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Men turn to chocolate as comfort food just as often as women

BY Melissa Valliant

WATERBURY, Vt. Movies often portray broken-hearted and stressed out women gorging themselves with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, chocolate cake or a gargantuan bag of M&Ms, but it seems they aren’t the only gender with a serious sweet tooth. According to a Brand Keys survey, men are hitting the office vending machine more than usual, due to financial and business-related stress, recent survey results collected by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company said.

All 750 men who participated in the Ben & Jerry’s survey reported eating more chocolate in the survey taken Friday through Sunday.

“There’s so little that one can actually do about the economy, and people are feeling so disconnected from the problems and the solutions that it was just interesting to see how consumers were reacting,” Robert Passikoff, president of customer loyalty firm Brand Keys, told the press. “Buying a candy bar is in fact something they can do.”

Chocolate is known for its many health benefits, despite its high amount of calories and fat. Besides the obvious advantage of being absolutely delicious, chocolate contains antioxidants and sends endorphins that reduce pain and decrease stress to the brain. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter used in many antidepressant medications, also affects the brain, often producing a more cheerful, upbeat mood.

On the other hand, a somewhat recent study by the Black Dog Institute in the Journal of Affective Disorders claims that chocolate may actually make depression worse, depending on the individual’s personality. If you’re simply a chocolate craver, you’re safe. For cravers, chocolate stimulates the dopamine system and provides an enjoyable experience, said Professor Gordon Parker, executive director of the Sydney-based Black Dog Institute. “But the emotional eaters, people who eat chocolate to relieve boredom, stress or clinical depression, are looking for an opioid effect to improve their mood.” For them, chocolate may produce an initial relief that quickly disappears, sometimes heightening their earlier, negative mood.

So what kind of guilty pleasures are people reaching for? The 750 men surveyed preferred Snickers over any other. The top ten were:

1. Snickers

2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

3. Kit Kate Bars

4. Milky Way

5. Butterfinger

6. Baby Ruth

7. Three Musketeers

8. Mars

9. Oh Henry!

10. Hershey

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Progresso removes MSG from all Progresso soups

BY Melissa Valliant

MINNEAPOLIS Progresso is following the health trend and removing monosodium glutamate (MSG) from its soups. It announced yesterday that already 26 are MSG-free, and the company will gradually remove the additive from all 80 of its soups.

MSG has been added to foods as a flavor enhancer for decades, has no nutritional value and has recently been surrounded by health concerns.

Campbell’s should be feeling the pressure at this point. Progresso is already the leader in the ready-to-eat soup category, and this new marketing move could reflect poorly on Campbell?s. More than 90 of its soups contain MSG, according to Kyle Duea, marketing manager for Progresso.

“More than 3 million consumers have moved to great tasting Progresso soups in just the last two years,” says Jerry Lynch, vice president of marketing for Progresso. “We’re going to continue to focus on innovation and new products to help grow this category for our retailers, and consumer can rest assured that we will continue to deliver the same high-quality and great taste that they have come to expect from Progresso.”

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InBev names Peacock, Edmond leaders of Anheuser-Busch, following acquisition completion

BY Jenna Duncan

ST. LOUIS European brewing giant InBev has announced the names of two of its top executives with plans for them to lead the North American Anheuser-Busch team, upon closure of the $52-billion acquisition deal now in the works.

InBev has stated that David Peacock, currently serving as vice president at A-B’s domestic beer arm, will take over as president of A-B. InBev also said that Luiz Fernando Edmond, who currently serves as zone president covering northern Latin America for InBev, will be shifted to zone president of North America, a position that also will cover the A-B business.

InBev has also said that A-B will maintain its North American headquarters in St. Louis and plans for the newly combined company to be dubbed.Anheuser-Busch InBev. Current shareholders of A-B will meet Nov. 12 to vote on the acquisition.

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