The Flow: Volt and the vote, Pepsi in China

Ball Corp said it plans to close metal beverage packaging manufacturing plants in Kansas City, Missouri, and Guayama, Puerto Rico, and sees a related charge of about $32 million. PepsiCo Inc. said it plans to invest $1 billion in China over the next four years, as part of the company’s strategy to expand in emerging markets.

Sen. Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent urgning him to explore alternatives to closing a bottling facility in Binghamton, N. Y. Nestle Waters North America says the redesign of its half-liter bottle will cut the company’s use of plastic by 140 million pounds and help it avoid 260,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In an effort to reduce confusion in the grocery aisle and help consumers buy healthier foods, some of the nation’s largest food and beverage companies – including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo – have agreed to accept common nutritional standards and to use the same logo on their packages to denote the products that qualify. California law firm Milstein, Adelman and Kreger filed a suit against Fuze Beverage owner Coca-Cola and brand creator Lance Collins on behalf of all consumers in L.A., claiming that there is no scientific evidence supporting the brand’s claim that the Slenderize line helsp reduce weight, Beverage Business Insights reported.

The Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. announced three executive appointments for the company’s global management team. Rob King, whose served as President of PBG North America, will now expand his responsibilities to also include Mexico. Brent Franks has been named President of PBG Mexico and will now direct all facets of the company’s business there. Franks has served as PBG’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Chief Customer Officer since 2006. He succeeds former PBG Mexico President Pablo Lagos, who decided to pursue career opportunities outside the company. Victor Crawford has been appointed Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations and System Transformation. He will be responsible for the company’s go-to-market strategy, manufacturing and warehouse operations, global revenue management, and information technology. Crawford served as PBG’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations since 2006.

The 7-Eleven convenience chain plans to test centralized distribution for bottled and canned beverage deliveries at 300 stores in Los Angeles in 2009. Kirin Holdings Co., voluntarily recalled 570,000 bottles of Volvic mineral water in Japan after some consumers complained the product had a bad odor – later determined to be caused by paint in shipping containers. New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope wrote an article for her blog “Well” summarizing recent finding on high-fructose corn syrup.

increased distribution to a total of nearly 4,000 stores with new grocery accounts Safeway, Publix, King Soopers, Wegmans, HEB, Albertsons in Southern California, Nevada and Colorado and select Super Target stores. Changing Times Vitamins, Inc., announced Coors of Las Vegas has become a distributor for RecoveryX, a sports drink that contains an algae extract that has been shown to reduce swelling and could support a compromised immune system. AirTran Airways announced that it will add vitaminwater focus to its inflight beverage options effective immediately. The airline alsonannounced that it will be the first airline to serve FUZE Refresh on its flights. Grown Up Soda (GuS) signed a distribution deal with Columbia Distributing for Washington State. The brand also expanded its footprint within Whole Foods, adding the Rocky Mountain region. GuS has also won placement in 240 SuperTarget stores nationally, shelved in healthy-bev grab-and-go case in deli departments. Reed’s Inc formed an “enhanced partnership” with Spokane, Wash.-based Rosauers Supermarkets. The chain has committed to carry full line of Reed’s Ginger Brews and Virgil’s All Natural Sodas.

Alarmed over the reported flagging energies of the McCain presidential campaign, VOLT soft drinks has begun delivering cases of its product to McCain offices in several states. “We’re an underdog brand and even though 54.2% of our employees have already voted for Sen. Barack Obama, we’ve got to be true to our roots and help the underdog,” said VOLT founder Owen Ryan. GoodBelly has announced organic certification for its product line. With the new establishment of a U.S. production facility, GoodBelly has now received USDA organic certification for the entire line. Pepsi unveiled a new social-media strategy by creating a page on called: The Pepsi Cooler. The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with World Wildlife Fund, announced new targets to improve water efficiency and reduce carbon emissions within its system-wide operations, while promoting sustainable agricultural practices and helping to conserve the world’s most important freshwater basins. Muhtar Kent, president and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, will be honored with the top award of the United States Council for International Business at a November 12 gala in New York. Andy Baldwin – a doctor, Navy officer, humanitarian, and ironman – partnered with Skinny Water when he ran in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 2, in order to raise some funds and awareness for the Armory Track & Field Foundation of New York City. Celsius Holdings, Inc. announced that this year’s Celsius Florida CEO Fitness Challenge promotes fitness, health, and quality of life for CEOs and their employees. Florida cities participating in this challenge include Jacksonville, Naples, Ft. Myers, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. The Florida CEO Fitness Challenge will benefit the American Diabetes Association.