Leaf to sell Lutti sweet brand French news reports claim that the French subsidiary of Leaf International is planning to sell the European sweet brand Lutti. According to newspaper Le Figaro, current owners CVC partners and Nordic Capital are going to sell the business to an unnamed Dutch private equity fund, due to pressure from the current strong consolidation in the European confectionery market. The brand was formerly owned by ingredients company CSM, which sold the business to Leaf in December 2004 for €850m. However, the company was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. Leaf International is a pan European sugar confectionary company with its headquarters in the Netherlands. The company operates 14 production units throughout Europe and exports its products to over 50 countries. Well known Leaf brands include Chewits in the UK, Jenkki and Sportlife in Scandinavi, and Red Band and Malaco in continental Europe. Mars harnesses caffeine trend Global confectionery company Mars is launching an alternative version of the traditional Snickers brand in the US, adding 60mg of caffeine, taurine and B-vitamins for an extra energy boost. "Snickers Charged offers consumers a bar of substance and a delicious and satisfying way to tackle the afternoon hours when one needs to are -power," Michele Kessler, vice president of marketing, said in a statement. Several confectionery and snack companies have launched 'caffeine strong' products in the US over recent times, aiming to target time-poor and over-stressed consumers. Last year, a molecular scientist in Canada launched Encaff, a range of caffeinated breakfast bars, cereals, donuts and bagels, while the unlikely sounding caffeine-coated potato chips were developed by the Golden Flake Snack Foods in September. According to a survey carried out by Mars, caffeine products are slowly growing in popularity across the US, and 84 percent of the Americans aged between18 to 24 questioned said they consume caffeinated products on a daily basis. The company plans to roll out the new Snickers bar across the country in March this year, Kessler said. Death of heir to Lindt chocolate dynasty Rudolph Spruengli, son of the Lindt family and executive chairman of the company for over 20 years, passed away Wednesday, the company has announced. It was Spruengli who took the company public in 1986, listing it on the Swiss stock exchange, after being the fifth generation of the Lindt family to hold the post. During his leadership the company also made several groundbreaking moves, including the invention of the Lindt Spreungli chocolate process (LSCP), which reduces processing time 90 percent by pre-treating cocoa kernels before mixing them with other ingredients. Today, Lindt is one of the leading manufacturers of premium and dark chocolate, with firms all over Europe and the US. Earlier this week the company predicted that full year revenue for 2007 will hit CHF 2.95bn (€1.8bn), a 14 per cent increase from the year before.