Pass the Bottle, er Plastic

The adult beverage industry's obsession with plastic continues, as now wines have begun to join the mix of beverages with a PET package. Described by Arbor Mist, Canandaigua, N.Y., as the ideal package for poolsides, golf courses and other venues, single-serving plastic bottles will be used to package four of the company's wine and fruit varieties: blackberry merlot, exotic fruits white zinfandel, peach chardonnay and strawberry white zinfandel.

“Perfect for the beach, resorts, concerts, sporting events,” the new packaging is recyclable and opens up a range of opportunities for consumers, says the company. Arbor Mist's single-serving bottles will be launched nationwide and are designed to suit venues where glass is not allowed. A similar reason has been given for Anheuser-Busch's, St. Louis, Mo., recent decision to package Bacardi Silver in a plastic bottle, as expanding to the PET will allow the newcomer (launched in February) to be sold in sports stadiums.

Fueled or Fooled by Food

A new advertising campaign sponsored by the Center for Consumer Freedom, Washington, is spoofing “baseless” studies identifying harmful foods and beverages. A spokesperson says its only aim is to protect consumer choice.

Using the tagline “It's your food. It's your drink. It's your freedom,” the center's ads have run in print and on the radio in Washington, and the group expects to expand to other markets. The group already has attacked the proposal to tax snack foods with one ad: “While studies show that your brain shouldn't be taxed, they do show that your Ding Dongs should—a 6% fat tax to make all of you weak snack-food sinners pay for your polyunsaturated transgressions.”

The center claims the results of reports and studies constantly are taken out of context, distorted to fit various agendas, or manipulated to reach conclusions not supported by the study. A spokesperson for the group said, “We want to educate consumers on who these groups are and to know if there's an agenda behind them.”

Not Just a Kiss

Jumping on the limited-time-only bandwagon, Hershey Foods Corporation, Hershey, Pa., has added two new flavors to its Hershey's Kisses lineup, but only for a short time.

Touted as “a distinctive taste for a limited time,” Limited Edition Rich Dark and Extra Creamy flavors of Kisses are set to appear on store shelves nationwide. The first new Kisses flavors in nine years, the two indulgent varieties will boast checkered foil wrappers and will be available in 12-ounce and 13-ounce bags, retailing for $2.49 to $2.99.

Hershey expects the new products to remain on shelves for six to eight weeks. After that, those in need of a Kiss will have to rely on Hershey's other three flavors—classic Hershey's Kisses chocolates, Hershey's Kisses chocolates with almonds, and Hershey's Hugs.

The Colors of Money

While consumers vote to determine the new color of M&M to grace packages of the chocolate treats, a vast assortment of colors can be found at the website for M&M'sColorworks— M&M's/Masterfoods USA, Hackettstown, N.J., is positioning the candies for graduations and other celebrations.

The 21 colors found at the site are “perfect for fraternal activities, class reunions, school events and game day celebrations,” says Masterfoods, and can be mixed in any combination, to serve as school colors or Greek colors.

Offering various hues is just one aspect of Masterfoods' recent moves, as the company soon will enter the $5 billion cookie category. The four-SKU line will feature cookie versions of M&M's, Snickers, Milky Way and Twix, with each confection combined into individually wrapped cookie bars, called Cookies & M&M's, Cookies & Snickers, Cookies & Milky Way, and Cookies & Twix. Expect to see these on shelves beginning in July.