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Sweet take on tradition

BY Barbara White-Sax

FAIRFIELD, Calif. — Jelly Belly’s new Peas & Carrots mellowcreme mix is a whimsical, retro product that has been revived right from the company’s antique candy molds. The “baby carrots” in the mix are orange sherbet mellowcreme, while the “peas” are green apple flavor — a sweet version of a classic veggie combination.


The product is available in a nostalgic 5.5-oz. resealable “can” that looks a lot like its vegetable counterpart. The mellowcreme mix also is available in 3-oz. bags, 8.5-oz. tie-top bags and in bulk bins.

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Walgreens, Supervalu brew biz with beer

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — The real question behind the introductions of a store-brand beer from both Walgreens and Supervalu is whether or not the new brews will be hits by year’s end. In other words, can Big Flats 1901 and Buck Range Light be to beer what Trader Joe’s Two-Buck-Chuck was to wine?


To date, there really hasn’t been a strong private-label, mass-market beer. There’s Trader Joe’s Hofbrau Bock and Costco’s Kirkland Signature handcrafted ales, but both of these retailers proffer craft beers — premium beers that cater to a niche market. 7-Eleven introduced the value-priced Game Day in April 2010, but according to published reports, that store brand has performed poorly. 


U.S. private-label penetration into the branded beer business is slim — store-brand beer grabbed only a 0.9% market share across food, drug and mass for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 25, 2010, according to Nielsen Co. data.

Of course, how you interpret that data all depends on your perspective — whether you’re a beer-half-full or a beer-half-empty kind of person. While some may see an impenetrable wall of branded 12-packs stacked to the ceiling, others see opportunity.


After all, that 0.9% private-label market share represents a 100% improvement over the prior year, when store-brand market share was tabulated at less than 0.1%.


And private-label beers in Europe enjoy a much greater share of the market — as high as 36.5% in Italy and 34.5% in Spain, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association. Private-label beers even enjoy as much as 21.2% market share in the United Kingdom. “It gives you some idea what the potential may be if retailers make a commitment to promoting their own brands in the category,” suggested Dane Twining, PLMA spokesman.

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Pa. supermarkets beat archaic liquor laws, expand beer, wine

BY Michael Johnsen

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in December ruled in favor of Wegmans and supermarkets across the state over whether or not the grocers could sell beer on their premises — the ruling expands what many consider to be the most restrictive alcohol distribution laws in the country. 


In Pennsylvania, beer can be purchased only from a restaurant/bar or beer distributor. Beer distributors can sell only by the case or keg, while restaurants and bars cannot sell more than 16 12-oz. beers per purchase. 


Wegmans, Giant Eagle, Weis and Giant Food Stores all were securing restaurant/bar liquor licenses for “café’s” that had their own entries but were housed within the supermarket.


The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board also has expanded locations where wine can be sold. Before last year, sales of wine and spirits could be sold only at state-owned shops and wineries. But the PLCB first began testing a vending machine wine kiosk at Wegmans and Giant Food Stores last summer, and is in the process of expanding that program with a planned rollout of 100 kiosks.

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