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• Interesting piece in Advertising Age about the Coca-Cola Freestyle soft drink dispensing machine, which allows for the customization of more than 100 different drink flavors.

Jennifer Mann, VP-general manager of Coke Freestyle, said last week at the Advertising Age Data Conference that "Freestyle machines have poured more than 5 billion servings and thousands of flavor permutations … A related mobile app that allows people to name and save their favorite combinations and then have Freestyle machines automatically pour them has had more than a million downloads."

And, she said, old brands are getting new juice. "Before Freestyle, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke was available in less than 1% of our dispensers in the U.S.," Mann said. "Now with Freestyle it's available in every dispenser, and it's become a top-five brand in the afternoon daypart. So there was a huge unmet demand we were able to fill."

• The Milwaukie Business Journal reports that Crumbs Bake Shop is going to open a test store in a Mariano's Fine Foods unit in Westchester, Illinois, tomorrow, which will "include a sweet and snack bar featuring 25 flavors of Crumbs branded cupcakes and 15 varieties of brownies."

The story notes that Crumbs "shut down all of its stores this past October after going bankrupt in August, " and then "was bought for $6.5 million in a joint investment by Marcus Lemonis, star of CNBC's 'The Profit,' and Fischer Enterprises."

• Tops Friendly Markets, which serves upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont, announced that it will roll out a new list of hundreds of regularly purchased items included in “Tops’ Price Lock Guarantee” beginning November 2, and running through January 3, 2015.

The company says that its Price Lock Guarantee "is one of the company’s first major initiatives since it returned to local ownership less than a year ago and is part of a comprehensive value package aimed at helping Tops’ shoppers stretch their dollars even further on every day items while continuing to save on popular weekly promotions."
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