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Sam’s Club plans store specializing in products for Hispanic shoppers

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK Wal-Mart announced to its investors on Tuesday that it will revamp the Sam’s Club concept slightly to appeal to Hispanic customers and open a “Mas Club” store that carries a variety of products imported from Mexico, such as candy, meats, produce, seafood and other items.

The announcement was made on the second day of Wal-Mart’s investors’ meeting in Bentonville, Ark.

Sam’s Club president and chief executive, Doug McMillon, said that rethinking store concepts and reaching out to customers was crucial because while Sam’s Club sales numbers were growing, but membership is not.

The first Mas Club is slated to open in early 2009 in Houston. A separate, new membership program with be initiated for Mas Club, independent of Sam’s Club, the company said.

Sam’s Club is also testing smaller format “neighborhood” stores in some markets, the company said.

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Cheese gaining popularity in the snack category

BY Melissa Valliant

PLYMOUTH, Wis. More and more consumers are saying “cheese,” according to the NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y. Their statistics show that 4.5 percent of the population is snacking on tasty wedges and slices, compared to 2.5 percent a decade ago. Cheese sales have skyrocketed 9.5 percent from last year’s figure of $779 million to this year?s figure of $853 million for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 4.

Major cheese manufacturers Kraft and Sargento are catching on. Sargento is using the holiday to encourage rising cheese sales. This season, Sargento will be selling holiday-shaped cheese cubes, including snowflake and Christmas tree shapes. Kraft has developed in-store, four- to twelve-foot long cheese displays and plans to include these cheese snacking centers in 1,000 of its stores by the end of the year.

“We feel cheese represents an untapped opportunity in terms of the overall snacking trend, but also because cheese is a wholesome snacking alternative,” Tyler Williamson, brand manager for Kraft’s cheese business unit said. 

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Del Monte prefacing launch of new products with ADA conference

BY Melissa Valliant

SAN FRANCISCO Del Monte, one of the United States’ largest food producers, is holding an ADA conference with their registered dietitian Laura Ali in order to promote the health benefits of their current and upcoming products.

Ali will be offering recipe samples to show attendees how to incorporate more vegetable servings into their daily intake.

New Del Monte products include Del Monte Superfruit snacks, Del Monte Fruit Naturals apples and oranges, red grapefruit bowls, no salt added diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, and 50 percent less salt corn.

“The Company’s presence at the ADA conference calls attention to the healthfulness of our fruit and vegetable products­ from our Fruit Naturals products, which are an important source of vitamin C, to our reduced salt and no salt added vegetable products,”Ali said. “These convenient, great-tasting products make it easy to get the four-and-a-half cups of fruits and vegetable MyPyramid recommends as part of a daily diet.”

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