Jamba, Inc., Emeryville, Calif., said it hiredJulie Washingtonas vice president of consumer products, licensing and growth initiatives forJamba Juice Co. The appointment follows the promotion of Susan Shields to senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

Officials said Washington has more than 15 years of brand management, licensing and sponsorship experience. She was most recently vice president of marketing at Luxottica Retail, where she was responsible for LensCrafters' brand strategy, advertising and marketing plan execution. Washington also has worked at Procter & Gamble and the Gillette Company.

Since announcing a licensing growth platform as a strategic priority, Jamba has made significant progress in developing licensing alliances to launch new products, officials said. Jamba-branded frozen novelty products -- developed with Oregon Ice Cream -- launched earlier this year. Branded frozen smoothie kits -- developed with The Inventure Group -- will be introduced in retail stores this summer.

NexCen Brands Inc., Atlanta saidPretzelmaker andPretzel Timefranchises will introduce Mini Pretzel Dogs, miniature all-beef hot dogs wrapped in Pretzelmaker's.original pretzel dough. The new Mini Pretzel Dogs are offered in six-piece and 12-piece servings and can be paired with any of Pretzelmaker's delicious dipping sauces and wide selection of beverages.

Michael Curtis, vice president and head of NexCen's research & development department, said the company began developing the Mini Pretzel Dog after two of Pretzelmaker's other signature products, the Pretzel Dog and Pretzel Bites, were enthusiastically embraced by both customers and store owners.

"Our R&D team works tirelessly to develop and test concepts that are not only delicious, but also live up to Pretzelmaker's reputation of high quality and innovative products," said Curtis. "The new Mini Pretzel Dogs' flavor is second to none and we believe that they will quickly become a customer favorite." 

Jenn Johnston, senior vice president of brand marketing for NexCen Franchise Management, added that the introduction of the Mini Pretzel Dogs also fulfills a growing consumer demand for "portable" snacks.

"One of the trends we've seen with our customers is an increasing demand for snacks that can be enjoyed on the go," said Johnston. "The Mini Pretzel Dogs are another versatile option from Pretzelmaker perfect for shopping with friends at the mall, a bite between errands or any other occasion requiring a quick snack."