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Bartell, Coca-Cola sponsor Seattle ice skating event

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE — Retail pharmacy chain Bartell Drugs and Coca-Cola’s Northwest Region division will offer free ice skates and admission for the Winterfest program at the Seattle Center on Dec. 23 from mid-day to evening, the companies said Wednesday.

"Bartell Drugs is proud to be a part of Seattle and its surrounding communities," Bartell VP sales John Weith said. "Our customers are the reason for Bartell’s success over the years, and because of that, we are always looking for ways to give back. We have been working to help keep Seattle families healthy for over 122 years, so the Winterfest program is a natural fit for our customers."

Coca-Cola’s sponsorship is part of its "Live Positively" philosophy of community involvement, the company said, and part of its efforts to promote physical activity and nutrition education programs.

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Tropicana launches line of fruit-and-vegetable drinks for kids

BY DSN STAFF

PepsiCo’s Tropicana brand is introducing a new way for moms to sneak veggies into their kids’ diets: Farmstand, a fruit-and-vegetable drink to hit the refrigerated section of supermarkets in January.

According to the Associated Press, shelf-stable juices like V-Fusion don’t have to be kept chilled, because they are exposed to higher temperatures in the pasteurization process. But Tropicana sees the fact that their new beverage is chilled as beneficial to the brand. "Chilled is very important — it signals high quality; it signals premium; it signals freshness," said Memo Maguivar, Tropicana’s chief marketing officer.

Perhaps the most significant difference between Farmstand and other fruit-and-veggie drinks, however, is the consistency and the way it’s being marketed. While such juices as Naked and Bolthouse Farms tend to have a denser consistency, Farmstand is thinner in a way that’s more comparable to orange juice.

Additionally, the company is playing down the vegetables in the drink after consumer surveys indicated that moms don’t want their kids catching them in the act of sneaking vegetables into their diets, according to Jeff Miller, senior marketing manager for Tropicana. Thus, the names of the first three flavors — strawberry banana, peach mango and pomegranate blueberry — tout the fruits in the drink, and the packaging displays images of fruit while the vegetables are partly concealed behind the logo.

Farmstand juice will contain approximately the same amount of calories as regular orange juice — with about 120 calories and 28 g of sugar in an 8-oz. serving — and uses fruit to cover the taste of beets, sweet potatoes, and yellow and orange carrots.

The new Tropicana drinks will be sold in Walmart later this month before expanding to supermarkets and other retailers in January.

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Natural Grocers opens new store in Helena, Mont.

BY Alaric DeArment

HELENA, Mont. — A chain of natural foods stores is opening its third Montana location Monday.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage announced the opening of the new store, in Helena, Mont., following stores in Billings and Missoula earlier this year. The 55-year-old Colorado-based chain offers only natural and organic products.

"We feel we’re a great fit for Helena," Natural Grocers co-president Kemper Isely said. "We’re excited to open our doors for local residents who care about value and health and who are looking for affordable options to help their families be healthy."

The company emphasizes the sale of products that do not contain artificial ingredients like colors, sweeteners, flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils or produce grown with pesticides. The company currently operates 60 stores in 12 states and also offers such services as nutritional coaching and meal planning and local sourcing.

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