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Hormel’s Spam benefiting from poor economy; sales soaring

BY Melissa Valliant

AUSTIN, Minn. These days, people are keeping a close eye on their checkbooks while grocery shopping, and it seems many are looking to Hormel Foods Corporation’s Spam as an inexpensive source of high-protein food. According to the New York Times, the gelatinous rectangle of spiced ham and pork is flying off shelves at about $2.40 per 12-ounce can.

Though there is no independent data provider that gathers Spam sales numbers, Hormel’s chief executive, Jeffrey M. Ettinger, claimed in September that sales were increasing by double digits. Spam “seems to do well when hard times hit,” said Dan Bartel, business agent for Spam’s union local. “We’ll probably see Spam lines instead of soup lines.”

And it’s not the only product that seems to feed off of the failing economy. Vitamins, beer, fruit and vegetable preservatives, macaroni-and-cheese, Jell-O and Kool-Aid have all flourished recently while the majority of other food products struggle with the changing times. Spam’s popularity may have a lot to do with its potential to last for years, due to its vacuum-sealed can and the fact that it does not require refrigeration, as well as its low price.

The unique product is the result of a combination of ham, pork, sugar, salt, water, potato starch and sodium nitrite, which provides Spam with its pink tint, according to Hormel’s Web site. Spam is available in Spam Low Sodium, Spam with Cheese and Spam Hot & Spicy varieties.

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Yoplait, celebrity chef Ellie Krieger push benefits of digestive health for women

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS Registered dietitian, celebrity chef, and New York Times best-selling author Ellie Krieger, of Food Network fame, earlier this month joined Yoplait Yo-Plus in promoting the benefits of digestive health, General Mills announced.

With women looking for more natural ways to regulate their digestion through food choices, probiotics continue to gain notoriety. In fact, according to the Yo-Plus survey, nearly two-thirds of women are familiar with probiotics, a strong indication that this health trend is gaining momentum as women become more aware of their options for healthy eating.

“Keeping your digestive system on track is an important part of healthy living,” Krieger stated. “Maintaining positive lifestyle habits are especially important throughout the holidays, which are fraught with high stress situations and excessive eating.”

 

According to a recent Yoplait Yo-Plus survey, nine-out-of-10 women have become committed to their digestive health in the last five years and eight-out-of-10 prefer to regulate their digestion through foods.

“Yo-Plus contains the added benefit of probiotics and fiber for digestive health,” Krieger said. Yo-Plus contains live and active probiotic cultures specifically designed for digestive health and can naturally regulate the balance of microorganisms in the digestive system when eaten daily.

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Drug retailers feed consumer desires with healthful snacks

BY Barbara White-Sax

Consumers may be watching their pocketbooks, but their snack preferences still are trending toward the more healthful options.

While promotions were plentiful at one Walgreens store, healthful snacks were the highlight. On an endcap near the front entrance, Corazona’s Heart Healthy chips and Polar and Dole brand fruit cups were merchandised together. In the store’s Café W area, nuts were a big part of the mix. Frito-Lay’s new TrueNorth trial size nut clusters were being promoted on an aisle wing for 69 cents. Private-label dried fruits and trail mixes shared space with Odwalla bars and 100-calorie packs from Nabisco.

Walgreens’ mix is proof that while retailers scramble to offer consumers more value, they can’t lose sight of what consumers have been telling them they want from food.

At the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting this summer, new-product experts from Mintel International told attendees that consumers want products that have sustainability and inherent goodness of ingredients. They also want healthful choices for their kids.

“What’s in the products is important. Consumers don’t want them to be fortified with anything,” said Lynn Dornblaser, a new product expert from Mintel. “There are more products being made with whole grains, such as Frito-Lay’s SunChips, General Mills Fiber One cereal bars and Nabisco’s Garden Harvest toasted chips.”

Manufacturers are highlighting fruit and vegetable snacks, as well as protein-rich options. “Manufacturers are finding new ways of incorporating a serving of fruit and vegetables into the consumer’s diet,” Mintel’s Dornblaser said.

Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. recently introduced Let’s Grow!, a line of nutritious toddler meals and snacks backed with the company’s no-junk promise. All 19 products in the line are all-natural with added vitamins and minerals, and are made with real fruits and vegetables. They contain no artificial flavors, colors, MSG, trans fats or refined sugar or preservatives.

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