Bye, bye 2007

In retrospect, 2007 proved to be a challenging year for the industry with safety issues, higher prices and loss of consumer confidence. But there was some good news as well. Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo was chosen one of 2007's winners by AOL. India-born Nooyi is the most powerful woman in business according to Fortune, and the fifth most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes, and in a year when many companies struggled, Pepsi's stock has steadily risen to an all-time high. Another winning candidate is wrapper 50 Cent, a big money winner thanks to his sizable stake in Glaceau, which Coca-Cola bought in May for $4.2 billion. 50 Cent received $400 million in that sale and is laughing all the way to the bank. Perky Chef Rachael Ray, following in the footsteps of her mentor Oprah Winfrey, expanded out of the kitchen in 2007 into many other areas, including lucrative endorsement deals with Nabisco and Dunkin Donuts. She also launched her own line of home products. She ranked No. 14 on Forbes' list of TV's top earners with $16 million. On the new product beverage front, Coke Zero, Coca-Cola's biggest product launch in over two decades has proven to be a huge hit and has helped drive Coke's stock price to a seven-year high in 2007. First launched in 2005, Coke Zero did not catch fire until the company recast the brand this year with an edgier image. Speaking of Coca-Cola, the company is just one of the major players in the beverage industry throwing its marketing muscle behind petite 8-oz. mini cans. Consumers are also enjoying A Wee Bit o' Wine, courtesy of a number of respected winemakers who offer wine in single serve portion minis. These smaller portions can be served at events or popped open without having to worry the rest of the bottle will go to waste, according to Sales of these minis have increased faster than those for the overall wine market. Cheers and Happy New Year!