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Buying local produce edges out buying organic, Mintel research finds

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Despite the recent organic product boom, it seems that many consumers are putting more of an emphasis on buying local produce over organic options.

According to recent Mintel research, more than half (52%) of consumers said locally-sourced products are more important that organic products. What’s more, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, fruit products with a natural/organic claim have declined 58% between 2008 and 2011, while vegetable product launches with that claim have decreased by 77% during the same time period.

"Natural and organic produce items aren’t completely passe, but local varieties are steadily gaining ground," said John Frank, category manager of consumer packaged good and drink reports at Mintel. "Interestingly enough, senior citizens are even more likely to believe that buying local produce is more important than organic."

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Starbucks ‘refreshes’ ready-to-drink offerings at retail

BY Allison Cerra

SEATTLE — Starbucks has made its global entry into the energy category with a new line of ready-to-drink beverages.

Starbucks said its Starbucks Refreshers line combines green coffee extract (made with 100% Arabica beans) with a boost of natural energy from caffeine and fruit juice. Each 12-oz. can touts 60 calories.

Starbucks Refreshers, currently sold at select stores, are available in raspberry pomegranate, strawberry lemonade and orange melon varieties.

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Stouffer’s extends Farmers’ Harvest line

BY Allison Cerra

SOLON, Ohio — Stouffer’s has introduced new single-serve meals under its Farmers’ Harvest line.

New Stouffer’s Farmers’ Harvest steam meals-for-one line offers single-serve meals that are packaged in a new Steam Perfect Bag to deliver a flavorful, no-fuss meal in minutes, the company said.

"At Stouffer’s, we know today’s busy consumers don’t always have the time to purchase and prepare great tasting, wholesome meals with quality ingredients — that is why we are so excited about our new Farmers’ Harvest steam meals-for-one," Stouffer’s director Kelly Malley said. "The combination of farm-picked ingredients and steam technology via the innovative Steam Perfect Bag allows us to lock in all of the amazing flavors and bring consumers the fresh, delicious taste they crave in a meal."

The product, which has a suggested retail price of $3.89, is offered in five new varieties including chicken florentine, creamy shrimp scampi, five cheese tortelloni, garlic chicken and cheesy southwest-style chicken.

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