brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 26, 2013 04:17 PM
Cigarette buyers in Uruguay, Thailand, Australia and about 35 other countries and jurisdictions all have to deal with nasty images on the packs that remind them of just how unhealthy smoking can be. But the FDA, despite years of trying, can’t seem to get the same thing done in the United States.
Last week, the agency abandoned its long battle to put such images on packs as it faced an April 5 deadline of whether to appeal a court ruling that favored Big Tobacco. Don’t think the plan is totally dead, though. The FDA will “undertake research to support a new rulemaking consistent with the Tobacco Control Act," MedicalDaily.com reports.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 23, 2012 12:32 PM
PepsiCo today announced a multi-year relationship with the Pittsburgh Steelers to be the NFL team's exclusive "non-alcoholic beverage, salty snacks and sports fuel provider."
The deal marks the Steelers' first such partnership, and gives PepsiCo the rights to exclusive selling, dispensing and serving at Heinz Field; fixed stadium signage; venue and team sponsor assets; integration into the team's mobile, TV and digital assets; and local media and retail promotional opportunities.
The stadium conversion will be complete by the start of the Steelers' 2012 season. PepsiCo is also introducing a limited-edition commemorative Pepsi MAX can in honor of the Steelers' 80th anniversary, available throughout Pennsylvania beginning in the fall. That's not PepsiCo's only limited-edition commemorative can.
PepsiCo is preparing to roll out “a new malt-flavored version of its Mountain Dew soda” that will appear in select 7-Eleven and Kroger stores, according to CSPnet.com.
The gold-tinted premium version of Mountain Dew just received trademark approval to be called Mountain Dew Johnson City Gold and will appear in refrigerator cases in late August in a few Midwestern cities as well as Denver and Charlotte, N.C.Continue reading...
truth in packaging
Posted by Dale Buss on June 22, 2012 04:01 PM
Supermarket Sweep was a TV game show that started in the Sixties in which contestants jammed as many high-value products into their shopping carts as possible in just a minute or two. For CPG brands, the contemporary version of supermarket sweep isn't so kind. It's one reason there are so many lawsuits against companies over "misleading" advertising about the nutritional value of their foods these days: plaintiffs' lawyers.
A common factor behind new and recent suits against brands including Nutella, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft and Quaker Oats is that nutrition advocacy groups such as Center for Science in the Public Interest conduct "supermarket sweeps" (as CSPI has urged the FDA).
The goal is to find ordinary American consumers in the grocery aisle who are willing to complain — or join a lawsuit — about language on their labels that might be less than completely forthcoming about how healthy the product is. And they turn over their leads to their litigious partners.Continue reading...
what's in a name
Posted by Dale Buss on May 31, 2012 04:31 PM
What's in a name? A lot, if you've got an inconvenient one and you want to change it. Would John Denver ever have become beloved, or even reviled, as Henry John Deuschendorf?
Thus you can understand the disappointment of the makers of high-fructose corn syrup this week after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration rejected a request by the corn-refining giants to allow them to change the name of their product to "corn sugar."
The agency said that it defines sugar as a solid, dried and crystallized food — not a syrup. Plus there's already something that technically is a solid corn-based sweetener, dextrose. Thus, the corn refiners are stuck with the moniker — better known by the acronym HFCS — that might as well appear as a skull and crossbones on nutritional labels, the way many American mothers see it.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 8, 2012 11:58 AM
When the news came out of the state of California a year ago that the stuff that makes your cola beverage brown has been linked to cancer, there were a number of consumers that likely didn’t put their change into the vending machine that day.
The amount of that compound (4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI) in soda would cause the state to need to put warning labels on all of its cans, NPR reports. This, in turn, led to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to lobby the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “ban ammonia-sulfite caramel color,” according to NPR. Coke Clear, anyone?
While the cola companies and caramel manufacturers are obviously stating that there is no validity to these claims, the FDA is also chiming in that this could be much ado about not much. In any event, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, which account for almost 90% of the U.S. soda market, have tweaked their formulas in compliance with the Californian law — averting the need to add a cancer warning label.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 9, 2012 06:15 PM
Built on the back of its ubiquitous retail operation, Walmart has become the largest grocer in the U.S. That position carries with it a certain responsibility, and Walmart is rising to the occasion. The company, for example, has been publicly acknowledged by the first lady, Michelle Obama, for its work in helping to encourage healthy eating and fight childhood obesity.
As we noted here earlier, Walmart's latest entry into the nutritional battlefield is a product labeling strategy it calls "Great for You." As the company explains, this "nutrition icon" will begin appearing this spring on foods that "meet rigorous nutrition criteria informed by the latest nutrition science and authoritative guidance from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Institute of Medicine (IOM)."
At first, the green "Great for You" labels, depicting a non-descript person with arms raised, will appear only on products within Walmart's own brands, Great Value and Marketside. Walmart claims, however, that it will allow other brands to make use of the label on products adhering to the same criteria with no licensing fee. In theory, this would help level the playing field between Walmart branded products and other brands sitting on Walmart shelves. But does it?Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 9, 2012 10:02 AM
The Food and Drug Administration said in 2009 that it was going to develop standards for what food products can claim to be healthy and what can’t. But there hasn’t been any kind of report as of yet, and Walmart has decided to stop waiting and make one of its own.
A year after pledging to develop a front-of-pack label that would give its customers an easier way to identify healthier food, and a month after a public commitment with First Lady Michelle Obama to putting nutrition front and center in its stores, the nation’s largest food retailer this week unveiled a “Great For You” icon to create a visual system to educate customers.
The Arkansas-based grocery behemoth announced this week that the seal will appear on a variety of house brand food items, with a WalmartGreatforYou.com website supporting the effort.
The green and white seal, "which shows the stylized outline of a human figure with its arms spread toward the sky, is part of a multiyear campaign the world’s largest retailer is undertaking to promote healthier products and fight childhood obesity," the Associated Press reports.
Walmart says it will adapt to whatever the FDA’s regulations are whenever that list actually is produced, but will for now add the icon to products with lower levels of fat, sugar, and artificial additives. Plus, the seal will appear on signage in the fruits and vegetable section of its grocery area.
“It helps customers see very, very quickly what healthier choices are for them,” stated Andrea Thomas, SVP of sustainability for Wal-Mart Stores. More details are in its press release below.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 26, 2012 12:29 PM
As the world becomes more and more aware of environmental issues, pretty much everybody and their brother is thinking globally and acting locally.
And marketers, of course, have taken plenty of notice and are more than willing to share just how great their product is for the environment or how great the production of their product is good for the environment (or at least isn’t that harmful). The incredible growth of these little notices to consumers, which generally come in the form of stickers of symbols and little logos stuck to their products, are starting to seemingly mean nothing.
The Seattle Times notes that the government has not set up “one central eco-labeling system” because it “would be extremely expensive and complicated to operate.” Instead, there are numerous eco-labeling programs that are generally dedicated to one industry.Continue reading...