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Mini Melts ice cream vending machines hit Walmart stores in time for summer

BY Jason Owen

PHILADELPHIA — Walmart customers will enjoy a cool reason to shop at the mass merchandise company this summer as Mini Melts ice cream automated kiosks rollout nationwide.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to serve Walmart customers throughout the United States, by not only providing a premium ice cream product, but by doing so consistently with Walmart’s low-price philosophy," said Dan Kilcoyne, president of Mini Melts USA.

Mini Melts ice cream is a brand of "beaded" ice cream sold at such places as theme parks and shopping centers. The ice cream is manufactured with a patented flash freeze process using liquid nitrogen.

The automated kiosks will be manufactured exclusively by Fastcorp, a Danbry, Conn.-based company. "Our automated kiosks provide superior merchandising and they are the most energy efficient and reliable kiosks on the market. We are thrilled to be part of this program with two exceptional companies, Walmart and Mini Melts," said Todd Piatnik, president of Fastcorp.


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Vitamin Squeeze offers powdered water enhancers

BY Jason Owen

PHOENIX — Vitamin Squeeze announced today the release of a full line of powdered water enhancers available in supermarkets nationwide.

Vitamin Squeeze Powder Water Enhancers come in eight flavors and three varieties:

  • Multi-Vitamin (Fruit Punch, Acai Grape Pomegranate, Strawberry Watermelon and Lemonade);

  • Energy (Black Cherry, Blood Orange and Blueberry Pomegranate Acai); and

  • Weight Control (Pink Grapefruit).

Vitamin Squeeze Powder Water Enhancers are made from natural ingredients and contain zero calories, sugars and carbohydrates. They are free of gluten, preservatives and artificial sweeteners.

Vitamin Squeeze Powder Water Enhancers are available in supermarkets across the country, including Safeway, Albertsons and Supervalu.


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Study finds mass merchandiser private-label foods, beverages rival national brands

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Walmart and Target are ramping up offerings of private-label products directed at multicultural and health-conscious consumers, according to a new study.

The findings were part of a study by market research firm Packaged Facts on mass merchandisers, "The Supercenter Grocery Shopper: U.S. Consumer Patterns at Walmart, Target, Meijer and Fred Meyer." The report noted that mass merchandisers in recent years have marketed private-label food and beverage products that rival those of national brands in price, value and quality.

"National and regional supercenters alike have upped the ante in terms of the breadth of private-label products offered, the type of product information displayed on packaging and the level of premiumization of these products," Packaged Facts publisher David Sprinkle said.

Walmart has led the pack in terms of private-label food and beverage purchases, accounting for 60% of customers overall. In particular, its Great Value brand calls out the presence or absence of potential allergens on packaging, while the retailer has sought to provide healthier options by changing ingredients, such as lowering the sodium content in items like ketchup and canned vegetables.

Meanwhile, Target has reached out to cultural groups, such as Latinos and Asians, through its Archer Farms private-label brand, with such products as Mediterranean-inspired pasta salad kits and Indian-based summer sauces, in addition to making Archer Farms products certified organic, which could appeal to health-conscious consumers.

The survey found that 52% of Walmart shoppers say prices are why they shop at their favorite stores, while almost 60% say they always look for special offers.

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