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Vegemite 2.0 Developments Offers Insight Into The New Kraft

Ilan Brat writes that the launch of a lighter version of Vegemite -- a salty brown yeast spread favored by Australians -- is a perfect window into the ways CEO Irene Rosenfeld has changed the culture of Kraft.

The salient point is that she had almost nothing to do with it; the idea for the product percolated up from regional managers of the brand and succeeded because of Rosenfeld's efforts to decentralize decision-making.

Before it even had a name, Kraft had sold more than 2.8 million jars of the new product in Australia and New Zealand in a two-month span this summer (or should we say this winter?). Following a contest, it's now called Vegemite iSnack 2.0.

Vegemite, which is high in B vitamins and daubed on bread and crackers, has been a popular breakfast food down under for 80 years but sales have flattened among younger consumers. It's said to be an acquired taste. Jingles declared that Vegemite "puts a rose in every cheek," but the advertising is not to be confused with Vitameatavegimin, the fictitious brand peddled by Lucy Ricardo in a classic "I Love Lucy" routine.

The U.K. Takeover Panel, meanwhile, is giving Kraft until Nov. 9 to either submit a formal offer for Cadbury or to end its interest. Kraft would be barred from making another takeover proposal for the U.K. candy-maker for six months if it does not make a bid within the time period, Andrew Cleary reports.




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