NEW PRODUCTS: Safety First

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NEW PRODUCTS: Safety First

Protecting the public — whether from foodborne illness or drunk drivers — is top of mind in two recently introduced center store products.

With the holiday season nearly upon us, famed Irving, Texas-based advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has authorized a line of 100 percent alcohol-free beverages, MADD Virgin Drinks, to provide consumers with a delicious, socially responsible alternative to alcoholic beverages. The line consists of three virgin cocktails (Mojito, Margarita and Piña Colada), a virgin Lager & Lime, virgin Red and White Wine, and a virgin Sparkling White Wine. A 26-ounce bottle of wine, a four-pack of 8.5-ounce bottles of cocktails, and a six-pack of 12-ounce bottles of lager all retail for a suggested $9.99.

“We have created a completely unique program whereby any retailer that carries the line will generate a donation to MADD,” Brian Bolshin, president and CEO of Toronto-based MADD Virgin Drinks, told Progressive Grocer. “This donation does not come from their margins. It is a component of the MADD Virgin Drinks marketing program, and was factored in (10 percent of net wholesale) from the beginning to create a positive public-relations halo for all retail partners, all at no cost to them. Said another way, every retailer that carries the product will be able to make a ‘big check’ presentation to MADD at the end of each year, without taking it from their bottom line. We will also supply custom merchandisers to any retailer, at no cost, to create a high-profile branded ‘placeholder’ in their stores.”

According to Bolshin, in addition to its social responsibility component, which should resonate with “[v]irtually all retailers today,” whom, he noted, “are conscious of what they do in, and for, the communities in which they serve … the program will generate truly incremental sales and very desirable margins.”

Meanwhile, Lansing, Ill.-based National Pasteurized Eggs (NPE) is now producing the industry’s first cage-free pasteurized shell eggs for the foodservice industry and consumers across the United States.

NPE uses a Food and Drug Administration-approved patented pasteurization process on the eggs, which are distributed under the Davidson’s Safest Choice brand to distributors, foodservice facilities and restaurants in 50 states, Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as to various retailers across the United States, to inactivate the salmonella and avian influenza viruses. According to FDA estimates, 2.3 million eggs contaminated with salmonella enteritidis were sold in 2008.

“While eggs are a great, nutritionally dense product that is an essential item for all meals, we believe pasteurizing eggs is simply the best way to keep all Americans safe from the dangerous effects of salmonella poisoning,” noted NPE president Greg West.

Over 22 billion pasteurized eggs are eaten annually, accounting for almost one-third of the egg industry’s volume, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.