Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Best of: Pepsi Refresh Project

Again this week, I'm taking a look back at one of my best entries since I started my blog in March 2010. Today, I'm going back to August 10, 2010 and my first post about the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Now in its second year, Pepsi has made some changes to the grant process. The 2011 edits include fewer nomination categories, more grants awarded, and help for submitters to promote their ideas to garner votes. The application process has also been altered, hopefully making it easier for applicants to apply for funding.

I'm still a huge fan of this innovative idea, and would love to read your thoughts about this program.

In December 2009, PepsiCo made a rather controversial decision when it decided to skip Super Bowl advertising to focus on cause marketing. Since the start of 2010, the company has "refreshed everything," launching the Pepsi Refresh Project, giving away millions of dollars in grants to build individuals and communities.

Here's how it works:

  • People, businesses, and non-profit organizations submit ideas that they believe will have a positive impact on their communities. Anyone can submit an idea, and the company accepts up to 1,000 applications each month.
  • Consumers are asked to vote for causes they like. They can vote for up to 10 ideas every day.
  • At the end of the month, the chosen applicants to receive grants are announced. Applicants not chosen are encouraged to apply again, and the whole process starts over again.
Each month, the Pepsi Refresh Project awards numerous grants of different sizes. Up to 10 individual awardees are selected every month to receive $5,000 to unleash their inspired ideas. Another group of up to 10 individuals and small groups receive $25,000 to implement their initiatives within the community. $50,000 is awarded to up to 10 companies and organizations that can make a difference with their proposal. Finally, up to two organizations are granted $250,000 to dedicate a large amount of time and resources to their plan.

For the month of August, the Pepsi Refresh Project committed an additional $1.3 million to its $20 million campaign to "do good" for the Gulf and fund ideas that will support the communities hit hardest by the BP oil spill.

PepsiCo has teamed with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and The Today Show to spread the word and subsidize ideas that make the world a better place.

So far, grant recipients include The American Legion of Indianapolis, Indiana, who are using their $250,000 grant to provide comfort items for U.S. military troops recovering from wounds; The Economic Empowerment Initiative of Atlanta, Georgia, which received a $50,000 grant to provide financial literacy seminars for high school and college students; and Because We Are Sisters of Richmond, Virginia, that will use their $5,000 grant to support seven families in need as they prepare for the arrival of a baby, among others in the past months. Check out these videos featuring inspirational grant recipients:

Along with partners GOOD,, City Year, and GlobalGiving, the Pepsi Refresh Project is making a difference in communities across the country.

Every Pepsi refreshes the world. Drink your Pepsi and vote for your favorite project at!

Do you love this campaign as much as I do? Leave me a message with your thoughts (good or bad!) and definitely let me know if your community has been "refreshed" by this innovative campaign.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Best of: Twitter

For my 100th blog post, I'm taking a look back at one of my best entries during the past 14 months. Today, I'd like to take a review a post I wrote about Twitter, which originally appeared on March 23, 2010.

In this post, I referred to a Twitter list I created recording all of the brands I knew of at the time – 44 in all. Today, that list has grown to 170 and continues to expand. The column on the right shows the food and beverage CPG brands on this list. Take a look, and be sure to leave a message if there are any additional brands I need to add to my Twitter inventory.

Are you on Twitter? The latest statistics show that 75 million people possess a Twitter account, but only an estimated 10 to 15 million people are active users.

Twitter is so much more than answering the question "what's happening" in 140 characters or less. The international social media site is a place to learn about news, events, and trends, connect with like-minded individuals, and build your network.

I joined Twitter in February 2009. It took me long time to catch on to what I should be doing and how. Now, however, I find Twitter to be a valuable resource; I learn something new every day.

To aid in my understanding of both social media and how CPG works, I follow quite a few companies, brands, and products on Twitter. I created a list of these accounts, which you can find on my Twitter page. If you have a Twitter account, you can subscribe to my list and follow all 44 (and growing!) members or select specific individuals. You'll find accounts for companies like PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and Campbell Soup Company, as well as products like Mrs. Butterworths and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. For an added bonus, check out Chex Mix, which tweets as the quirky product.

The accounts send tweets that provide updates, ask for feedback, and list contests and events to engage consumers. Why is this important? A recent study found that consumers who interact with companies via social media are more likely to buy and recommend a product based on this connection. Opportunities are abundant for those companies that are active on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels.

If you are not on Twitter, I encourage you to join – you have nothing to lose! If you have an account, but have not sent a tweet in a while, log on and reconnect. The Twitterverse would like to know what's happening.

Is there a company, brand, or product that I should add to my list? Leave a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Something To Drink?

Just in time for summer, beverage companies are introducing new products to keep you cool and refreshed all season long. Here's just a sampling of the new items you'll be able to find on store shelves in the coming months.

Honest CocoaNovaHonest Tea welcomes a new line of low-calorie beverages made with brewed cacao beans. Available in Mint Cacao, Cherry Cacao, and Mocha Cacao varieties, the beverages are made with U.S. Department of Agriculture and Fair Trade Certified cacao beans, the main ingredient in chocolate, and include the antioxidants and theobromine found in dark chocolate. Consumers can purchase this new drink now at select natural foods stores around the country.

Ocean Spray Sparkling JuicesOcean Spray describes its new line of drinks as "a refreshingly bubbly beverage made with real fruit juice and a splash of sparkling water." Available in both regular and diet in Cranberry and Pomegranate Blueberry flavors, the carbonated juices are a good source of Vitamin C, made from real fruit juices, and contain no added sugar.

The company also added expanded its line of juices with the addition of two new berry and superfruit combinations: 100% Juice Cranberry Pomegranate Cherry, and 100% Juice Cranberry Blueberry Blackberry.

Crystal Light PureKraft Foods recently launched Crystal Light Pure, naturally sweetened drink mixes. The powders have no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives. Sweetened with Truvia, the mixes contain only 15 calories per serving. Available flavors include Grape, Strawberry Kiwi, Tropical Blend, Mixed Berry, and Lemonade.

100% natural Lipton Iced Tea Lipton Iced TeaLipton Iced Tea is now boasting an all-natural ingredient list. Flavors include Green Tea with Citrus, Iced Tea with Lemon, Iced Tea with Blueberry Pomegranate, and Green Tea with Passionfruit Mango. The company is also expanding its diet flavors with new Diet Green Tea with Watermelon.

This summer, you can also expect to see a lighter version of Pepsi, called Pepsi Next. The slimmed down soda will have 40 calories per 8-ounce serving, or 60 calories per 12-ounce can.

Find new beverage industry products anytime with daily updates from Beverage Industry Magazine.

Have you tried these new drinks? Which ones do you love and on which ones should consumers take a pass? Leave a message and share your thoughts!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


May is known for many exciting events like Mother's Day, proms, graduations, and Memorial Day. One thing not prioritized in the month of flowers and sunshine: eggs. After the hustle and bustle of Easter, eggs sales slow. That's why the American Egg Board has named May National Egg Month, to remind Americans about the many benefits of eggs, which can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Following Easter and through the summer, consumers can find eggs at a great price due to a constant supply of eggs from the holiday, but less demand. Eggs are affordable and packed with protein and nutrients. They can also be prepared in dozens of different ways. In fact, a chef's hat is said to have a pleat for each of the many ways you can cook eggs. Check out these recipes you can enjoy morning, noon, or night:
Fueled by increasing consumer demand for more convenient food products, growth of the egg products industry is expected to continue in the future. Learn more about the egg industry and get additional statistics from the United Egg Producers website.

Celebrate National Egg Month! Leave a comment and share your favorite egg recipe.