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Unilever may be considering full purchase of Bertolli

BY Jenna Duncan

LONDON Unilever is looking at sales and licensing options for Bertolli Italian, a line of olive oils and balsamic vinegars, sources said Wednesday.

According to reports, Unilever is interested in holding on to the Bertolli brand because of successful sales of Bertolli sauces, spreads and snacks. However, the Anglo-Dutch mega-company would most likely parcel off the olive oil refining part of the Bertolli, but maintain the brand name’s license for its own use. Unilever is currently reviewing Bertolli’s business for possible sale of its holdings. However, sources say the company will not rule out keeping Bertolli, if no suitable offers are made.

“We are exploring some strategic partnership opportunities for Bertolli olive oil and vinegar,” one Unilever spokesperson said.

Unilever said last summer it planned to sell slow-growing businesses with more than $3 billion of annual turnover. This plan included selling Boursin French cheese, Lawry’s marinades and spices business, its North American laundry unit and other lesser-growing companies.

Bertolli’s annual sales have been reported at around $465 million. Sources said that Unilever could receive around $310 million from a sale of for its work on the group’s restructuring program. Unilever will announce results of its first-quarter fiscal 2008 today.

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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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Nestea announces new packaging, products

BY Jenna Duncan

ATLANTA Nestea has given its line of iced tea products a new look and its green tea citrus and diet green tea citrus teas now have the power of 50 percent more antioxidants than before, the company said yesterday,

To stay competitive in the growing ready-to-drink tea segment, Nestea revamped its green tea citrus and diet green tea citrus teas to now contain 96 milligrams of flavonoid antioxidants per eight ounces.

Independent research, the company said, shows that the RTD tea category was up in sales by 24 percent last year, and green tea sales, specifically, provided two-thirds of that category’s growth.

Nestea said the growth in retail sales, plus increased consumer education about the health benefits of tea, were the reasons for its recent launch.

“With over 50 years of brand equity and consumer trust, our products blend the natural goodness of tea with natural fruit flavors to offer consumers a refreshing experience to immediately revitalize their day,” Coca-Cola North America’s senior vice president/general manager of coffee and tea, Penny McIntyre, said. “We have reinvigorated the brand with a new look and new green tea formulations—with superior taste and more antioxidants to appeal to consumers seeking a delicious green tea.”

The newly packaged Nestea flavors are available nationwide at convenience stores, drug stores, retailers and supermarkets.

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