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Abbott kicks the can


Abbott Laboratories is relaunching its Ensure nutritional drink in a reclosable plastic bottle, getting rid of the traditional can packaging.

The new format is in response to consumer demand for a more convenient and portable product, said Abbott, which expects the eight and a half ounce bottle to be widely available in stores by the end of summer.


"Through extensive consumer research, we found our users wanted, and needed, a more convenient nutrition option to fuel their active lifestyles," said Mark F. Gorman, vice president of medical nutritionals at Abbott Laboratories.


Broadcast advertising, national events, product displays, sampling, and coupons will support the new packaging launch. In-store displays will feature single bottles of Ensure to showcase the product's convenience and portability.


Ensure was first created 30 years ago and now comes in five flavors: vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, strawberry and coffee latte. Other varieties of the Ensure line - Ensure Plus, Ensure High Protein, Ensure High Calcium, and Ensure Fiber With FOS - will be available in the reclosable bottle over the next 18 months, said the firm.


Last month Abbott Laboratories announced it had bought nutrition bar company Zone Perfect, revealing a clear desire to use its medical nutrition expertise in the booming, more mainstream functional food sector.