Introduction of Sobe Chocolate Bars Creates New Confection Category

Exclusively Sold at 7-Eleven(R) Stores for Three Months, New Bar Unveils The Future of Chocolate

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- HVC Lizard Chocolate, LLC and 7-Eleven, Inc. partner to develop and introduce SoBe Chocolate Bars, the first step in the evolution of the nutritious candy bar. By matching the sensual taste of its new good-for-you premium chocolate with performance catalysts such as taurine, ginseng and guarana, SoBe Chocolate has created the future of chocolate.

Available in four varieties including Drive, Energy, Power and Tsunami, the bars complement products from SoBe's popular beverage lines. Each flavor contains 65 percent to 70 percent chocolate (compared to the 15 percent of other chocolate bars) and infuses the new good-for-you rich milk or white chocolate with natural tastes, such as triple shot mocha, energy infused orange caramel or power-infused orange cream and are powered by performance enhancing healthy additives.

"Given the recent findings on the health benefits of chocolate, this is the obvious next step in the evolution of this important and beloved food," said Jim Walsh, CEO of HVC Lizard Chocolate. "This SoBe Chocolate bar not only feeds the soul but nourishes the body as well. It satisfies the senses and promotes peak performance of the brain and body."(2)

The launch of SoBe Chocolate Bars at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Show is designated to establish HVC Lizard Chocolate as the leader in the creation of a new confectionary category that responds to the consumer demand for great tasting healthy products. HVC Lizard Chocolate has partnered with SoBe to leverage the "healthy refreshment" consumer brand equity of SoBe Beverages with the "holistic" nature of its new chocolate products.

"The future of chocolate is functional indulgence," said Bill Meissner, VP of marketing for HVC Lizard Chocolate. "We expect SoBe Chocolate Bars to be the pioneer in leading this industry into a new tomorrow for chocolate products."

The new product launch comes at a critical juncture in the confection industry. While traditional "good tasting," but not so healthy, candy bar sales are stagnant with only a 1.2 percent sales increase in the past year(1), the top ten not-so-good tasting health and energy bars sales grew by 12.8 percent.

"The SoBe concept is simple: Bring a 'better-for-you' halo to indulgent commodity categories. When you combine great-tasting products, eye-catching packaging and premium ingredients with a playfully irreverent attitude, you win," said John Bello, CEO of SoBe Beverages. "SoBe Chocolate, with its healthy base, is a perfect candidate for a SoBe brand extension."

Retailing for $0.99, SoBe Chocolate Bars will be sold exclusively at participating 7-Eleven(R) stores for three months starting in October. 7- Eleven was an instrumental partner for the development and successful May introduction of SoBe gum and worked closely with HVC Lizard Chocolate on the development of SoBe Chocolate Bars. As of January 1, 2003, the SoBe Chocolate Bars will be available to all c-store outlets.

"7-Eleven consistently strives to develop innovative products for our customers," said Derek Schmitt, Category Manager for 7-Eleven, Inc. "We have seen tremendous growth of performance products across several categories and sought out the opportunity to create better-for-you snacking alternatives. SoBe Chocolate Bars offer our customers a new confection category."

HVC Lizard Chocolate and SoBe Beverages are supporting the product launch with a strong marketing commitment and an edgy platform, "Chocolate With Attitude." The aggressive launch strategy includes radio and outdoor advertising, promotions, public relations and field marketing.

An aggressive field marketing effort will be executed by HVC Lizard Chocolate "Zealots," more than 200 brand enthusiasts who will be dispatched to sample and create consumer buzz directly outside retail locations nationwide. Making their debut at the O'Neil Cold Water Classic surfing competition in Santa Cruz, California on October 22, the "Zealots" will also storm events across the country, sampling and fueling excitement about SoBe Chocolate Bars. To learn more about the new bars, visit the SoBe booth (#3413) during the NACS Show October 6-8.

About HVC Lizard Chocolate

Norwalk, CT-based HVC Lizard Chocolate was founded in August 2002 and is dedicated to evolving chocolate into the nutritious brain & body performance food of the future. In addition to their licensing partnership with SoBe Beverage Company, the Company has a chocolate partnership with Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate , a leading developer and innovator of gourmet varietal and functional chocolate.

About SoBe Beverages

Norwalk, CT- based South Beach Beverage Company is the maker of herbally- enhanced healthy refreshments marketed under the SoBe brand name. SoBe "healthy refreshment" beverages are formulated for individuals with active lifestyles. For more information, visit the SoBe Web site at or call the Lizard Line at 1-800-588-0548. SoBe is a subsidiary of PepsiCo Inc.

(1) IRI 52 weeks ending March 24, 2002

(2) London University College's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology recently reported evidence that the bioactive nutrients in chocolate may oppose the growth of cancer cells and work against blood clots that can cause heart disease. A recent book, written by a team of world-renowned scientists and titled Chocolate and Cocoa: A Review of Health and Nutrition, cites that chocolate and cocoa are rich in minerals the body needs, including magnesium and iron.

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