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New Lean Cuisine Flatbread Melts put a new wrap on lunch

BY Tara Smith

SOLON, Ohio On the heels of the successful Lean Cuisine Panini launch, Lean Cuisine today unveiled its new Lean Cuisine Flatbread Melts, convenient sandwiches that are similar to the high-end lunch wraps typically found at a restaurant or cafe.

The Lean Cuisine Flatbread Melts are available in four varieties that offer a combination of high-quality meats, sauces, melted cheeses and vegetables, including chicken philly, chophouse steak, pesto chicken and chicken ranch club. Additionally, the Flatbread Melts are 330 calories and contain no more than 9 grams of fat.

The Lean Cuisine Flatbread Melts have a suggested retail price of $3.19 and will be available in the freezers of grocery stores nationwide in starting this month.

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Jones Soda names Joth Ricci COO

BY Tara Smith

SEATTLE Jones Soda Co. on Thursday named Joth Ricci as its chief operating officer.

Ricci, 39, will join Jones Soda on Monday. He is currently general manager of Columbia Distributing Company, a beverage distributor based in Portland, Ore.

Peter van Stolk, the founder and chief executive of Jones Soda, recently stepped down. The company did not say why he left, but his departure came after three consecutive quarters of disappointing financial results. Jones also has been hit by several shareholder lawsuits claiming executives and board members pushed up the share price, then sold stock before poor first- and second-quarter earnings reports caused the price to plunge—claims which the company has denied.

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Anheuser-Busch makes push into Latino market

BY Tara Smith

ST. LOUIS Anheuser-Busch’s latest marketing push is geared toward Latinos because of their growing number, expanded buying power and evolving tastes.

By chasing after Spanish-speaking drinkers, big brewers like Anheuser-Busch are benefiting from the Latino culture among non-Hispanic drinkers, as well.

“This [Latino] market is not a niche anymore—it’s a mainstream market,” said Ines Rodriguez-Gutzmer, Atlanta-based senior vice president at Ketchum, an international public relations and marketing agency. “Do you like Shakira? Do you eat tacos? The influence of Hispanic culture is everywhere.”

Anheuser-Busch is planning a 25 percent spending increase this year in Spanish-language advertising. Spending on such national outlets as Telemundo will increase 45 percent. Much of the “air cover” will push Bud Light and Budweiser, the company’s No. 1 and No. 2 beers in the United States. Additionally, the company last year launched an extension to the Bud family to appeal to Latino drinkers. The premixed tomato cocktail, Chelada, is aimed primarily at Mexican-American drinkers, many of whom already were mixing similar cocktails.

Anheuser-Busch expects its broad advertising campaign casting Budweiser as the “Great American Lager” will resonate with Latino aspirers itching to upgrade their beer selections. “Contrary to a lot of people’s thoughts, Budweiser can grow,” said Dave Peacock, vice president of marketing at Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. beer division.

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