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ConAgra introduces Ultragrain flour line

BY Allison Cerra

OMAHA, Neb. — ConAgra Mills has introduced a new line of all-natural white whole wheat flour.

Ultragrain is naturally milder and sweeter in flavor, and delivers a softer, smoother texture and speck-free appearance, the company said. The line is available in two varieties: all-purpose flour — which touts 30% Ultragrain whole wheat flour, giving it 9 g of whole grain per serving — and white whole wheat flour, which has 100% whole grain nutrition with the taste, texture and appearance of refined flour and offers 30 g of whole grain per serving.

The flours are available in 2-, 5-, and 10-lb. bags.

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Pepsi Next gets official launch date

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Pepsi Next officially is coming to the market, PepsiCo announced this week.

Pepsi Next, the company said, is crafted to taste like regular cola but touts 60% less sugar. The company tested out the product, which hits store shelves March 26, in Iowa and Wisconsin.

"As part of our continued commitment to innovate our carbonated soft drinks portfolio, we developed Pepsi Next, a great-tasting, full-flavor cola with 60% less sugar," PepsiCo Beverages America CEO Massimo d’Amore said of the new beverage this past summer. "In thorough consumer research, Pepsi Next resonated very well with consumers who are seeking a new, reduced-sugar alternative to their loved cola."

The product launch is being supported by a Walmart sampling program, in-market sampling across cities nationwide, a 30-second television advertising spot, a Facebook page and Facebook digital application, "Improv You" Internet Taste Test, multi-city public relations events, as well as targeted and relevant Hispanic advertising and grassroots marketing.

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Sam’s Club partners with author Heidi Murkoff’s brand to market baby products

BY Alaric DeArment

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Mass merchandiser Sam’s Club has made a deal with the pregnancy and parenting brand of an author who has signed on to write articles in its in-store magazine.

The retailer announced Tuesday a partnership with What To Expect‘s online component, WhatToExpect.com, to offer baby products on the site. The brand, a division of Everyday Health, is an offshoot of Heidi Murkoff’s New York Times bestseller, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Murkoff has signed on to write for every issue of Healthy Living Made Simple, the bimonthly magazine recently launched by the retailer.

"When you add up all those nursery needs and baby care necessities, little ones can come with a big bottom line, and for many parents, it’s a super-sized stretch for their budgets," Murkoff said. "By collaborating on this exclusive retail program with Sam’s Club, we’ll be able to help moms and dads provide the best for their babies without breaking the bank."

Starting at noon on Wednesday, Sam’s Club shoppers can participate in a What To Expect parenting Twitter chat, which Murkoff will host, and five participants who tweet with #HealthyMoms and follow @WhatToExpect and @SamsClub will receive packs of baby products worth nearly $1,500, including a copy of Murkoff’s books and products from Gerber and Huggies.

"Sam’s Club is very excited to work with WhatToExpect.com to offer our new parents and expectant moms with expert advice form Heidi Murkoff, along with the important resources parents need, as well as high-quality and affordable products, such as diapers, car seats and feeding essentials," Sam’s Club SVP health and wellness Jill Turner-Mitchael said.

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