KROGER ADDING PL SIDES IN DELI
CINCINNATI — This past summer, Kroger expanded its line of private-label brand, refrigerated side dishes in its delis as part of a huge launch of Kroger-brand items. The chain's officials described the rollout in a recent conference call with financial analysts. “In the past year, we launched over 600 new corporate-brand items, including several in the second quarter such as the enhanced Kroger Wholesome@Home line in the deli,” an official said. “Our deli [rotisserie and fried] chicken meets our customers' needs for a quick meal solution, and the addition of salads and sides rounds out our meal offerings.” Kroger executives also pointed out that the company has partnered with one of its large national-brand vendors to develop new salads, including a new BLT pasta salad, through a customer-driven process. On a recent visit to a Clarksburg, W.Va., Kroger location, however, two new private-label brand refrigerated side dishes — mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese in 24-ounce packages — were prominently displayed near the ready-to-eat chicken in the store's deli area. In trays with a heat-sealed film on top, the packaged items carried the Kroger logo and a line that said wholesome@home meals in minutes. Both were priced at 20 cents off the regular price of $2.99 each.
PRODUCE CONSUMPTION UP FOR KIDS
ATLANTA — Children under the age of 12 have been eating more fruits and vegetables since 2004, but consumption among teenagers declined during that period, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly. The report indicates that children under the age of 6 increased their fruit consumption by 11% and their vegetable consumption by 3% from 2004 through 2009. Kids in the 6-12 age group increased their fruit consumption by 7%, and their vegetable consumption by 2%, according to a summary of the report's findings sent to the press by the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Teens ate fewer fruits and vegetables during that period, though. Vegetable consumption fell 6% and fruit consumption fell 2% among U.S. teens. “I'm pleased to see that at least our younger children are consuming more fruits and vegetables,” Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive officer of PBH, said in a release. “However, the decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption as children move into their teen years is troublesome. Is it because fruits and vegetables aren't available at school, or because it isn't ‘cool’ to eat them anymore, thanks to extensive marketing of less nutritious foods, or a combination of these factors and others.”
FTC ATTACKS POMEGRANATE CLAIMS
WASHINGTON — Scientific studies have indicated that the antioxidants and phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables and other foods may help fight cancer and ward off other chronic illnesses. But, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last week said that one company has been taking its advertising claims too far. In a case that could have repercussions for other products that highlight antioxidant content and the benefits of antioxidants, the FTC has sued POM Wonderful, maker of the line of super-premium pomegranate juices and teas, alleging the company's ads contain “false and unsubstantiated claims” regarding the beverages' ability to treat or prevent disease. POM has countersued, arguing that the government's claims are unwarranted. The company says it has paid $34 million to support pomegranate-related scientific research since the late 1990s, which has led to more than 55 published studies on the benefits of the fruit and its juice. However, the FTC has said that the research does not directly support claims POM Wonderful makes in its advertisements.