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Snapple may feel Gatorade effect

In meetings with securities analysts last November, a number of major food companies commented about packaging as they looked ahead to 1995. Quaker Oats, Chicago, indicated that its packaging experience with Gatorade isotonic drink was likely to be an indicator of its future plans with Snapple, the fast-growing beverage company it had recently acquired.

Quaker speakers repeatedly referred to packaging innovations for Gatorade, including wide-mouth 16-oz glass and hot-fill plastics, and the company expects to do the same with Snapple. A conversion to plastics could be slowed by container availability. The company said supplies of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles were tight, and price increases were being experienced. That shortage could forestall a Snapple invasion of supermarket shelves in large-size plastic containers. Quaker and other food companies confirmed that package costs were rising and expected the trend to continue through 1995. Companies like Kellogg, Quaker Oats and Unilever all verified that packaging will cost more this year, although Unilever projected that increases may not be as significant for them as other packagers had claimed.

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