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Frito-Lay Beer-Battered Onion Rings potato chips hit shelves

BY Jason Owen

PLANO, Texas — Ruffles, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division brand, is bringing the tailgate party right to the house with the introduction of Ruffles Max Beer-Battered Onion Rings flavored potato chips, the company announced today.

Onion Rings, the widely popular bar food, second only to the ubiquitous French Fry, according to CNN’s "Eatocracy" food blog, has gained a notable following recently, especially among men.

"Guys live for those moments when they’re hanging out together at a bar, diner or tailgate party trading epic stories and munching on their favorite snacks," explained Tony Matta, VP marketing of Frito-Lay North America. "Onion rings are one of those staple guy-get-together foods. We wanted to incorporate that flavor for guys to share for any impromptu gathering — just grab a bag off the shelf and throw a party with your crew."

The Ruffles brand is going all out for guys as the calendar shifts from the quiet of winter to the party atmosphere of spring. College basketball is at its apex. Spring Break trips are under way, and celebrations of St. Patty’s Day are upon us. Ruffles MAX beer-battered onion ring-flavored potato chips offer a new snack experience.

Ruffles originally introduced onion-ring flavored potato chips in late 2011 in limited distribution, but Ruffles MAX beer-battered onion rings now fall under the brand’s MAX line, which includes flavors inspired by real foods. The snack is available for a limited-time nationwide where Ruffles chips are sold.

Ruffles MAX beer-battered onion rings are offered in two sizes: a 2.5-oz. bag for a suggested retail price of $1.49; and an 8-oz. bag for a suggested retail price of $4.29.

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Krispy Kreme introduces Glazed Banana Kreme Pies

BY Rebecca Haughey

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Krispy Kreme on Thursday announced the introduction of Glazed Banana Kreme Pies, available for a limited time at select mass merchants, grocery and convenience stores.

"We are always working to bring new and exciting flavors and treats to fans of our snack products," said Mark LaBrecque, Krispy Kreme’s senior director – U.S. Marketing Activation. "The Glazed Banana Kreme Pie is the perfect seasonal complement to our popular chocolate, apple and cherry- filled pie assortment."

Glazed Banana Kreme Pie blends the flavor of fresh bananas with smooth Kreme filling inside a crust topped with original glaze. The pies retail for a suggest price of $1.09.

March 2 is National Banana Cream Pie Day. Twitter users who follow @KrispyKreme and tweet #BananaKREME throughout the day have a chance to win a sweet treat from Krispy Kreme.

 

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Walmart, Michelle Obama celebrate progress on push for healthier, more affordable foods

BY Mike Troy

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — First Lady Michelle Obama paid a special visit to a local Walmart Neighborhood Market store on Thursday to praise the efforts of the retail giant on its initiatives to put healthier, more affordable items on its shelves and thus, into the shopping carts of its millions of customers.

Three years ago, the First Lady created the "Let’s Move" healthy food initiative and the following year Walmart unveiled five broad commitments that aligned with her vision for ending childhood obesity within a generation.

As Walmart EVP of corporate affairs Leslie Dach noted during a media briefing that preceded the First Lady’s store visit, Walmart recognized that shoppers want to eat healthier food, but don’t always know or have the information available to make the right choices, and oftentimes cost is a consideration, especially given lingering economic challenges, surging gas prices and the impact of payroll tax changes.

"For years, the conventional wisdom said that healthy products simply didn’t sell – that the demand wasn’t there, that higher profits were found elsewhere, so it just wasn’t worth the investment," the First Lady said while standing at a podium in the store’s produce section. "Thanks to Walmart and so many other great American businesses, we are proving the conventional wisdom wrong. Every day, with their success, these companies are showin us that what’s good for kids and good for family budgets can also be good for business."

One of the goals Walmart set two years ago was to help customers save $1 billion on healthy foods and that goal has already been surpassed, according to SVP of sustainability Andrea Thomas. Walmart has helped shoppers save $2.3 billion on healthy food through lower prices with three years remaining on the company’s five year timetable for accomplishing its five main objectives.

Another key initiative involved the creation of an icon that could be used to alert shoppers to healthier options. The "Great For You" icon was launched last year and today can be found on 1,300 items including fruits, vegetables and select private label products under the Great Value banner.

"The icon is really helpful for parents because it gives them a simple tool to make healthy choices," Thomas said.

She added that Walmart evaluated more than 4,000 of its private label products and found that 32% of them were worthy of the "Great For You," distinction. More are on the way as Walmart opens up usage of the icon to branded suppliers next week during an event in Orlando known internally as the Year Beginning Meeting.

Another of Walmart’s commitment involved opening stores in areas known as food deserts where residents lack access to affordable fresh foods. The Neighborhood Market visited by the First Lady was one of 86 such stores Walmart has opened in food deserts during the past two years and plans call for a total of 300.

As a result of those 86 openings, Thomas said 264,000 Americans now have improved access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.

To make food healthier, Walmart also sought to reduce sugar, salt and eliminate trans-fats by reformulating products. The company took a targeted approach by category and managed to reformulate private label and branded items without altering the flavor profile in a way that would disrupt sales. In the bread category, Thomas said sodium was reduced by 13%.

"We are proud of our work, but we have more to do. Our suppliers have been very positive and cooperative with us," Thomas said.

 


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