The Ticker

March 1, 2007
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The Ticker

Publix Super Markets
, Lakeland, Fla., plans to cater to the growing popularity of natural and organic products by opening its Publix Green Wise Markets in Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton, Fla.
“We’ve seen exceptional growth in the health, natural and organic food areas of our traditional stores,” says Maria Brous, director of media and community relations for Publix. “[The Publix] Green Wise Markets will allow for an environment focused on natural foods, as well as provide a venue with an emphasis on prepared foods.”
The Florida retailer currently offers a number of Publix Green Wise products in its 898 stores located in five Southeastern states.
Business media publisher VNU of New York is changing its name to The Nielsen Co. The name change takes place in an effort to emphasize the company’s well-known brand name and to create an integrated, streamlined global organization.
“The Nielsen name is a source of pride for everyone in our organization,” says David Calhoun, chairman and chief executive officer of The Nielsen Co., in a prepared statement. “It’s now the name under which we all will go to market.”
Immediate steps to launch the new branding for the company include the introduction of a new corporate Web site, www.nielsen.com, and graphic identity, which will used by all Nielsen businesses during 2007.
Save Mart Supermarkets plans to convert all 130 Albertsons supermarkets it acquired to its own banner by the end of 2007, but the Modesto, Calif.-based retailer still is contemplating what that banner will be. “They could become Save Mart or Food Maxx stores, or they may have a completely new banner,” says Alicia Rockwell, a Save Mart spokeswoman, about the stores formerly owned by Albertsons LLC. “That is still under discussion.”
According to the company, until a store is converted to a Save Mart it will continue to operate as an Albertsons store. All 13,000 Albertsons Northern California associates are welcomed into the
Save Mart family and those in bargaining agreements will maintain their seniority within their agreement.
Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., plans to introduce a new proprietary brand called “Eating Right” later this year, with the intentions of paralleling the success of its O Organics line.
Extending through multiple categories, the “Eating Right” brand will target the needs of consumers driven by health and dietary considerations by using nutritional icons on packages to help consumers find products that fit their diet. Targeted consumers for the new branded line of products include children and teens all the way up to on-the-go adults.
Being widely anticipated, and somewhat feared for its secretiveness in planning, Chestnut, England-based Tesco finally has made an entrance into the U.S. market, enticing hurried Americans with their favorite grocery perk — convenience.  
Tesco, which has filed trademarks for three variants of the name “Fresh and Easy’’ for its outlets, expects to tap consumer demand for high-quality products. According to U.K.-based BrandRepublic.com, the grocery giant will spend as much as $490 million in the United States this year and plans to open stores in Southern California and Las Vegas during 2007, in addition to a further outreach in the Phoenix area.
One of the most innovative business moves in private label is in jeopardy. In December of 2006, Pathmark Stores, Carteret, N.J., began offering its customers Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats Markets private label natural and organic products under the Wild Oats brand. The products currently are merchandised at Pathmark within their corresponding categories, and supported by Wild Oats-branded shelf tags and merchandising materials. Whether or not the products will remain on Pathmark's shelves, however, is in doubt now that the chain has been acquired by East Coast rival Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Montvale, N.J. And to complicate matters, Wild Oats is being acquired by Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, in a deal expected to convert Wild Oats stores to Whole Foods.
On the supplier side:
Winona Foods has completed a $3-million expansion of its facility in Green Bay, Wis. The expansion adds 40,000 feet of which 35,000 is warehouse and 5,000 is production for portion-control products.  To better serve their food service, industrial and retail accounts, Winona now encompasses 115,000 square feet of production, warehouse, and research and development space.  
Jerky Snack Brands Inc., Minong, Wis., has acquired the global meat snack company Pioneer Snacks Inc., Farmington Hills, Mich. Although specific terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, Pioneer’s headquarters eventually will relocate to Minong, Wis., and the production of Pioneer’s current product line will continue to be manufactured from its Mankato, Minn., facility.
Ralcorp Holdings Inc., St. Louis, has agreed to pay $139.6 million in cash for Azusa, Calif.-based Bloomfield Bakers and its affiliated entity, Lovin Oven LLC.
The acquired company will become part of Ralcorp’s Ralston Foods business unit. Bloomfield’s headquarters and management group will remain in Azusa and Los Alamitos, Calif.
Be sure to update your address books because United Exchange Corp. has relocated to 14659-A Alondra Blvd., LaMirada, CA  90638; 714-562-8000. Regardless of their geographical location, the manufacturer still can be found at www.ueccorp.com. United Exchange Corp. serves food, drug and mass retailers with health and beauty aid, as well as household care products. PLB­­

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