The U.S. food industry is concerned that the Food and Drug Administration's campaign to combat food contamination has overshadowed efforts to address the spread of fraudulent products. Jennifer Thomas, director of enforcement at the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said the agency is working on a food fraud surveillance system and is employing technologies, such as a DNA sequencer, to ramp up strategies to curb food counterfeiting.
Skittles got off to a shaky social-media start in March 2009 when it used an unfiltered Twitter search, inappropriate comments and all, as its home page. The candy brand now has more than 4 million Facebook fans, making it third among U.S. consumer brands, behind only Starbucks and Coca-Cola.
PepsiCo is launching a campaign called "Yo Sumo," or "I count," which takes its cue from the 2010 census and urges Hispanics to be counted, not just numerically, but by sharing their experiences. The beverage company is working with actress Eva Longoria Parker on a documentary based on the stories.
Jim Sarris, of Sarris Candies near Pittsburgh, is one of several retailers with high hopes for Easter sales. He said his chocolate bunnies and other items are popular because consumers will spend more "to enjoy something really good."
Sarah Endline, a former Yahoo! executive who founded high-end chocolate company Sweetriot five years ago, said she wants her company to be "the No. 1 natural candy company." The antioxidant-rich, low-calorie candy is available in about 2,000 stores nationwide and is popular with celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker.