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Local flavor: Meijer’s Michigan stores to feature food products made in the state

BY Alaric DeArment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer’s stores in Michigan will "prominently" feature 49 products made in the state as part of a program to promote local businesses, the mass merchandise retailer said.

The chain is partnering with the Michigan State University Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources to launch the "Made in Michigan" initiative, whereby 33 stores will feature 49 such grocery items as marinara sauce, blueberry butter, gluten-free baking mixes and gourmet seasonings in specially designated areas of the store starting on Sunday.

"Meijer is always pleased to support Michigan businesses," CEO and co-chairman Hank Meijer said. "Also, there is tremendous interest from our customers to buy local and to support local businesses. This is why we continuously increase the amount of products we purchase from local suppliers and companies. This partnership with the MSU Product Center presents a great opportunity to enhance our selection of Michigan-made products and produce, further making Meijer the place for one-stop shopping."

The initiative would be an ongoing feature and is expected to generate $400,000 for the Michigan economy, MSU Product Center project manager Matt Birbeck said.

"We couldn’t be more excited about this program," Birbeck said. "Working with Meijer to implement a dedicated Michigan section for its customers is a win-win situation for everybody."

Meijer isn’t the only retailer featuring locally made products. Seattle-based retail pharmacy chain Bartell recently launched a new store format that also prominently features products from Washington state in its "Urban Market" section. Meanwhile, Duane Reade often features "Restaurant Row" endcaps in its stores, stocked with sauces and other food products made by New York restaurants and entrepreneurs.

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Nonni’s Foods acquires ThinAddictives brand

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — A biscotti maker now owns a Canada-based cookie brand.

Nonni’s Foods said it has acquired the ThinAddictives brand from V.I.S., which is known for its nameksake almond thins, along with its state-of-the-art baking facility in Ville St-Laurent, Quebec. The ThinAddictives brand includes cranberry almond, pistachio almond and chocolate almond flavors.

"Nonni’s Foods has shown an unwavering commitment to quality across its total organization. I am excited to join the leader in the premium cookie category in North America to aggressively expand both product lines through strong marketing and cross-selling synergies," V.I.S. president Robert Sigler said.

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Peeps combines chocolate, strawberry in latest confection

BY Allison Cerra

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Peeps is embracing Valentine’s Day with new Peeps marshmallow chicks.

The Peeps chocolate dipped strawberry creme-flavored marshmallow chicks are available in a 3-count tray in both milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

"Our chocolate dipped Peeps have been a phenomenal success," Peeps brand manager Mark Hoffman. "We are now creating delectable chocolate with enticing new flavored Peeps marshmallow. Strawberries dipped in chocolate are a favorite Valentine’s Day treat and we know Peeps and chocolate fans alike will love this new Peeps combination as an indulgent snack or as a gift for someone special."

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