CHICAGO -- Retailers are bringing in new lines of baby products and creating in-store children's activities, according to an informal poll taken at the Food Marketing Institute show here.
For instance, Gerber Products Co., Fremont, Mich., is introducing a line of natural and organic baby food. About 10 stockkeeping units will begin shipping next month to California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. An East Coast rollout is expected to follow.
A Gerber representative said West Coast retailers are integrating the new SKUs into their mix without hesitation. SN observed Encino, Calif.-based Gelson's Markets asking about the products.
Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y., has introduced a line of children's clothing into 31 of its 54 stores, said Patrick Koehl, merchandise marketing manager at Vertical Merchandising Systems, Brooklyn Heights, Ohio.
Safe-Strap, Somersworth, N.H., is launching an ad campaign to raise awareness about safety in shopping carts. The firm manufactures cart seat belts.
St. Louis-based Smart Products showcased its Saf-T-Shopper, a one-piece molded seat that doesn't require replacement pads.
Meanwhile, grocery retailers are increasingly offering consumers a supervised play area where they can drop off their children for up to an hour.
Koala Kid Systems by Koala Corp., Denver, is an interactive play area that can be customized for each retailer. Options include a video monitoring system that enables parents to observe their child from anywhere in the store. Furniture, flooring, video games and crafts are also available.
Another activity-center company, Keiser PlayConcepts, Fresno, Calif., offers similar options, in addition to its Keiser Play System, which is a soft, contained play area. Structures are designed as climbing units and mazes with or without slides.
First-time exhibitor Umix, Colorado Springs, Colo., showcased its Shake It Up formula feeding system. Nipple and o-ring replacement parts are now available as well.
And Presto Products, the Appleton, Wis.- based private-label products company, exhibited its new 8-gallon size diaper pail liners and 1-gallon size diaper disposable bags. Safeway and H.E. Butt Grocery Co. were among the retailers interested in the introductions.