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WAG takes fresh food focus to a new level

BY Barbara White-Sax

Walgreens’ success with fresh foods has left the retailer hungry for more. In its flagship Chicago store, Walgreens has pumped up its fresh and prepared departments with a fully stocked sushi bar, grab-and-go deli offerings, self-serve yogurt, a juice bar, and fresh baked goods and confections from well-known local sources.

The format also contains a gourmet wine “store-within-a-store” that carries specialty cheeses and meat. With an eye to customer service, touch-screen kiosks are on-site — one to help customers select the appropriate wine, another to guide them in making the perfect cocktail.

One of its Duane Reade stores added a FreeZee slushie station and an oatmeal station.

The chain couldn’t be more on target. A recent report from the Hartman Group revealed that perishables and fresh food have been gaining share of grocery dollars for years. The market research firm says real opportunity exists in fresh, packaged food — what Hartman is calling the “third grocery sector.”

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Pace adds new Restaurant Style salsas to portfolio

BY Allison Cerra

CAMDEN, N.J. — Pace is building on the success of its Restaurant Style salsa with three new flavors.

The three all-natural, gluten-free salsas include garden pepper, a blend of bell peppers, jalapenos and lime; garlic and lime verde, made with tomatillos and a touch of garlic and lime; and southwest chipotle, a chipotle chili puree with crushed tomatoes, red peppers and onions. Pace debuted the product line last year in select markets.

"Consumer demand for bold and fresh flavors is strong in the salsa category, and our new restaurant style salsas should appeal to both our most loyal Pace salsa fans, as well as to those people who enjoy sampling a wide array of salsa flavors and styles," Pace brand manager Randy Beck said. "By tapping into the increased interest in bringing the restaurant experience home, we believe the Pace brand will lead a fast-growing category segment."

Pace Restaurant Style salsas will be sold in 16-oz. bottles at a suggested retail price of $2.99.

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Bigs sunflower seeds line gets ranch treatment

BY Allison Cerra

BOULDER, Colo. — Thanasi Foods has expanded its Bigs sunflower seeds line with a new flavor.

Bigs Hidden Valley Ranch-flavored sunflower seeds joins the Bigs lineup of salted and roasted original, Vlasic dill pickle, Bacon Salt sizzlin’ bacon, Frank’s RedHot buffalo wing and sea salt and black pepper flavors, the company said.

Bigs Hidden Valley Ranch sunflower seeds will hit store shelves nationwide in June and will be available 0.7-oz, 2.75-oz. and 5.35-oz. sizes.

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