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Reports: Tesco bringing loyalty program to Fresh & Easy

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — British retailer Tesco will launch its loyalty card program in the United States, according to published reports.

Tesco reportedly is launching the program in an effort to make a profit on its Fresh & Easy stores on the West Coast. The stores, which opened in 2007, have had difficulty turning a profit. The company now operates 175 stores, but has continued losing money.

The new card will allow customers to win points when they use it, much like loyalty cards it offers in the United Kingdom and other markets.

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Drano Snake Plus looks to tackle toughest clogs

BY Allison Cerra

RACINE, Wis. — Look out, plumbers: A new drain cleaning kit has come to town.

SC Johnson has boosted its Drano line with Drano Snake Plus, which promises to resolve the toughest clogs and touts a money-back guarantee. The product combines a flexible, easy-to-use 18-in. tool with a powerful pro concentrate gel that directly clings to the clog.

As part of the product launch, Drano has tapped Melinda and Rob Babiak of the online network LookWhatMomFound.com as the brand’s newest representatives.

Drano Snake Plus retails for $6.99 and is available in the home cleaning sections of food, drug, do-it-yourself and mass merchandise stores, such as Target, Walmart and CVS.

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Portion control shouldn’t be ignored by CPGs, Mintel says

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Research firm Mintel hosted its New Products and Consumer Insights Pavilion in New Orleans last week and highlighted the importance of portion size, noting that many consumer packaged goods companies ignore the nutrition guideline.

During the event, more than 600 attendees voted on their favorite portion-control items. Top products were Sensible Portions veggie snacks variety pack from Canada, followed by Emerald Nut and Granola Mix in the United States, and Krave Chocolate Hazelnut Cereal from Ireland, which captured second and third place, respectively.

“As companies respond to the new U.S. nutrition guidelines, it appears that the most important issue is largely ignored by CPG companies — portion size,” Mintel new products expert Lynn Dornblaser said. “100-calorie packs helped the U.S. consumer think about easy ways to control consumption, but today the packages are less focused on just 100 calories and more focused on providing additional benefits.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services released the seventh edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which placed stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity due to the rising obesity rates among adults and children. Officials took the guidelines further by ditching the food pyramid, which was updated in 2005, in favor of a plate-shaped symbol. The new symbol was unveiled in June.

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