Chicago Based Equal® Sweetener Celebrates “30 Years of Love” With Essay Contest and Diamond Prize

Chicago Based Equal® Sweetener Celebrates “30 Years of Love” With Essay Contest and Diamond Prize

America’s First Blue 0-Calorie Sweetener Asks Brand Fans to Describe What “Love” Means to Them for the Chance to Win

Chicago, IL (April, 2014) – For more than 30 years, Equal® has added sweetness to America’s favorite beverages and recipes.  The trusted, Chicago-based leader among 0-calorie sweeteners will celebrate “30 Years of Love” by conducting a “Love is Equal®” online essay contest in which one entrant will win a stunning Meteor Cut® Diamond Ring from Lustig Jewelers valued at over $14,000.  From among all entries, 80 finalists will be selected based on originality and creativity to attend a “blue” carpet event at West Loop hot spot Nellcôte restaurant in Chicago where the winning entry will be announced.

Beginning Monday, March 31, fans can tune into 101.9FM The MIX where Chicago’s top-rated morning co-hosts Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart will direct fans to visit keyword Equal to enter the “Love is Equal®” essay contest.  Contestants will have until Friday, April 11, to describe what “love” means to them, in 30 words or less.  On Monday, April 14, 80 finalists will be contacted by email with details and access to attend the exclusive “blue” carpet event on Thursday, April 17, hosted by The MIX Morning Show traffic reporter Melissa McGurren at Nellcôte.  The event will feature live entertainment, delicious bites by head chef Jared Van Camp, and a signature Equal® “Blue Diamond” cocktail.  The night will culminate with the announcement of the winner of the exquisite Meteor Cut® 1.92-carat Lustig Jewelers diamond ring.

“Equal fans have made these the sweetest years ever,” said Julie Higgins, Senior Manager of Brand Marketing for Equal®.  “We wanted to celebrate this special milestone in our “sweet” home of Chicago, by presenting one lucky fan with this gorgeous Lustig Jewelers diamond.”

The “30 Years of Love” campaign celebrates the sweetest years in the brand’s history which began in 1979 when Merisant®, the manufacturer of Equal®, launched in Europe.  In the 80’s the Company launched Equal® in the U.S.  The Equal® brand expanded in 2010 with their own line of sucralose (yellow) and saccharin (pink) packets

Equal® products are available at grocery, mass, club and drug stores.  Consumers can also look for the brand in the sweetener caddy at coffee shops and restaurants.  Equal® is offered in 115 and 230-count boxes for a suggested retail price of $3.29 and $5.99 respectively.  Equal® Spoonful 4oz has a suggested retail price of $3.29.  Retail prices may vary by market.

For more information, visit or find the brand on facebook

About Equal®

For more than 30 years, Equal® has offered its trusted “blue” packets using the ingredient of aspartame.  Equal® also offers yellow (sucralose) and pink (saccharin) packets that bear the brand name and deliver the quality and taste patrons expect.  Equal® is a registered trademark of Merisant Company.

About Merisant Company

Merisant Company, the manufacturer of Equal® brand 0-calorie sweetener, is a privately held company headquartered in Chicago.  Merisant is a global leader in the sweetener industry and has a presence in more than 90 countries with over 420 employees worldwide.

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Chicago Based Equal® Sweetener Celebrates “30 Years of Love” With Essay Contest and Diamond Prize

New! Pride 5K Lakefront Night Race & Party on June 26 Gets Pride Weekend Off and Running

Inaugural Run/Walk Designed to Build Community Will Benefit the New Center on Halsted Senior Center

Chicago, IL (April 15, 2014) – Runners take your mark!  Registration is now open at for the first annual lakefront PRIDE 5K run/walk, which will take place on the evening of Thursday, June 26, just steps from Boystown.  In an effort to plus-up the fun and to further unite the community, everyone is encouraged to register with a partner.  Those that “couple up” will each receive a special $5 registration discount.

The new race, produced by Star Events, kicks off at 7:30pm near the Lakefront at Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive.  Awards will be given for the top individual finishers and the top pairs.  A post-race party near Diversey Harbor, featuring DJ Adam LeBlanc of the popular local band Sixteen Candles, will immediately follow the race and last until 10:00pm.

The $50 individual registration fee includes: a limited edition t-shirt designed by Chicago’s very own Borris Powell of Borris Powell Designs, valuable coupons and special gifts from local area businesses and two drink tickets for use during the post-race party.

The PRIDE 5K race will benefit the new Center on Halsted Senior Center (set to open in Fall 2014) and celebrate the incredible strides the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community has made over the last year toward full equality.  Packet pick-up will take place on Friday, June 20 (6-10pm) and Saturday, June 21 (9am-5pm) at Center on Halsted, 3656 North Halsted Street, in the lobby.

Pride 5K race sponsors include: 101.9 The MIX, Boi Magazine, Bud Light, Borris Powell Designs, Chicago Phoenix, Chicago’s 100.3, CMSA, GC Magazine, Ro-Bro Marketing & PR, Windy City Media Group.  If you are interested in sponsoring the race, please contact Michelle Krage at StarEvents, [email protected]

For more information and to register, visit  Please follow Pride 5K on facebook, twitter @pride5Kchicago and Instagram for regular race updates.

About StarEvents

StarEvents is Chicago’s award-winning event company that specializes in producing world-class community celebrations, races and festivals.  The organization is dedicated to raising money and awareness for community groups and local nonprofit organizations.  Founded in 1996, StarEvents in one of the largest Chicago festival, race and event production companies in the Midwest.  They offer a wide range of creative services that include event production, event management, logistical support, public relations, marketing and conceptual processes for all types of special events.  For more information, please visit

About Center on Halsted

Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day, located in the heart of Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood.

Pride 5K logo design (donated) by Chris Newman,

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Chicago Based Equal® Sweetener Celebrates “30 Years of Love” With Essay Contest and Diamond Prize

Plum Market® to Set Up Shop in Detroit Metropolitan Airport

Michigan-Based Grocer Will Open First Airport Location in 2015
Farmington Hills, Mich. (April 14, 2014)Plum Market, the Michigan-based grocer known for natural, organic, local and specialty items, is planning to  open its first airport location in the McNamara Terminal of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in 2015.  Hojeij Branded Foods will operate the new store.
Travelers can expect to find a vast assortment of hot and cold prepared foods that are made fresh daily.
Additionally, the shop will offer:
    • Zingerman’s Coffee Bar and foods from Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Creamery and Candy Manufactory
    • Seasonal organic produce purchased directly from local producers and growers for optimal freshness
    • Grab-and-go natural and organic snacks and beverages
    • Apothecary with natural and holistic wellness products
    • WineBar offering a selection of local craft beers, specialty mixed drinks and incredible wines that are hand selected by Michigan native Madeline Triffon, America’s first certified female Master Sommelier
The grocer, who operates three full-service stores in southeast Michigan (Bloomfield Township, Ann Arbor and West Bloomfield) and one in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, is thrilled to open their first airport express location.
“Plum Market inspires guests to Live Well, with Taste,” said Matt Jonna, the President & Co-Founder.  “The new Detroit airport location will offer travelers more convenient and quality healthy eating options while on-the-go.”
The shop will be designed by Saroki Architects and feature a sophisticated, yet minimal design and layout that’s easy for guests to navigate.
For more information, visit, on Facebook, and follow the Company on Twitter @PlumMarket.  Plum Market is also active on Pinterest and Instagram.
About Plum Market®
Plum Market® offers a full-service shopping experience to inspire guests to live well, with taste.  The privately owned multi-channel company is based in Farmington Hills, Michigan and has full-service grocery stores in Bloomfield Township, Michigan; Ann Arbor, Michigan; West Bloomfield, Michigan; and Chicago, Illinois, in addition to ecommerce and foodservice operations.  Matthew Jonna and Marc Jonna are third generation retailers who grew up working for their father’s store, Merchant of Vino Marketplace, a natural, organic, and specialty food and wine store with six locations across the Midwest.  The chain attracted significant attention from competitors and in 1998 Whole Foods Market acquired the company.  Both Jonnas continued to work with the Whole Foods Market executive leadership team.  Matt and Marc left Whole Foods Market to pursue developing a new grocery concept, later to become Plum Market with the first store location opening in 2007.
Chicago Based Equal® Sweetener Celebrates “30 Years of Love” With Essay Contest and Diamond Prize

Building Tomorrow Launches #giveusyourtomorrow Campaign to Help Fund the Construction of Schools in East Africa

Humorous Social Challenge Campaign Asks Millennials to “Give Us Your Tomorrow” to Help Children in Need of a Better Tomorrow

Indianapolis, IN (April 8, 2014) Building Tomorrow (BT) today announced the launch of a new social media campaign, which uses humor to generate awareness and funds to help the organization construct self-sustained, village-run primary schools in rural Uganda.

The campaign invites people to challenge their social following on facebook, twitter and Instagram to post a humorous picture or video of themselves during the month of April (National Humor Month) using the hash tag #giveusyourtomorrow.  The “challenger” is encouraged to challenge four or more of their friends and to make a $2 minimum donation for each person that accepts the challenge.  Participants can select from three challenges:

  • Share a photo that bares their best “bedhead”
    • Ad copy:  “Some charities ask for a lot of money.  We just want you to sacrifice your vanity.”
    • Post an embarrassing photo of themselves from their adolescence
      • Ad copy:  “The haircut that did nothing for you can do a lot for an East African kid”
      • Share a video of themselves singing their heart out
        • Ad copy:  “You’ll never make the top 40 here.  But you’ll make a lot of fans in Uganda.”

The campaign will also feature video by illustrator Brian Rae and animator Pablo Declan; with music from English folk/rock band Noah and the Whale and campaign promotional content produced with ABOVE AVERAGE COMEDY NETWORK.

The campaign was developed based on insights learned during proprietary research conducted for BT by Young & Laramore, which involved 250 men and women ages 18-24.  These millennials are doers and therefore looking to be engaged versus being told.  They also have a strong desire to give what they have (even if it is a small amount) to organizations they see as making a difference and align with their values.  Although, they routinely feel duped into giving under the premise of a small amount per month only to have to pay it all at once.

“The campaign was designed not to guilt people to donate, but to engage those who want to make a difference,” said George Srour, Founder and Chief Dreamer, Building Tomorrow.  “We also recognize that people want to give, but may not be able to make large single donations.  Each BT primary school costs approximately $70,000, so every 8,750 people that make an $8 donation will help to fund one new school for 315 children in need.”

The organization has the support of the Clinton Global Initiative and proudly hosted President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea at the Building Tomorrow primary school of Gita back in 2012.  While there, they visited teachers and students in classrooms, watched dances by the school choir and greeted hundreds of community members gathered at the academy.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu also serves as Honorary Chair of the organization.

During the March 2014 Global Education and Skills Forum, in Dubai, President Clinton noted, “I actually have been in one of those schools in the last three years and two of the teachers I saw teaching children I would have been thrilled to have as my own daughter’s teachers.”

How Building Tomorrow Works

Founded in 2006, the social-profit organization is aiming to enroll 15,000 primary-level students annually in 60 BT primary schools throughout East Africa by 2016.  The organization chose to start with Uganda because more than 50 percent of the population is under the age of 15.  Shockingly, only 1.4 percent of all charitable donations are earmarked for education, even though 776 million people worldwide are illiterate.  Building Tomorrow works with government and local leaders to identify communities in rural Uganda with little or no access to a primary school and a strong commitment to education.  With the goal of engaging and empowering communities, the organization offers to fund building materials and skilled labor in return for a donation of three acres of land, 15,000 hours of labor and a community’s promise to support the school long-term.

“Infrastructure drives change and ownership strengthens communities,” said Srour.  “We’re asking you to consider giving us your tomorrow, so these children can have a better tomorrow.  We envision a world where every child with a desire to learn has a safe, permanent, local and supportive environment in which to do so.”

Over the last five years, supporters of BT, including a college and university network of over 25 chapters nationwide, have invested more than $1.5 million in Uganda to seed 20 BT primary schools, 14 of which are currently operational.  The remaining six primary schools are under construction and planning.  Beyond graduation rates, success is also measured by new connections within the community and in an increased sense of self-worth among students.

Consumers can donate via the Building Tomorrow website and follow the organization on facebook and twitter @BldgTomorrow.  The new campaign was developed by Young & Laramore Advertising, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

About Building Tomorrow

Building Tomorrow (BT) is an international social-profit organization empowering young people to invest their resources, time & talents in providing students in East Africa with access to an education. Over the last five years, supporters of BT, including a college network of over 25 chapters nationwide, have invested more than $1.5 million to seed 20 BT primary schools, 14 of which are currently operational. The remaining six primary schools are under construction and planning.  For more information, visit

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Chicago Based Equal® Sweetener Celebrates “30 Years of Love” With Essay Contest and Diamond Prize

Jewel Joins Pure Via® to “Tune in to Pure”

All-Natural Tabletop Sweetener Offers Consumers

Exclusive Digital Cookbook/Songbook at

Chicago, IL (April 2, 2014) Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC today announced that Jewel, the award-winning recording artist and author has become a brand ambassador and spokesperson for Pure Via® in the U.S. and Canada.

The all-natural, non-GMO*, zero-calorie sweetener has partnered with Jewel to promote the brand’s new “Tune in to Pure” campaign, which encourages consumers to take pleasure in the simple things that make every day sweeter.  It also promotes the use of the natural sweetener used in Pure Via® Rebaudioside A (Reb A), which comes from the sweetest and best-tasting part of the stevia leaf.

Pure Via® will kickoff the partnership with Jewel at the Academy of Country Music’s 2nd Annual ACM Party for a Cause® Festival at The LINQ in Las Vegas from April 4-5.  The Academy will welcome Jewel on Saturday, April 5 at 2:30pm at the ACM Party for a Cause® Festival for a public autograph session and to donate $10,000 on Jewel’s behalf to Project Clean Water, a non-profit charity foundation that is working to improve the quality of life for millions of people by helping to provide clean water on a global scale.

The highpoint of the campaign is a free digital cookbook/songbook, which gives consumers immediate access to free downloads of never before released versions of two hit Jewel songs at  The book also offers Jewel’s tips for using Pure Via, delicious recipes, coupons, song lyrics, and Jewel’s own photos.  Fans can return to the site on September 1, 2014, to download two additional free songs – Jewel’s holiday favorites – as well as more recipes, made with Pure Via®.

Jewel’s image will appear on specially marked packages of Pure Via® as well as in the brand’s national advertising and promotional materials: a freestanding insert (FSI), in September, digital banners, consumer sampling, social media and in-store activation.  The packages will also feature download information for the free cookbook/songbook.

“Jewel is a natural fit for Pure Via,” said Cheryl Gill, director, North America Marketing, Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC.  “She is passionate about living a pure life and using products like Pure Via with no artificial processing, preservatives or color.  Just simple non-GMO* ingredients.”

“Food should be as pure and close to nature as possible,” said Jewel.  “I use Pure Via in my favorite beverages as well as my cooking and snacking because it makes life just a little sweeter – naturally.”

Pure Via® will also host consumer contests and giveaways on the brand’s facebook page, including signed merchandise, posters and CDs.

Look for the new Pure Via® packaging featuring Jewel in the sweetener aisle at grocery, club and mass merchandise stores across the U.S. beginning in April.

In addition to Pure Via,® consumers can also enjoy Pure Via® Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar & Stevia Blend, a lower calorie alternative to regular sugar that combines turbinado sugar and stevia plant extract to create a golden brown all-natural sweetener that’s crunchy, sweet and delicious.  Consumers can use both options like sugar to make foods and beverages taste naturally delicious.  They simply spoon, sprinkle, dip or mix the sweetener in coffee, tea and iced tea or in their favorite recipes.  A sweet addition to a healthy lifestyle, both blends are non-GMO*, kosher and suitable for individuals with gluten intolerance.

Discover more at or, and on and

About Pure Via®

Pure Via® is an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener this is made from Rebaudioside A (Reb A), the sweetest, best-tasting part of the stevia leaf.  Reb A is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Crafted to be perfect in coffee and herbal tea, Pure Via® is available in 40- and 80ct. boxes for a suggested retail price of $2.49 and $4.29, respectively.  You can purchase Pure Via® in the sweetener aisle at grocery, club and mass merchandise stores across the U.S.  Pure Via® is a registered trademark of Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC.

*About Non-GMO

Pure Via® believes that a food or food ingredient is Non-GMO if it is not the product of bioengineering. Bioengineering means the group of applied techniques of genetics and biotechnology used to cut up and join together genetic material and especially DNA from one or more species of organism and to introduce the result into an organism in order to change one or more of its characteristics. Pure Via® believes that food ingredients that are derived from GMO plant material should also be deemed GMO. Pure Via® believes that food ingredients are not GMO if they are produced using enzymes harvested from micro-organisms that are the product of bioengineering.

Pure Via® has based its definition of Non-GMO on current food labeling regulations in European Union where they manufacture and sell other Non-GMO sweeteners. Pure Via® may modify or supplement their definition of Non-GMO from time to time in order to conform to any applicable laws or regulatory guidance.

About Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC

Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC is committed to providing natural sweeteners and to helping people eat better and live healthier, more fulfilling lives.  Formed in 2006, Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC launched its first all-natural sweetener brand, Sweet Simplicity®, in 2007, and the company continues to develop products that are perfectly natural and naturally pure.  Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Merisant Company, the maker of Equal® and Canderel® and a global leader in the manufacture, marketing and distribution of tabletop sweeteners, with sales in over 90 countries.  For more information, visit

About Jewel

From the remote ranch of her Alaskan youth to the triumph of international stardom, four-time Grammy nominee Jewel, hailed by the New York Times as a “songwriter bursting with talents,” has enjoyed career longevity rare among her generation of artists. Whether alone with her guitar or fronting a band of ace musicians, Jewel has always been a charismatic live performer, earning the respect of other singer-songwriters such as Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, who, not only invited her to open their shows, but mentored her in the early phases of her career. After a tremendous amount of success as a singer-songwriter and over 27 million albums sold, Jewel released a Greatest Hits album in 2013. She also starred as June Carter Cash in the Lifetime biopic “Ring of Fire,” which earned four Emmy nominations. After joining NBC’s “The Sing Off” as a new judge in 2013 she released her much-anticipated follow-up holiday album, “Let It Snow.”  Fans can follow Jewel on facebook and @jeweljk on twitter

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