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  • The New York Times reports this morning that Masterfoods USA plans to spend $10 million to promote a new line extension – Mega M&M’s, which are about 55 percent larger than the traditional version of the candy.

    “The oversize M&M's are among a skein of food products, particularly from snack makers and fast-food chains, that are seeking to take advantage of what appears to be a rising resistance to nutritional correctness and the so-called food police,” the NYT writes. “Other examples include the Monster Thickburger from Hardee's, the Full House XL from Pizza Hut and the Enormous Omelet Sandwich from Burger King.”

    Naturally, anti-obesity activists are objecting to the trend and to the new M&M’s in particular, saying that bigger candy only is going to create bigger people.

  • Procter & Gamble plans to launch a line of men’s skin care products, called Boss Skin, which is designed to be macho while still appealing to men’s desire to look better and feel better about themselves.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that “the ad campaign will test P&G's ability to target men, a market increasingly important for the consumer-products maker given its pending $54 billion acquisition of Gillette Co. Some 90% of P&G products are purchased by women, and most of its marketing is aimed at women. Gillette, by contrast, sells mostly to men, so P&G faces a whole new customer group with the acquisition.

    ”As reported on MNB several weeks ago, sales of men's skin care products sold in department stores jumped 13 percent last year, more than twice the total growth for the overall and women's skincare markets. And, in 2003, revenues from men's skin care products rose 10 percent while the women's and total market advanced only 6 percent.

    L’Oreal has a new line that it is marketing aggressively, and now P&G is getting into the act.

  • The Associated Press reports that even before Atkins Nutritionals declared bankruptcy this week, shipments of carb-loaded potatoes were expected to increase at least one percent this year – a far cry from just a few years ago, when the Atkins low-carb craze threatened to put many potato farmers out of business.

    Needless to say, the potato farmers won’t be throwing a benefit to bail out Atkins Nutritionals.

  • Published reports say that PepsiCo will open “Pepsi Zone” lounges in three major malls in Illinois, Florida and California, with the facilities designed to offer teens soft drinks and well as a place to play video games and watch music videos.

    The lounges are similar to a pair of Coca-Cola Red lounges opened in 2003.

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