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Gluten-free gains ground

BY Barbara White-Sax

Gluten-free products continue to gain ground in the snack food aisle, but drug chains have been slow to bring in these increasingly popular products.

About 3 million Americans suffer from Celiac disease, and the prevalence of the disease is on the rise. May has been designated Celiac Awareness Month, and as awareness has increased, more consumers are being diagnosed with the condition. Many consumers who don’t have sensitivity are opting for gluten-free products because they think they are healthier.

Sales of gluten-free products increased about 74% from 2004 to 2009, according to the Nielsen Co., and are projected to grow from 15% to 25% per year over the next several years. Packaged Facts projected that gluten-free product sales will reach $2.6 billion by 2012.

Companies that produce gluten-free products said the gluten-free portion of their business is growing significantly. Barbara’s Bakery, which makes gluten-free treats, estimated gluten-free product sales are up 30%. At Natural Foods, sales of its gluten-free snacks surged nearly 74% from 2004 to 2009.

Natural Foods recently introduced gluten-free curls, puffs, baked crisps and multigrains in single-serve bags to fill a niche for gluten-free products in snack-on-the-go sizes, according to Christine Brown, Natural Snacks marketing manager. “We wanted to get into schools with the products and also meet the needs of consumers who wanted to bring these snacks in their lunch or eat them on the go,” she said.

Even mainstream snack and cereal manufacturers are positioning their products as gluten-free. General Mills reformulated rice Chex to be gluten free, Blue Diamond is marketing its new Nut Thins as a gluten-free product and Quaker is touting the gluten-free aspect of its rice cakes.

Packaged Facts data indicated that supermarkets account for 30% of gluten-free product sales. Drug stores are carrying more products — CVS, for example, stocks Lundberg Family Farms rice chips in two flavors — but have no designated section for the category.

“Drug stores have been a bit slower to add gluten-free sections than grocery stores,” said Todd Kluger, VP marketing for Lundberg Family Farms. Kluger said that for retailers a special section isn’t necessary. “They can place gluten-free versions of food on the shelf next to products containing gluten. It’s all about helping a gluten-free consumer have as much choice as possible.”

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Bounty continues Make a Clean Difference program in L.A.

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI Bounty’s Make a Clean Difference program made a stop at a Los Angeles elementary school, with the help of husband-and-wife actor duo Peter Facinelli and Jennie Garth, along with dozens of local Los Angeles-area volunteers from HandsOn Network and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation.

The Make a Clean Difference program helps make schools “Bounty clean,” from cleaning cafeterias to planting around front entrances in public schools across the country, by uniting more than 1,000 volunteers to transform the learning environments of 30 public schools in 10 cities across the country. This week, Bounty visited Los Angeles’ Kingsley Elementary School.

“Jennie and I are thrilled to be here in Los Angeles to join Bounty and all of the volunteers who have given their time today to truly make a difference in the lives of these young students,” Facinelli said. “As parents of three daughters, we understand the importance of inspiring children in the classroom, and we are happy to be part of a program committed to improving their learning potential.”

Aside from “Twilight”-saga star Facinelli and “90210’s” Garth, several other celebrities have participated in the project, including singer Mary J. Blige and actress Gabrielle Union, who announced the program’s launch in April.

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Kimberly-Clark continues prostate cancer awareness campaign

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS The maker of Depend products is kicking off its “The Depend Campaign to End Prostate Cancer” for the second time.

Kimberly-Clark said its Depend brand’s four-month campaign kicked off this month to celebrate Men’s Health Month and culminates in September with National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, engaging a star-studded lineup of sports legends as campaign ambassadors and awareness advocates.

Through 2010, proceeds from the purchase of each package of Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Guards for Men will contribute to a total donation of $250,000 to ZERO –– The Project to End Prostate Cancer –– to help fund education and research initiatives. New additions to the lineup include: Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, pro-baseball legend and Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith and Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Bossy, who will help introduce the program in Canada. Returning to this year’s team are Football Hall of Famers Rod Woodson and Len Dawson, World Boxing Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez and baseball legend and ZERO board member Ken Griffey, Sr.

“More than 3.8 million men in the United States are currently managing some form of incontinence, many of whom are doing so as a result of a prostate-related health issue,” said Mark Cammarota, Depend brand marketing director at Kimberly-Clark. “The Depend brand continues to be a valued resource for consumers looking to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle while managing incontinence, and through ‘The Depend Campaign to End Prostate Cancer’ we remain committed to promoting much-needed discussion and publicizing that this disease is not only treatable, it’s beatable.”

For more information about “The Depend Campaign to End Prostate Cancer,” visit www.Depend.com.

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