Cadbury's to invest $104m putting Snapple in Big Apple

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The Independent Online

Cadbury Schweppes, the confectionery and soft drinks giant, yesterday unveiled plans to pour $104m (£69m) into the coffers of New York in exchange for being the exclusive supplier of the city's school vending machines under its Snapple brand.

The deal -the first of its kind on both sides of the Atlantic - will enable the company to sell Snapple fruit juices and water to New York's school children for five years.

Cadbury, which bought Snapple three years ago from America's Triarc, trounced Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to win the contract.

The move follows increasing alarm by authorities in the US about obesity in children. A spate of law suits have already been launched against fast-food companies for allegedly encouraging customers to become hooked on their products.

Cadbury's money will be used to promote healthy living, by investing in projects such as the refurbishment of school playing fields and funding the purchase of new equipment.

Todd Stitzer, the chief executive of Cadbury, said: "We are committed to ensuring our products are consumed sensibly as part of a healthy lifestyle by both children and adults."

The company has promised as part of the deal to only put vending machines in schools that have agreed to have them. Schools will also be able to choose which products are sold from Snapple's range of fruit teas, juices and water.

Cadbury started life as one of a number of Quaker families in the Midlands and north of England which believed in looking after their employees and their wider social duty as well as making money.

The company, whose other brands include Dr Pepper and Trebor mints, said it would spend extra money on top of the $104m to launch a major advertising campaign in New York promoting the healthy eating message as well as its own products.

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, said of the innovative deal: "Snapple shines as a pioneer".

The company said it would see how sales go in New York before deciding whether it wanted to sign similar deals in America.