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CARACAS -- Swiss food giant Nestle has decided to launch its line of breakfast cereals in Venezuela -- despite a political and economic situation that is far from ideal.

"Now that Venezuela is on board, Nestle cereals are present in every Latin American market," said Rodrigo Polanco, Nestle's breakfast cereals manager. "In other countries they have won an average 20% share. The exception is Chile, where the Nestle line of cereals is market leader. We were waiting for the ideal moment to launch here, but finally we decided to take the chance and not wait any longer."

Nestle is going up against two well-entrenched rivals: Kellogg Co. and local brand Alfonzo Rivas.

Venezuela is being incorporated into Nestle cereals' regional cable TV advertising, while extensive sampling promotions are being carried out at point of sale. Local Nestle agency Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Caracas, said the commercials will probably be aired on local TV channels later in the year.

Five basic products make up the Nestle cereal line. For children, there's Nesquik Corn Cereal flavored with Nesquik chocolate and Trix, a fruit-flavored corn and oat cereal. Teenagers are tempted with Zuycosos sugar-glazed corn flakes. Women are encouraged to stay trim with Fitness, while La Lechera is a traditional cereal for the whole family.-- Conrad Dahlson

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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