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TABS Group survey notes upswing in organic food sales

BY Allison Cerra

SHELTON, Conn. — Organic food sales are continuing on an upward trend as more shoppers frequented mainstream stores for the products and younger consumers were the most loyal to purchasing such items, a TABS Group survey found.

According to TABS Group’s annual organic product survey, which polled 1,000 consumers ages 18 to 75 years, total organic product sales rose approximately 15% to 20% for the year, while the percentage of consumers that claimed they purchased organic products increased from 39.8% in 2011 to 41.8% in 2012. The survey also found an 11% increase in the number of product types purchased by a typical organic shopper, including such staple items as vegetables, meat, milk and eggs. Meanwhile, chicken, beef, ice cream and hair care products realized gains.

When it comes to where these items are purchased, 62% of consumers said they buy organic products at mainstream retail stores, versus natural food or specialty stores (38%). Younger consumers also were a key demographic, TABS Group said, as 48% of respondents younger than 40 years old reported using organic products, versus 34% of those ages 60 years and older. What’s more, respondents under 30 years of age bought on average 4.6 different organic products, compared with 2.9 different products purchased by people ages 60 years and older.

"Younger consumers, with typically the least disposable income, show the greatest loyalty to organics. This likely will increase organics’ sales and market share over time as their buying power grows and their preference is passed on to their children," TABS Group CEO Kurt Jetta said.

TABS added that people earning less than $30,000 a year and those with children purchased more organic products than higher earners and those without children.

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Wheaties celebrates champions with retro boxes

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS — Wheaties is introducing three new Wheaties boxes that feature retro images of former "Wheaties Champions."

The cereal brand said touting images of Muhammad Ali, Bruce Jenner and Mary Lou Retton on its boxes is designed to call out how these three athletic legends have continued to inspire America’s future athletes.

“Their respective records speak for themselves, but it is their legendary performances that have made each champion an inspiration to so many,” Wheaties marketing manager Betsy Frost said. “Wheaties’ fans have long asked for these icons to be featured on the box again. We’re thrilled to fulfill their requests and once again honor each athlete’s spirit of championship.”

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Safeway cooks up a new competition

BY DSN STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway is launching a first-of-its kind competition that could land one chef a job with the Safeway Culinary Kitchens and his/her recipe included in the Open Nature Skillet Meal line.

The competition will culminate in a final cook-off at the Safeway Culinary Kitchens in Pleasanton, Calif., where chefs will cook their original, delicious and nutritious skillet meals. Executive chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli, who appears on Food Network’s "Chopped" and "Iron Chef," will join an experienced judging panel of Safeway chefs and executives to select the winning chef who will join the culinary team.

"We know our busy shoppers want delicious, healthier and convenient meals," said Mike Minasi, president of marketing at Safeway. "Our state-of-the-art Culinary Kitchens feature 4,000 sq. ft. of food development work space, including a kitchen set-up reminiscent of what our shoppers have in their homes. It is here that we are able to develop innovative Safeway food products tailored to what our shoppers want – great tasting food at affordable prices."

Safeway will be hosting the regional cook-offs at the following three campuses: California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Seattle and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago on April 23rd, 25th, and 27th respectively. Safeway is encouraging top-notch chefs everywhere, from culinary schools to restaurants, to participate in this competition.

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