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Hi-Chew adds peach flavor to fruit chews lineup

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES — Hi-Chew has sweetened up its fruit chews with a new flavor.

The fruit chew brand has expanded to include a peach variety. The Hi-Chew lineup currently includes strawberry, green apple, melon, mango and banana flavors. The company announced it was rolling out a grape-flavored fruit chew in late 2010.

Hi-Chew is available at convenience stores and such retailers as Ralphs grocery stores.

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John Bilbrey steps in as Hershey’s interim president, CEO

BY Allison Cerra

HERSHEY, Pa. — Hershey’s leader is bidding the confectioner farewell, the company announced Wednesday.

David West, who has worked at Hershey for 10 years and serves as its president and CEO, is leaving his post to become CEO of Del Monte. The candy maker’s board of directors appointed EVP and COO John Bilbrey to serve as the company’s interim president and CEO.

Bilbrey joined Hershey in 2003 as SVP and president, Hershey International.

“We’re pleased that J.P. has accepted this position,” Hershey board chairman James Nevels said. “He has worked closely with the board for several years and has been involved in all aspects of the company’s strategy and operations. The board has seen firsthand his leadership and expertise and unanimously made this appointment. We will work quickly to name a permanent chief executive officer to ensure the continuation of this orderly transition."

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Fresh & Easy expands gluten-free offerings

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Regional supermarket chain Fresh & Easy said that it is augmenting its gluten-free products range and will highlight the new offerings in stores through additional displays.

The company said it has added 15 to 30 new gluten-free items to its stores. Fresh & Easy currently boasts more than 500 products that do not contain naturally occurring gluten ingredients.

“We’re excited to give our customers what they’ve been asking for by expanding our range of gluten-free products and making them easier to find in our stores,” said Denise Webster, food scientist at Fresh & Easy. “Whether people are suffering from celiac disease or just want to cut gluten out of their diet, Fresh & Easy is a place where they can get great-tasting, affordable food made without gluten-containing ingredients.”

Last year, the retailer introduced more gluten-free items, created a labeling system for the products and added a list of all gluten-free products on its website, Freshandeasy.com/glutenfree.

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