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Hy-Vee promotes healthy cooking with in-store chef

BY Alaric DeArment

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Hy-Vee is the latest supermarket chain to bring a trained chef into the store to encourage customers to cook healthy food at home, according to published reports.

The Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader reported Wednesday that a local Hy-Vee store had brought in chef Scott Teal to oversee food displays, demonstrate ways to prepare food and teach classes. It also gives the store a way to showcase new produce, such as brown-colored chocolate grape tomatoes.

Hy-Vee has long emphasized healthy eating, and getting customers out of the restaurants into their kitchens is one way to do that. Natural food chain Whole Foods has a similar initiative, fielding an army of “cooking coaches” who talk to customers about what kinds of foods are available in the store and how to pick out the right kinds of food.

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Nickelodeon’s Jennette McCurdy to promote H-E-B back-to-school campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN ANTONIO — H-E-B on Tuesday signed celebrity Jennette McCurdy, co-star of Nickelodeon’s iCarly, to star in its new Gear Up for Back-to-School ad campaign. The campaign launches July 13 and runs through Aug. 31.

The H-E-B campaign will feature McCurdy in a series of TV and newspaper ads, outdoor boards, in-store signage and H-E-B’s My H-E-B Texas Life publication. An online component also plays heavily into the campaign and includes a presence on HEB.com and on H-E-B’s Facebook and Twitter pages. A Spanish-language campaign, featuring McCurdy, will run simultaneously in the select Texas markets of San Antonio, Austin, McAllen, Brownsville, Corpus Christi and Laredo.

“Jennette has proven to be a consistent favorite with children and parents alike, and we are looking forward to a positive response to her presence in the campaign,” stated Cory Basso, H-E-B Group VP marketing and advertising.

iCarly is the No. 1-rated cable show for children between the ages of 2 and 14 years. The show, now entering its fifth season, is a consistent Favorite Show winner at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, and McCurdy’s iCarly character, Sam, was voted Favorite Sidekick at the 2011 Kids’ Choice Awards.

In the Gear Up for Back-to-School campaign, H-E-B and McCurdy will offer families quick tips and solutions for starting off the school year on the right foot with back-to-school supplies and good nutrition.

To further add to the campaign, H-E-B is running two promotions in its stores. In the Gear Up and Go giveaway, customers will be invited to enter for a chance to win a year of free groceries or a back-to-school shopping spree sponsored by Netspend. Customers also can win more than 6,500 other prizes and offers.

In the Be A VIP with Jennette McCurdy promotion, customers will have the chance to win a meet and greet with McCurdy in their hometown. Additional details on both promotions and the Gear Up for Back-to-School campaign can be found at HEB.com/school.

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GNC management makeover continues

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — GNC on Tuesday continued its management makeover with the promotions of Jeffrey Hennion and Darryl Green and the announced resignation of COO David Berg.

The specialty retailer last week named Thomas Dowd, a 22-year GNC veteran, the company’s chief merchandising officer following the departure of Beth Kaplan, former president and chief merchandising officer. It also was announced last week that GNC CEO Joe Fortunato would assume the role of president.

Hennion has been promoted to EVP and chief marketing officer and Green to SVP domestic store operations.

"These promotions demonstrate the strength of the current management team, which has allowed us to restructure the merchandising and marketing organization utilizing internal talent after the recent departure of Beth Kaplan," Fortunato stated. "Tom Dowd and Darryl Green represent over 40 years of experience in the dietary supplement industry at GNC, including key areas like store operations, merchandising and franchising,” he said. “In addition, Jeff Hennion was recently recruited from Dick’s Sporting Goods and represents significant executive experience with over 20 years at Dick’s and at Alcoa in various executive roles, including marketing, e-commerce, social media, and finance and administration."

David Berg’s resignation will be effective September 2011 in his pursuit of other interests, the company stated. "David accelerated our international growth and strengthened our international management team to allow for continued core growth in our existing 48 international franchise countries,” Fortunato said. “The international management team continues to focus on growth in China and is pursuing opportunities in other key countries as well. We wish David well in his future endeavors."

Fortunato added that a search for a new EVP international operations will commence immediately to replace Berg.

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