Catching up

Our hearts go out to the people of Japan in the wake of an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, Japan's most powerful earthquake in more than 100 years, followed by the tsunami that devastated the country's northeastern coast, and concerns about the safety of several nuclear-power plants. We know they will overcome these tragic events.

Catching up with food news, Joseph E. Scalzo, promoted to president and COO of Dean Foods Co. in August 2010, has left the company. Gregg Engles, chairman and CEO assumed Scalzo's operating responsibilities, and the company does not intend to name a replacement for Scalzo ...Coca-Cola Co. exercised its option to acquire the remaining 60 percent of Maryland-based organic bottled tea maker Honest Tea and the partners see it as an opportunity to make organic drinks more mainstream, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Honest Tea will operate as a stand-alone business under co-founder Seth Goldman and his management team. Coca-Cola's Venturing and Emerging Brands unit will give Honest Tea the autonomy to run its day-to-day operations while enjoying Coca-Cola's economies of scale in manufacturing and distribution. Although financial terms were not disclosed, Coca-Cola reportedly spent $43 million in its initial investment in Honest Tea, which had sales of $72 million last year ...Revere, Mass.-based The New England Confectionery Co. Inc. (NECCO) suspended its exploration of strategic options, which might have led to a sale of the 160-year-old business, opting instead to continue operations, reports Candy & Snack Today. "The opportunity for NECCO at this juncture is quite strong. "We have made critical improvements to our business: the original NECCO Wafer is being re-launched later this month on popular demand, and we are developing a robust pipeline of new products," says CEO Dave Smith ...After a few months of testing, PepsiCo is making its "throwback" Pepsi and Mountain Dew, permanent with retro-designed cans and sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, reports USA Today. "It's a return to a simpler world," says Shiv Singh, head of digital for PepsiCo. "There's a massive teen trend around simplicity and authenticity." Over the past few months, the retro cans have added one share point to Pepsi beverage sales -- half of which is incremental. One share point is worth about $220 million in annual sales. Meanwhile, Frito-Lay is bringing back Doritos Taco Flavor Tortilla Chips with a bag design and formula from the 1980s ... As McDonald's Corp. morphs into a more upscale chain, there's one person you won't see munching salads, sipping a cappuccino and surfing the Web: Ronald McDonald, age 48, reports Bloomberg. "He kind of represents the old McDonald's, with the high- fat content foods that are kind of falling out of favor," said Bob Dorfman, the executive creative director at Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco. "It's clear that McDonald's is advertising coffee, they're not advertising burgers." Ronald won't be on the unemployment lines thankfully. He still has the job of brightening kids' birthdays and school assemblies, and work at his 300 Ronald McDonald Houses, which lodge families who need to be near their sick children ... App was voted 2010 word of the year by the American Dialect Society.

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