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Fresh & Easy unveils Design-A-Bag winner

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Fresh & Easy debuted the winning design from its first-ever Design-A-Bag contest in its stores this week.

The new reusable bag retails for only 79 cents and already is a big hit with customers, with thousands already sold. The bag’s creative design was hand-drawn by Los Angeles resident Josephine Close, who received a year’s worth of free groceries for winning the contest.

According to the company, the Design-A-Bag contest generated more than 1,300 submissions from customers and 24,000 votes by "Friends of Fresh & Easy" — customers who have signed up to receive the latest news about the company along with exclusive offers at Freshandeasy.com/friends.

"We set out to design a desirable and affordable bag people actually want to use and reuse, and we turned to our customers for inspiration," said Roberto Munoz, Fresh & Easy director of neighborhood affairs. "Based on sales of the bag already, we know customers like the design and the price point. We hope this new bag will continue to encourage customers to use fewer single-use bags in exchange for reusable options."

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Indie Candy makes Valentine’s Day treats

BY Allison Cerra

MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala.— A gourmet candy maker has unveiled its 2011 lineup for Valentine’s Day.

Indie Candy said that all of its products are free of artificial flavors and preservatives, and many of them also are free of dyes, gluten, casein/dairy and nuts.

The lineup includes gourmet heart gummies, dairy-free chocolate heart lollipops and hard-candy heart lollipops.

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Poll: Most adults use antibacterial soap, find it useful

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A poll released by the American Cleaning Institute found that nearly three-quarters of Americans use antibacterial soap, and many of them wouldn’t be happy if the government banned such products.

The poll, which consisted of 1,000 U.S. adults, ages 18 years and older, found that 74% of consumers use antibacterial soap — with 56% of those respondents using them on a regular basis — and deemed antibacterial soap as a preventive measure to avoid the spread of germs.

Additional findings included:

  • Among moms with children in the household, 75% said would be "angry" if the government took antibacterial soap off the market;

  • Two-thirds of consumers would be upset if the government took antibacterial soap off the market;

  • Eighty-four percent of adults do not have any health or environmental concerns about antibacterial soap; and

  • By an 8-to-1 margin, consumers would prefer to have the choice to buy antibacterial soap rather than removing it from the market based on alleged health and environmental concerns.

The poll followed an urge from special-interest groups for the government to ban the use of antibacterial agents in personal care products, despite overwhelming science demonstrating their safety and effectiveness.

"This poll demonstrates that American consumers want access to soaps that are proven to eliminate germs and help fight infections," said Brian Sansoni, spokesman for the American Cleaning Institute. "These products are used safely and effectively in homes, offices, restaurants, child care centers and thousands of other workplaces every single day."

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