Industry Issues

November 1, 2006
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Coca-cola, Nestlé Refocus Joint Venture
The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, and Nestlé, Vevey, Switzerland, announced they plan to scale back the activities of their Beverage Partners Worldwide joint venture to focus on black tea beverages, allowing them to compete in other areas. New green tea-based Enviga, will continue to be marketed through the existing joint venture.
“This agreement means The Coca-Cola Co. and Nestlé will independently develop, produce and market ready-to-drink coffee and non-black tea based beverages,” the companies said in a joint statement. “Both companies recognize the significant potential of these rapidly growing segments and will expand their offerings in these categories by identifying innovative new products and creating a broader choice for consumers.”
Beverage Partners Worldwide was created in 2001 as a fifty-fifty joint venture. Previously, the companies operated a partnership called Coca-Cola and Nestlé Refreshments.
New wines for new drinkers
Jess Jackson and wife Barbara Banke have created a new wine company called White Rocket Wine Co. for the “millennial generation,” or the 21- to 35-year-old demographic. Jackson describes the company as a “small, fast-moving company that fosters an entrepreneurial culture with a drive for innovation and new brand development.”
The company will be based in Napa Valley and will incorporate existing brands from the Jackson Wine Estates collection, including Camelot, Dog House and Tin Roof, as well as newly created brands.
Two former Constellation Wines executives have been named as executives for the new company — Gary Glass will serve as president and Mark Feinberg as vice president of marketing. Bob McDonough will be vice president of sales for the eastern part of the country, and Melissa Bates, former winemaker and general manager for Belvedere Vineyards, will be winemaker for White Rocket.
Are health claim limits looming?
Beginning next year the European Union will phase in new standards regarding health benefit claims that can be made by food and beverage companies … and the United States might not be far behind.
The new rules introduced by the European Commission would standardize health claims by creating an approved list, and products claiming to reduce the risk of disease would have to seek approval from the EU’s Food Safety Authority. The real challenge, according to a report in the International Herald Tribune, is that the new laws are so complicated they may prevent companies from making any health claim at all.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also is preparing to take on the question of functional food regulation, with a hearing scheduled for early next month. "We believe that it would be in the best interest of public health to begin a dialogue with industry, consumers and other stakeholders regarding the regulation of these products," the FDA said.
The public hearing is expected to cover requests by industry watchdog groups for tighter approval procedures, as well as whether a formal definition and unique regulations for functional foods are required.

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