Friday, October 1, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Has Companies Thinking Pink

October kicks off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of early breast cancer detection. To aid in this cause, numerous food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies have pledged to sponsor this worthy initiative through donations and limited edition pink products that have a portion of the proceeds benefiting breast cancer awareness foundations.

This year, a new partner is joining the fight against breast cancer, and doing it in a unique and rewarding way. During the month of October, specially marked packages of Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese will be sold in retail stores nationwide to benefit Komen for the Cure. Irish Dairy Board, Inc., makers of Kerrygold, will donate $55,000 to Komen regardless of the amount of cheese sales during the month. Kerrygold has dedicated a web page to their pink program where consumers can find ideas on how to raise funds for Komen, and will be giving away a trip to Ireland, home of Kerrygold Cheese.

Grocery stores throughout the month will be lined with pink products as companies offer a variety of specially packaged items to support breast cancer awareness, including Dove Chocolate Promises of Hope to support Susan G. Komen. Each piece of the dark chocolate candy is individually wrapped with a special inspirational promise written by a breast cancer survivor. In the past, Mars also issued pink M&M's to raise awareness. Since partnering with Komen in 2007, the company has raised more than $4 million for the Foundation.

Other candy makers have also followed suit, creating pink-packaged sweets. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is promoting specially marked pink ribbon packs of Luxe Milk bars with a sweepstakes, awarding $200 gift cards to 400 winners to use toward Cole Haan handbags, apparel, and accessories. Through December 31, consumers can submit the on-pack codes on the company's website to enter the sweepstakes. Ghirardelli will donate $50,000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, plus $1 for each code, up to an additional donation of $50,000, for a maximum contribution of $100,000.

One of the more recognizable programs throughout the years has been Yoplait's Lids to Save Lives. Now in its twelfth year, the program benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure. For every pink lid consumers send through the end of the year, Yoplait donates 10 cents to the cause, up to $1.6 million, with a guaranteed donation of at least $500,000. Since 1998, the company has raised $25 million. Brand owner General Mills has recognized National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the past four years with its Pink Together campaign, dedicated to spreading hope to those touched by breast cancer and raising greater awareness of the disease. This month, shoppers will be able to find products such as Cheerios, Nature Valley Granola Bars, and Progresso Soup in pink packages on store shelves.

Earlier this year, PepsiCo division Frito-Lay donated $1 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. SunChips multigrain snacks, Rold Gold pretzels and the Baked! line of products provided funding for educational materials and research to find cures for breast cancer. As a member of the Susan G. Komen Million Dollar Council Elite, the company has committed to invest a financial contribution of $1 million annually in the fight to end breast cancer.

Even Mike's Hard Lemonade has gotten in on the act, offering Mike's Hard Pink Lemonade to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in memory of a company employee who lost her battle to the disease.

In addition to the CPG companies that have lent their hand to raise awareness, grocery chains are also involved with breast cancer awareness initiatives. The Kroger Company recently announced a partnership with key suppliers to donate $3 million this year. The campaign includes a store-wide sales promotion of popular items, many of which will feature exclusive, specially marked pink packaging. This year, 1,800 items, including Kroger's own products and items from partners like Kellogg's and Kraft will be marked with special pink shelf tags to highlight their participation, and will feature the stories of more than 50 breast cancer survivors.

Grocer Harris Teeter is also devoting the month of October to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All stores will be raising funds for a variety of non-profit organizations that support the fight against breast cancer, including the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Customers can purchase pink ribbon pastry items with five percent of the retail price going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Participating products will display a pink ribbon sticker.

Are you more likely to purchase products that support Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Leave a message and tell me why you are more or less inclined to purchase an item that supports this cause, and be sure to educate yourself and the women in your life about the importance of early detection.

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