CENTER STORE

Rite Aid pulls more peanut products

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Feb. 18 added six products identified by the manufacturer as containing peanuts from Peanut Corporation of America, currently the focus of a Food and Drug Administration investigation into potential salmonella contamination, to be pulled from store shelves and included in the company’s initial voluntary recall announced Feb. 6.

Rite Aid is not aware of any reported cases of illness related to these products and removed the items from store shelves as a precautionary measure, the retailer stated.

While the company listed two of the items in its Feb. 6 press release announcing the voluntary recall, four nearly identical items by the same manufacturer but with different UPC codes were also pulled from Rite Aid store shelves by Feb. 6.

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Max Muscle introduces probiotics-enhanced protein bar

BY Michael Johnsen

ANAHEIM, Calif. Specialty retailer Max Muscle Sports Nutrition on Tuesday announced the launch of Max Crunch, a probiotics-enhanced protein bar.

The collaboration between Max Muscle and Ganeden Biotech, manufacturer of the patented probiotic strain GanedenBC30, breaks ground in the rapidly expanding market of probiotic-enhanced food products. “Considering the demands placed on the digestive systems of athletes and others who supplement with protein, it is imperative that the digestive system function optimally to properly utilize the added protein,” Max Muscle stated in a press release.

“We have long known the health benefits probiotics deliver in improving digestion and enhancing immunity, but we are just now learning about the ability to help with protein digestion,” stated Phil Harvey, chief scientific officer for Max Muscle. “This is a major breakthrough for the sports nutrition field.”

The 50-g Max Crunch bars come in Peanut Butter Perfection and Chocolate Rage flavors and contain 17 g of protein. The bars will be available individually for $1.99 to $2.50 and in boxes of 15 for $29.85 to $37.50 at more than 160 Max Muscle retail locations across the country starting this month.

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Salmonella outbreak effects sales of peanut butter products

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK The national salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 500 people, eight of whom have died, has not only prompted many retailers, including CVS and Walgreens, to pull certain products containing peanuts from their shelves but has had a significant impact on sales of peanut butter products, even those not affiliated with the particular supplier of tainted product.

“The peanut butter outbreak shows little ill-effect on prepackaged peanuts, but the peanut butter category is definitely showing the impact. It would appear that manufacturers and retailers are quickly removing potentially tainted products off of store shelves. For those who are not affiliated with the particular supplier of tainted product, now is the time to take extra measures to educate consumers and minimize any negative impact,” stated Todd Vale, SVP, Consumer & Shopper Insights at Nielsen.

According to recent data released by Nielsen, $72.5 million in jarred peanut butter was sold at food, drug and mass (excluding Wal-Mart) during the four weeks, down 11.5% compared with previous four-week period and down 3.8% compared with the same period a year-ago. According to Nielsen, while the year-over-year decline may seem minimal, it comes after eight consecutive periods of double-digit growth in this category.

In addition, 33.8 million pounds of jarred peanut butter was sold during the four weeks, down 11% from the previous four weeks and down 22.1% from the same period a year ago.

Nielsen noted that prepackaged peanuts, including bags, cans, jars and unshelled, have experienced a drop in sales but this pattern reflects the typical seasonal pattern seen for each of the past four years.

Nielsen stated that it will update the information at the end of the next four-week period to further measure the effect the outbreak and resulting recalls have had on consumer behavior.

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