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Tobacco maker proposes boosting products beyond cigarette category

BY Jenna Duncan

RICHMOND, Va. Altria Group yesterday told shareholders that in order to keep business flowing it plans to expand beyond cigarettes to other tobacco categories.

Cigarette sales have failed recently and the company attributed this decline to concerns about health, price increases and sweeping smoking bans.

“As the company looks to the future, it has clear recognition of the fact that conventional cigarettes are harmful in society and we’d like to make some progress on improving that situation,” chief executive Michael Szymanczyk said.

Cigarette sales will continue to drop 2.5 percent to 3 percent in the next few years, analysts have predicted. Altria said it will modify products based on consumers input to try to counter that loss, the company said.

The Altria Group is made up of cigar manufacturer John Middleton, Philip Morris USA, Philip Morris Capital Corp. and a 29 per cent stake in London-based SABMiller PLC, brewer of Miller beer. Sales for this period totaled $4.41 billion, up nearly 3 percent from $4.3 billion at the same time last year.

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Nestle, Jamba Juice team up to release ready-to-drink beverages

BY Jenna Duncan

EMERYVILLE, Calif. Nestle USA and Jamba Juice have announced that a new line of Jamba ready-to-drink beverages are now available in major retail stores in eight western United States.

“This is the first step in our strong partnership with Nestle,” senior vice president of marketing and brand development at Jamba, Paul Coletta, said. “Our teams continue to work together on future product extensions that will build and drive the synergy of Jamba retail and ready-to-drink.”

Jamba Smoothies and Jamba Juicies, made with real fruit and fortified with added nutrients, are now available in some Jamba Juice store locations, as well as major drug, grocery and retail chains like Albertsons, Ralph’s, Raley’s, Target and Walgreens, and some convenience stores.

“The response from accounts has been outstanding,” Steve Presley, Nestle Beverage Division vice president, general manager premium ready-to-drink, said. “They recognize the value and growth potential that Jamba RTD brings to the super premium juice category.”

Jamba’s ready-to-drink product line includes Jamba Smoothies flavors banana berry with heart healthy nutrient boost, orange dream machine with an immunity nutrient boost and strawberries wild with an energy boost. In addition, three Jamba Juicies are also on shelves, including mango orange peach with a fiber boost, orange strawberry banana with a protein boost and very berry with a calcium boost.

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Kellogg to temporarily revive Hydrox

BY Jenna Duncan

NORTHFIELD, Ill. Kellogg’s long-beloved, now discontinued, chocolate cookie, Hydrox, will again be gracing retail shelves late this summer.

Hydrox was discontinued in 2003, giving in to sales of long-time rival cookie Oreo. But Kellogg said it will bring Hydrox back and it will be sold across the country for a limited time starting in August.

A spokesman from Kellogg told the press that the company has decided to initiate a temporary relaunch of Hydrox following an overwhelming customer response to the cookie’s discontinuation, including a petition launched by one Web site that collected more than 1,000 signatures requesting the return of the cookie.

The company has not promised the relaunched cookie will come from the original recipe. Kellogg has already made one change—the new cookie will be trans fat-free, the company has said.

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