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Monday, July 28, 2008
Monday July 28 2008
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BRUSSELS, July 28 (Reuters) - M&M's candy maker Mars Inc of the United States won unconditional permission from the European Commission on Monday to purchase the U.S. No. 1 chewing gum manufacturer Wm Wrigley Jr Co for $23 billion.
"There is no overlap in the parties' core confectionery activities (chocolate and gum)," the Commission said in a statement.
"Although both parties are active in sugar confectionery, the limited market shares do not give rise to competition concerns," the European Union executive added.
The deal, which billionaire Warren Buffett helped to finance, would create the world's largest confectionery company. Mars is privately held.
"The Commission also concluded that there is no risk that the joint entity could use the strong market position Wrigley currently enjoys on the gum markets to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors through foreclosure of chocolate markets," the executive said.
The deal will give Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc a stake of more than 10 percent in Wrigley, which will become a separate Mars subsidiary.
Buffett's other food holdings include a stake in Kraft Foods Inc.
Aside from Berkshire, financing for the Wrigley deal is being provided by Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co, Mars said in a statement when the deal was announced.
The combined companies would have a major presence in the global chocolate, gum and candy businesses.
Wrigley has brands such as Extra and Eclipse, while privately held Mars is known for its M&M's, Snickers, Starburst and Twix. (Reporting by David Lawsky; Editing by Paul Bolding)

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Sunday, July 27, 2008
Red-Hatters kick up heels for 10 years
July 27, 2008
By Denise M. Baran-Unland
Special to the Herald News

The front page color photograph of a group of women all dressed in red hats and purple dresses caught Dale Smith's eye.
As Smith read the accompanying Herald News article, she learned that these women were all members of a group known as the Red Hat Society. What perfect fit for the former group of AT&T employees, now known as the Scarlet O'Hatters.
Pink hats?
"We had been friends for years, but now we were all retired," said Smith, of Joliet.
"I thought that since we no longer worked together, this would keep us together as a group. That was about five years ago, and it's been pretty much of a social club for us. We meet at the same time each month so everyone can plan for that time. We have lunch at a restaurant and maybe to go shopping or go to antique stores."

Although the organization itself is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Red Hat Society has proudly kept intact its "disorganization" or lack of rules and regulations that pervade many other organizations. While individual chapters may participate in organized charities or planned events, the mission of the Red Hat Society is to simply have fun.
"I've been involved in 20 different things over the yeas, but I wanted to join this one because you didn't have to do any paperwork or be an officer," said Penny Podlenski, of Joliet, member of the GG's or the Gorgeous Gallivanters.

Who are they?According to the Red Hat Society, half of the women who belong to the society are "baby boomers," women who influence 80 percent of the $2.1 trillion that this group spends as a whole on consumer goods and consumers. These are not women who are heading for the rocking chair anytime soon.
"When I turned 50, I felt that there was still such a vibrant life ahead of me," said Sue Ellen Cooper, founder and president of the Red Hat Society. "I never would have thought that by giving one friend a festive red hat to celebrate her 50th birthday would catch fire the way that it did. But clearly this gesture symbolized something to older women, that the second phase of life is ripe with potential for living life to its absolute fullest."

Founded in 1998, the Red Hat Society has grown far beyond Cooper's original intent. The organization today has nearly 40,000 chapters in 25 countries and strives to make real differences in women's lives.
Since 2004, Go Red for Women ( has encouraged women to take seriously their risk for heart disease. As a 10th birthday present to itself, the Red Hat Society has collaborated with the American Heart Association to raise awareness of heart disease among women through its "Hatters Have Heart" campaign, said CEO Debra Granich.

Nevertheless, such activities do not diminish the society's basic foundation of fellowship.

"While there are so many things our members enjoy, from discounts to rich experiences, what they seem to value most are the lasting connections they make," Granich said. "On our 10th birthday, I am proud that together we have led one of the revolutionary movements of our time, one dedicated to showing the world the joy of what it means to be a woman approaching 50 and beyond."

Even younger women can join in the fun.

The Pink Hatters, is for women younger than 50.
"They belong to the same group, but wear pink hats and lavender clothes," said Lois Leonard, of Joliet. "We have only one Pink Hatter in our group who happens to be my daughter-in-law."
Leonard and a friend enjoyed going to the movies and bingo events together, but wanted to connect with more women their age. Vaguely aware of the Red Hat Society's existence, Leonard went online to learn more about them.

Her group, The Red Hot Hooters, spun off from a former Joliet group, Those Darling Red Hat Divas.
"We meet once a month, usually at my place because it's hard to conduct meetings in a restaurant and we can be a little bit louder and more boisterous in our own space," Leonard said. "More times than not we do potlucks or a bring-your-own-breakfast and stop and bring McDonald's or some kind of rolls. Many of my ladies are still working so it's hard for them to meet more often than that."
Although Leonard's group is also mainly a social group, the 18 members will often participate in official Red Hat events, such as teas and weekend-long trips. "It's amazing the amount of people that come out for them," Leonard said.
Such events also attract vendors, but that's part of the fun, said Podlenski. "They sell anything you can think of for Red Hatters: boas, purses, hats, scarves, dresses, all kinds of stuff. Now that we're over 50, many things aren't as important to us as they were when we were 40.
"We're just thankful to God that we get through the day and we might as well be silly and happy. I think that's the attitude that most Red Hatters have.",4_5_JO27_REDHATS_S1.article

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Monday, July 21, 2008
Candy remains an affordable luxury
NCA SmartBrief 07/21/2008
Candy sales hit $29.1 billion in 2007 and are expected to increase up to 3% this year, said Susan Fussell, spokeswoman for NCA. "Historically during either recessions or economic downturns, people continue to buy candy in part because it's an affordable luxury," she said. Austin American-Statesman (Texas) (free registration) (07/21)

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Friday, July 18, 2008
HACKETTSTOWN, N.J., July 17, 2008 /
PRNewswire via COMTEX/
-- Mars Snackfood US announced today the celebration of the 85th Anniversary of MILKY WAY(R), the first ever "filled" candy bar in the USA. Created in 1923 in the kitchen of Frank Mars, the original MILKY WAY(R) bar -- a now comforting combination of milk chocolate, nougat and caramel -- sold for a nickel and was an overnight success for Mars. Designed to replicate the taste of malted milk shakes, which were the rage of the roaring '20s, MILKY WAY(R) was named after a famed malted milk drink of the day -- not the Earth's galaxy, as many contend.

Today the MILKY WAY bar can be found nationwide in all retail outlets.
"While MILKY WAY(R) boasts an out-of-this-world taste, it's true that the original bar was named after malted milk shakes," said Michele Kessler, vice president, marketing, Mars Snackfood US. "In fact, the brand's first tagline was A Chocolate Malted Milk in a Candy Bar." While America's tastes changed and soda shops declined in popularity, the MILKY WAY(R) bar remained a favorite of candy lovers nationwide. "MILKY WAY(R) truly is one of America's most iconic candy bars," Kessler added. "The brand's classic combination of milk chocolate, nougat and caramel remains as beloved now as it was more than eight and half decades ago."

MILKY WAY(R) Takes the Anniversary on the Road - Marketing Activity
To help celebrate the Milky Way brand's 85th Anniversary, a refurbished 1970's era station wagon will be cruising the country this summer on the MILKY WAY(R) Road trip, bringing Country Karaoke, family photos and product sampling to fairs and festivals across the USA. Scheduled stops for the MILKY WAY(R) Road Trip include stops at classic American summer events such as the Taste of Cincinnati, the Hometown Milwaukee 4th of July parade, and the Brickyard Classic in Indianapolis.

In addition, MILKY WAY(R) is sponsoring the Great American Country Tour Bus as it crosses America, stopping at concerts and popular music festivals. Now in its third year, the GAC Tour Bus will stop at some of the biggest country music events of the summer during its 27,000-mile trek across 25 states. Music fans can sample MILKY WAY(R) products while enjoying music by their favorite country artists.

An Anniversary Worth Celebrating - Milky Way Brand Portfolio
MILKY WAY(R) started its candy life as part of a chocolate pair -- the original MILKY WAY(R) bars came in both the chocolate flavor consumers know and love and a less known, but equally loved, vanilla flavor.

MILKY WAY(R)'s vanilla sibling has had a long and storied history. After 13 years as a pair, the vanilla version was renamed FOREVER YOURS(R) and sold under that name until 1979. Responding to popular demand, MILKY WAY(R) reintroduced a vanilla and bittersweet candy bar under the name MILKY WAY(R) Dark Bar (renamed MILKY WAY(R) Midnight Bar in 2000).

Today, there are three flavors of MILKY WAY(R) bars: the original MILKY WAY(R) Bar, MILKY WAY(R) Brand Milk Chocolate Covered Caramels, and MILKY WAY MIDNIGHT(R) Bar. These flavors are available in regular bars, FUN SIZE(R), 2 To Go and Minis. Regular 2-ounce MILKY WAY(R) Bars retail for $.75. For more information, please visit

About Mars Snackfood US:
Mars Snackfood US is the United States snack operations of Mars North America. With more than $7 billion in annual sales in the United States, Mars North America includes food, snack and pet care segments, which are a symbol of excellence for quality brands. Headquartered in Mount Olive, N.J., Mars North America employs more than 12,000 associates in the United States, with 54 facilities nationwide. Mars Snackfood US, headquartered in Hackettstown, N.J., includes some of the world's favorite brands such as DOVE(R) Brand Chocolate, M&M'S(R) Brand, MILKY WAY(R) Brand, SKITTLES(R) Brand, SNICKERS(R) Brand, STARBURST(R) Brand, 3 MUSKETEERS(R) Brand, TWIX(R) Brand and more. Additional popular brands in the petcare and food segments for Mars North America include UNCLE BEN'S(R) Brand, PEDIGREE(R) Brand Food for Dogs, and WHISKAS(R) Brand Food for Cats. Please visit
SOURCE Mars Snackfood US
Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The world’s favourite lollipop turns 50 this summer with parties and a Chupa Chups road show planned across the UK.

Kick-starting a summer of celebration is a 1950’s retro branded Chupa Chups bus that will tour key cities and events across the country over the next four months.

‘Chupa Chicks’ will be dancing to the sounds of the 50’s and sampling lollies to members of the public, targeting an estimated 1.5 million people at concerts and festivals.An anniversary Chupa Chups logo has been created to appear on selected merchandise including collector’s tins and shoulder bags.

The collector’s tins will contain the seven original flavours made 50 years ago, including Cola, Vanilla and Strawberries and Cream. A special edition coffee table book has also been created to commemorate this iconic brand. A newly designed website has been created to support the anniversary, with information, interactive elements and a history of the brand.

Over 54 million kg of Chupa Chups have been produced in the last 50 years; the equivalent weight of over 363 thousand Boeing 747 airplanes. Michiel Havermans, Managing Director of Perfetti Van Melle UK, commented: “We’re delighted to be celebrating Chupa Chups 50th birthday this summer.

The brand has built a phenomenal world wide following in the last five decades and we plan to continue this work.“The anniversary celebrations will remind consumers of the heritage of the first ever lollypop, encouraging a nostalgic association with the brand.”
Chupa Chups facts:
• The first ever lolly pop was created in 1958 by pioneering sweet-lover Enric Bernat and named Chupa Chups
• Internationally renowned artist, Salvador Dali, designed the daisy inspired logo for the new sweet in less than an hour
• In 50 years 127 different Chupa Chups flavours have been produced across the world
• Over 54 million kg of Chupa Chups have been produced in the last 50 years; the equivalent weight of over 363 thousand Boeing 747 airplanes
• A Chupa Chups lollipop has an RSP of 15p and is available from all good cash and carry and wholesalers Visit for more information about Chupa Chups 50th anniversary.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Courtesy of © Mars Co.
1. The M&M's Characters
Company: MarsBrand: M&M's productsDebuted: 1954Q-Score: 45
Mars introduced its first spokes-candy, Red, in 1954, 13 years after the candy-coated chocolates debuted. Of course, Red wasn't alone for long--he was joined by Yellow, a nut-filled mascot, when the company launched peanut M&M's later that year.

Over the last 50-plus years, M&M's has rolled out three more spokes-candies to represent new flavors, colors and themes, each with a distinct personality. Blue is the most popular and confident of the bunch. And then there's Green, introduced in 1997, the company's first female spokes-candy.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008
AARP turns a nifty 50 today
By Robert N. Jenkins, LifeTimes Editor
In print: Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yes, there will be cake and balloons. No, none of the balloons will be black ones bearing the smirking legend, "Look who turned 50!''
But the organization whose very acronym stood for hitting the big 5-0 is celebrating: AARP reaches the half-century mark today.

AARP no longer bothers spelling out its full name — the American Association of Retired Persons — because in 1999 its leaders wanted to make clear that it represents more than just retirees. It had dropped its minimum age to 50 from 55 in 1983. Membership in the 50 states and three territories is about 39-million; Florida reached 3-million this year, second only to California.

AARP was spun off from the National Retired Teachers Association, founded in 1947 by Ethel Percy Andrus. As director of welfare for a California teachers' group, recounts AARP historian Lily Liu, Andrus "found a retired teacher living in what (she) called a chicken coop. These retirees had pensions, but they were so meager, and they had no group health insurance.''

Andrus' work led her to create the National Retired Teachers Association, which attracted enough noneducator retirees that Andrus created the American Association of Retired Persons. The incorporation papers were signed on July 1, 1958.

In 1959 the new association began a mail-order pharmacy, which drew even more members. About this time, Andrus realized the number of retirees moving to Florida, so she had AARP create Hospitality House on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. It offered everything from hotel recommendations to afternoon teas — and a pharmacy.

Though a nonprofit, AARP spends tens of millions to identify the issues most important to older adults and to influence legislation on these topics.

Increasingly, America's focus is on "younger'' older people, the 78-million boomers, ages 44 to 62. There are 1.05-million Florida boomers who are AARP members.

About that birthday party: Celebrations will take place in many local offices. But AARP is saving the blowout for the first week of September in Washington, D.C., when even nonmembers are invited. Workshops and programs during that three-day Life@50+ event range from online dating to reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance to therapeutic massage, advances in brain health to "sex and love through menopause and beyond.''

Robert N. Jenkins can be reached at or (727) 893-8496.

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