beyond parent PepsiCo’s advertising holding company of choice, Omnicom Group, by taking on Strawberry Frog, but both Omnicom and Frito-Lay said Strawberry Frog’s entry onto the PepsiCo roster has no bearing on the long-standing holding-company/marketer relationship.

“Nothing about this that is violation of our relationship with PepsiCo,” an Omnicom spokeswoman said. A Frito-Lay spokeswoman said: “PepsiCo continues to work with the Omnicom family of agencies, which provide the company with a great pool of talent.”

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Caffeinated Snickers Charged satisfies hunger, boosts energy

BY Tara Smith

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. Snickers Brand today announced the introduction of Snickers Charged, the first candy bar from the brand that provides a boost of energy with caffeine.

Containing 60 mg of caffeine, taurine and B-vitamins, Snickers Charged gives consumers a boost in energy and satisfies hunger cravings. “Snickers Charged offers consumers a bar of substance and a delicious and satisfying way to tackle the afternoon hours when one needs to ‘re-power,’” said Michele Kessler, vice president, marketing, Mars Snackfood U.S.

The introduction is yet another in a wave of caffeine-infused products, which include gum, lip balm, mints and even soap. With more than 80 percent of American adults consuming caffeine each year, the market for caffeinated products continues to expand.

Now available in select food, mass, club, convenience and drug stores through March 2008, Snickers Charged comes in a 1.83-ounce single pack, comprised of one bar, and retails for $.65.

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Lindt, Callebaut post strong sales figures

BY Tara Smith

ZURICH Swiss chocolate makers Lindt & Spruengli and Barry Callebaut today are posting strong sales figures as both benefit from a growing taste for premium-quality products.

Full-year sales at Lindt & Spruengli, whose products include Lindor pralines and gold-wrapped Easter bunnies, are expected to rise 14 percent to $2.68 billion, thanks to buoyant demand in the United States and Britain. The group has benefited from increased consumer spending on indulgence foods and has tapped into a growing appetite for premium and dark chocolate, noting strong demand for its Creation 70 Percent and Excellence products.

Analysts expect the group’s sales figures to put a stop to the downward trend seen in its shares, which have lost some 15 percent this year amid fears the United States is heading toward a recession. The company said a U.S. slowdown would likely have only a limited impact on the chocolate market.

Meanwhile, shares in Barry Callebaut have shed only around 3.6 percent of the 42 percent gained in 2007 as investors appreciate the company’s clear business prospects. The world’s largest chocolate maker is expected to post an 8 percent rise in first-quarter sales to 1.34 billion francs, boosted by a trend among the largest food companies to outsource chocolate production as a result of soaring prices for ingredients. Barry Callebaut has won contracts from Nestle, Cadbury and Hershey Co. and the group has said this trend looks set to continue.

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