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Starburst promotes new GummiBurst candy with cross-country van tour

BY Melissa Valliant

MCLEAN, Va. Starburst will be traveling to colleges and universities around the country in order to promote its new GummiBurst brand. Beginning this week and ending in December, a GummiBurst Garage Band van will arrive at campuses and invite students to play Microsoft Xbox’s popular Garage Band game on the van’s stage. They will be displayed on four large plasma screens and will be given faux concert GummiBurst T-shirts.

“We know our target audience is interested in music and gaming, so we’re really trying to tap into those interests to generate a buzz about the new product,” said Kim DeMartino, managing director of Catapult Marketing, which created the idea of the tour and is executing it.

The candy brand plans to distribute almost 600,000 free samples of its new sweet on the cross-country tour. The visits will be preceded by a poster campaign, so students can anticipate the van’s arrival.

The van’s trip begins in Boston and ends in Charlotte, N.C., in December. The cities visited in the tour include New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Antonio, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego.

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Spartan names Eidson CEO, moves forward with restructuring plan

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores on Wednesday announced the addition of Dennis Eidson to position of president and chief executive officer, pursuant to the succession plan previously announced Aug. 7. Eidson succeeds former chief executive officer Craig Sturken, who will remain as executive chairman.

“I am extremely pleased to announce this important step in our company’s succession plan,” Sturken said. “Dennis is the right individual to lead our organization forward. He has been instrumental in developing, guiding and executing the business strategies that produced record fiscal 2008 profits and 10 consecutive quarters of double-digit operating earnings growth. He was also the chief architect behind our very successful marketing, merchandising and category management strategies that strengthened our market position and sustained our business performance.

“Our long-standing objective has been to achieve profitable growth through a balanced combination of organic growth supplemented by prudent acquisitions,” Eidson said. “Our recently announced acquisition of VG’s Food and Pharmacy is our third significant retail acquisition of an independent operator in less than three years. We have successfully integrated the first two retail acquisitions, improving the sales and efficiency of these operations, and becoming increasingly adept at the integration process and optimizing value from the acquired operations. In addition, we remain the exit strategy of choice for many of our distribution customers’ retail operations. In the near-term, we will concentrate efforts on integrating our latest acquisition and driving organic growth through our capital investment program.”

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AHD International markets all-natural, healthy coconut products

BY Melissa Valliant

ATLANTA AHD International, a wholesale vitamin food supplement ingredient provider, plans on marketing coconut oil and coconut water, due to its recent partnership with RV Industries.

The coconut oil will target food products, while the coconut water will be mostly used in sports and functional beverages. Both coconut products are 100 percent natural, fat-free, low-calorie, chemical-free and a natural source of vitamin E. Coconut water’s nutritious attributes make it ideal for use in sports drinks; it provides potassium, calcium, Vitamin C and iron, which “naturally restores the body’s electrolytes,” according to the company.

The products do not require refrigeration and can also be used in cosmetic items, such as massage oils and hair products. The coconut line follows AHD International’s recent trend toward healthy products, such as its recent release of heart-healthy chia seeds, cranberry protein powder and high-grade brown seaweed-derived fucoxanthin.

“RV Industries has manufactured and provided our high-quality coconut products ­ shredded, flaked and granulated ­ to the U.S. market for nearly 30 years. Partnering with AHD International to distribute these two new coconut-based ingredients provides our company a great opportunity to reach new markets,” Robert Weschrek, general manager of RV Industries, said.

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