Ardea Beverage Co., maker of Nutrisoda carbonated beverages, has hired former PepsiAmericas executive Richard Wilson as president and general manager.

Cott Corp. , the world’s largest bottler of private-label soft drinks, has removed CEO Brent Willis and president Rick Dobry. To improve profitability, the company plans to cut costs and remove branded beverages from its product portfolio. Interim CEO David Gibbons says, “We will continue to reposition Cott to play a greater role as a champion of private label.”

Noble Juice has made the nationwide switch to bottles made from 100% polylactic acid (PLA), a polymer made from corn.

The Food and Drug Administration has ruled that brown rice packaging may use label language designating it as a whole-grain food that can help consumers avoid cancer and heart attacks. The ruling came at the request of petitioners that included Mars Inc., packager of Uncle Ben’s rice.

Unilever, maker of Breyer’s and Ben & Jerry’s, has opened two new Centres of Excellence for ice cream research and development. Located in Colworth, UK, and Caivano, Italy, they will employ 130 staffers between them.

H.J. Heinz Co. has announced plans to build a 225,000-square-foot plant in Florence, S.C., to produce Weight Watchers, Smart Ones and Boston Market frozen foods. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2009.

Coca-Cola has won the Grand Prix for design at the Annual Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. The prize, the first one awarded for design by the Cannes festival, was for the brand’s “refreshed visual identity and packaging.”

A standardized sustainability label symbol for beverages in the UK has been established by consulting firm Zenith International and safety standards organization NSF Int’l. The symbol includes a table that quantifies recycled material, carbon offset and other factors.

French food retailer Casino is using color-coded label symbols to signal the carbon footprint of some of its store-brand products. The color scheme tells the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in both the manufacturing of a product’s packaging and its transportation, along with the proportion of packaging that can be recycled.

Germany has exempted bio-derived beverage bottles from its strict recycling laws. The regulation, which affects bottles made from at least 75% renewable resources, takes effect next Jan. 1.