retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Publix announced that it will open its first hybrid unit in the metro Atlanta market, combining elements of its traditional stores with those of its GreenWise natural and organic food store, on April 21.

• The New York Times reports that “Frito-Lay plans to spend this week in Times Square with a promotional event featuring a flavor kitchen, which is part of the company’s effort to stimulate sales of its snack brands like Lay’s, SunChips and Tostitos.”

According to the story, “The promotion is centered on the flavors of Frito-Lay products and how the company creates its newest product flavors. Chefs will be involved, along with the Hard Rock Cafe, Electrolux kitchen appliances and Padma Lakshmi, the host of ‘Top Chef’ on Bravo.

“The goal of the promotion is to let consumers in on the snack-making process and give them a chance to provide feedback on the kinds of flavors that Frito-Lay uses - and may potentially use - for its products.” And it comes as Frito continues to work again the perception that it is complicit in the nation’s obesity crisis.

• The Omaha World Herald has a piece about the plethora of options currently available in supermarket freezer cases, noting that “the abundance of different brands and choices are a reflection of food manufacturers vying for sales and market share in one of the fastest-growing and most profitable areas of the grocery store: the freezer. Today, more consumers than ever before are turning to frozen foods for a quick, convenient meal, or as an affordable solution to help feed their busy families.” Now that the economy is improving, however, the pressure is on manufacturers to innovate in a way that will continue to drive new sales.

• The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) yesterday announced “ the selection of three globally-recognized agencies to support the GMA-FMI Nutrition Keys front-of-pack nutrition labeling initiative.

“BBDO New York (along with its sister companies Integer, PHD and Proximity), Edelman and FoodMinds have been selected to work with GMA and FMI and their member companies to develop a dynamic and comprehensive $50 million, 12-month consumer education campaign that will build awareness, understanding and use of the Nutrition Keys icon.  The campaign will educate consumers through a variety of communications channels, including innovative point-of purchase strategies, advertising and digital/social media.”
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