FREMONT, Mich. -- The first of Gerber Products Co.'s reformulated core line of products -- now without starch and sugar -- have hit grocery stores. The rest will follow within the next six months.
Al Piergallini, Gerber's chief executive officer, said the remaining Gerber recipes will be available to supermarkets as seasonal crops are harvested and production runs are completed. The first new entry, "2nd Foods Bananas," made its debut late last month.
The company plans to have 121 reformulated products in the marketplace by the end of 1996. The lines affected include "1st Foods," "2nd Foods," "3rd Foods" and "Gerber Graduates." Modified categories within each line are fruits, dry cereals, dinners, vegetables and yogurt juices.
Piergallini said the company chose to reformulate some of the items in the line after consumer research revealed that parents did not want added starch and sugar.
"About a year ago, the trends in the marketplace told us that mothers' ideas were changing. They did not want these products [with added starch and sugar]," he said.
Though Gerber officials maintain that the company has not lost market share to its competitors, sales figures obtained from A.C. Nielsen, Schaum-burg, Ill., show that it dropped 3.8 percentage points for the 52 weeks ended March 9, 1996.