Kraft Foods

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Kraft has pledged to do its best to shield North American shoppers from rising food prices. Kraft plans to cut costs on the business side and change some product packaging, including taking a couple of slices out of its Singles cheese packs.Kraft has had to overcome some conflicts this year — notably, it had a falling-out with Starbucks that ended its role as the distributor of Starbucks packaged coffee to other retailers. Kraft also spent 2010 digesting its acquisition of Cadbury. Kraft’s largest shareholder, Berkshire Hathaway, had criticized the deal, and Warren Buffett sold 25% of his Kraft shares, but still retained nearly 100 million shares at year end. —S.D.

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PepsiCo

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Pepsi wants its brands at the front and center of consumers’ minds this year. Pepsi got back into the Super Bowl ad game, after a one-year hiatus, teaming up with Doritos for a contest that encouraged consumers to submit home-made commercials. Winners saw their videos air during the game.The pressure is on Pepsi, which just got ousted as the second-most popular cola in the U.S. by Diet Coke. It’s now in third place. Still, it has a bevy of food and beverage brands to pick up the slack. Abroad, Pepsi is pushing into Russia, having recently acquired 66% of that country’s mega food-firm, Wimm-Bill-Dann. —S.D.

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