Heinz readies soy milk foray via Hain Healthy Valley brand

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H.j. heinz co., tapping its strategic alliance with Hain Celestial Group, makes a foray into the flourishing soy milk arena with a new refrigerated line called Health Valley Great Awakenings.

While its natural foods partner already markets soy beverages under the leading Westsoy brand, Heinz's license of the Health Valley name for its own line is a "complementary effort targeting a broader audience and helping to mainstream soy milk," said Sharon Wicker, VP of the Organic & Nutritional Foods unit at Heinz.

According to Ms. Wicker, the total soy milk category in both natural and mainstream retailers was up 50% to $300 million for the 52 weeks ended June 30, while growth for just the traditional food, drug and mass retailers grew 80% to $170 million, "and that's where we'll be," she said.


Health Valley Great Awakenings, which includes original, vanilla and chocolate soy milk in 32-ounce cartons, will be supported with an extensive ad campaign in Denver and Minneapolis that will include print inserts in October issues of Conde Nast Publications' Bon Appetit and Self, and local magazines, as well as spot TV and radio.

Although the tagline for the campaign is still in development with agency Berenter Greenhouse & Webster, New York, the introductory ads will tout the theme, "Great Awakenings: All the goodness of milk and more." Marketing plans also call for sampling and public relations efforts, handled by Gage Marketing, Minneapolis.

"We are very interested in getting quick learning in the market and rolling nationally as quickly as possible, ideally by late winter or early spring of 2001," Ms. Wicker said.

The strategic alliance with Hain began in September 1999 when Heinz took a 19.5% stake in the company.

"We're enthusiastic about the high-growth prospects of organic, natural and nutritional categories, and feel it is a pervasive trend," Ms. Wicker said. "Joining forces with Hain is a great way to participate in that trend and we're so happy with the relationship that we reupped our investment to maintain our 19.5% stake when they merged with Celestial Seasonings."

Aside from the Great Awakenings effort, Heinz is also working with Hain on efforts to build soy milk in the U.K. and to sell and distribute products including Terra chips and Westsoy in club stores. And, Ms. Wicker said, there are a variety of other initiatives in the works as consumers think more and more about the relationship between diet and health.

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