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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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Pinnacle Foods rings NYSE Opening Bell to celebrate first day as public company

BY Jason Owen

NEW YORK — Parsippany, N.J.-based Pinnacle Foods — manufacturer and distributor of such food brands as Birds Eye, Duncan Hines, Vlasic, Mrs. Butterworth’s and others — opened for trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “PF” after its initial public offering.

CEO Bob Gamgort, along with members of Pinnacle Foods’ leadership team, celebrated the company’s first day of trading by ringing the NYSE Opening Bell and visiting the trading floor to observe the stock opening.

“We’re excited to welcome Pinnacle Foods and its family of iconic brands to the New York Stock Exchange,” said Scott Cutler, EVP and head of global listings at NYSE Euronext. “Through innovation and a focus on excellence, Pinnacle Foods’ products continue to grace the nation’s households after more than 150 years. We congratulate Pinnacle Foods on its IPO and are proud to partner with the company as it embarks on its journey as a publicly traded company.”

“I am honored to represent all employees of Pinnacle Foods who have worked tirelessly to make this day a reality,” said Pinnacle Foods CEO Bob Gamgort. “By reinvigorating our portfolio of iconic brands, we have built a company that can satisfy the needs of our consumers, partner with our retailers and create value for our investors. We look forward to continuing to build the value of this great company for years to come.”

Barclays Capital is the Designated Market Maker for the company’s stock.

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Coca-Cola seeks patent on new sugar-free fiber drink

BY Jason Owen

ATLANTA — Coca-Cola has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a new sugar-free beverage with added fiber, according to a report from the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

As the patent noted, "the present invention relates generally to the field of beverages and beverage concentrates. In particular, the invention relates to a novel sugar-free beverage concentrate with fiber."

The Chronicle noted, the new drink can be either carbonated or noncarbonated and also can be frozen and used in any known beverage dispenser.

Coca-Cola’s preferable goal, as the application noted, is to have the fiber content of the concentrated beverage from between 15% and 25% in a weight/volume percentage, but may vary from as little as 0.1% to about 30%. "The fiber content of the sugar-free beverage concentrate is present in a weight/volume percentage of between about 0.1% and about 30%, preferably between about 1% and about 25%, more preferably between about 10% and about 25% and even more preferably between about 15% and about 25%."

Consuming the recommended amount of dietary fiber in a daily diet is an important part of a healthy diet, according to some health experts. As the Mayo Clinic noted, fiber can help lower cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels and also can help to maintain a healthy body weight.


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