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Kroger opens another ‘fresh fare’ store in Ohio

BY Jenna Duncan

CINCINNATI Kroger has opened its third fresh fare market in its home state, the company announced Tuesday.

The format of the fresh fare markets is designed to be more like a country grocery store than a traditional supermarket, with wider aisles and more gourmet options, reports said. The fresh fare stores also stocks many more options for ready-to-eat home meals, an expanded selection of organic produce, hearth-style pizzas and a build-it-yourself burrito bar.

Kroger’s fresh fare markets also carry less general merchandise items, such as home and yard furniture.

Kroger said that outside of Ohio it currently operates about 80 fresh fare markets, mostly on the West Coast, which operate under the Ralph’s umbrella.

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Campbell Soup selects Connolly, Britt as new executives

BY Melissa Valliant

CAMDEN, N.J. Campbell Co. announced Friday its appointment of Sean Connolly as president of Campbell Soup USA and Irene Chang Britt as president of the company’s North America food service operations.

Connolly, 43, headed Campbell’s North America food service business for the past two years and has been part of the Campbell team since 2002. As president, Connolly will oversee the company’s U.S. soup, sauces and beverages business.

Britt, 45, will replace Connolly as president of Campbell’s North America food service unit. Britt worked for Kraft Foods for eight years, the most recent positions including senior vice president and general manager of the salted snacks division, before joining Campbell in 2005 as vice president and general manager of sauces and beverages.

The two positions will be effective Dec. 1.

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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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