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Southeastern Grocers launches private-label transformation

BY David Salazar
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Southeastern Grocers, which operates the Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys and Winn-Dixie banners, announced Thursday that it will be transforming its private label brand in its largest-ever undertaking, which will encompass some 3,000 items across categories throughout each banner. 
 
The company has already tested more than 2,330 of its own-brand items, which the company has said led to improved quality reformulations on more than 2,260 products, and that the roll-out that will take place over the next year will bring better quality, value and differentiation to customers without increasing price. 
 
“By purchasing new Southeastern Grocers own brand items, customers will enjoy known brand quality at own brand price savings between 20% and 30% on their groceries… and if you don’t agree, then you can have the own brand product on us,”  Southeastern Grocers president and CEO Ian McLeod said. “We are committed to providing quality products to our customers.”
 
The company will be launching three new brands — SE Grocers Essentials, which focuses on budget household basics; SE Grocers, products that have the same taste and quality of established brands; and Prestige, which offers such specialty and indulgent products as ice cream. 
 
The company will be using its SEG Sensory Lab to conduct product development and consumer taste-testing trials throughout the year. Some of the products hitting shelves this month are SE Grocers Popcorn, Prestige Popcorn, SE Grocers Potato Chips in 21 varieties and 107 SE Grocers Essentials. 
 
“Not only are we transforming by investing in our stores and in lower prices, but we are also investing in the quality of our products,” McLeod said. “I am pleased to announce our largest-ever program of product development, with the launch of three new and refreshed Southeastern Grocers brands — SE Grocers Essentials, SE Grocers and Prestige.”
 

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Four Loko unveils first Bold Series varieties as brand grows segment share

BY David Salazar
CHICAGO — Phusion Projects, maker of the Four Loko brand of malt beverages, announced Wednesday the first of the product innovations that it has scheduled for this year with the launch of its Four Loko Bold Series. The announcement also comes as the company marks a robust sales year. 
 
Four Loko Bold Series’s first two additions are Four Loko Frost and Four Loko Blaze. 
 
“Four Loko Bold Series is born out of nights that are a little bigger, a little crazier, and a little more unexpected,” Phusion Projects president Jim Sloan said. “The line caters to consumers who dare to create their own unique and epic stories.”
 
Four Loko, which saw a reformulation in 2010 to remove caffeine, guarana and taurine from its ingredients list, said that by the end of 2016, it had outpaced growth in the flavored malt beverage segment for 15 consecutive months, according to IRI data. IRI data also shows that Four Loko has a 24.6 dollar share in the FMB segment among 24/25-fl. oz. cans, and that its brand family dollar sales were up 8% from 2015.  
 
“On the heels of a great year, we continue to stay true to what our consumers tell us they want and enjoy most,” Sloan said. “Four Loko drinkers are spontaneous, choosing to live in the moment. We wanted to take the spirit of the Four Loko brand and build on it. This led us to create the Four Loko Bold Series — the first line in a series of product innovations Four Loko will be releasing in 2017. Everything about Bold is based on a thirst for adventure, from the product design to unconventional flavor names.”
 
Four Loko Bold Series is sold in 23.5-fl. oz. cans and are available nationwide. 
 

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Angry Orchard rolls out seasonal Tapped Maple, limited-release Spiced Apple varieties

BY David Salazar
WALDEN, N.Y. — Angry Orchard on Tuesday announced the launch of its latest cider inspired by the seasons. Angry Orchard Tapped Maple, which is available through April, takes its inspiration from the late winter tapping of maple trees, blending American culinary apple with a hint of Vermont maple syrup. 
 
“Like apples, not all maple syrup is created equal. The flavors can vary significantly from season to season and depending on production techniques,” Angry Orchard head cider maker Ryan Burk said. “My team and I visited maple farmers from across the Northeast to dive deeper into the qualities that make maple syrup unique, then took those findings back to our cider house to incorporate this natural sweetener into a dry cider we'd been working on. Ultimately, we found a nice combination with Tapped Maple.”
 
The company’s seasonal experimentation have also brought about another new, limited-release cider that will be part of Angry Orchard’s Winter Orchard Sampler Variety Pack, Angry Orchard Spiced Apple. The flavor combines a fresh apple taste with lively seasonal spices. 
 
The Tapped Maple variety is available in six-packs and the Winter Orchard Sampler Variety Pack through April 2017, and the Spiced Apple Variety is available as a limited release in the variety pack through April 2017. 
 

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