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GREEN GIANT(R) CONTINUES RELENTLESS CHARGE INTO FRESH MARKETPLACE

 SALINAS, Calif., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Green Giant(R), the nation's number one brand name in vegetables, on the back of a successful test market in San Francisco, broke more news today on its continuing drive into fresh produce... expanding its all-in-one, value-added, salad line into markets from San Diego to Sacramento to Los Angeles. The salads are being marketed under the Freshtables(R) label. The introduction follows the unveiling of Green Giant(R) Fresh's branded fruit and vegetable lines in May of this year and of its highly successful move into fresh potatoes in 1990. Earlier this month, white and red grapefruit, tangelos and gala apples were added to the branded, fresh line.
 Refrigerated prepared salads are currently the hottest selling items in the supermarket according to Information Resources' InfoScan. Sales of pre-washed greens soared to $52.9 million during the 13 weeks ending March 28, 1993...up 75.8 percent from one year earlier.
 "We're very pleased with the test results of our Freshtables(R) salads," said Jeff Sholl, the 44-year-old vice president and general manager of Green Giant(R) Fresh. The salads were first introduced into test markets in Minneapolis in October 1990. More than 70 percent of those who bough the product became repeat purchasers. Of that group, nearly half became "heavy buyers," purchasing an average of four items within two months.
 In May 1992, Green Giant(R) Fresh rolled the Freshtables(R) salad line into 50 selected Bay Area Safeway and Lucky stores. As in Minneapolis, Freshtables'(R) buyers were asked to fill out comments cards, in two waves: first, in September/October 1992 and then again between February/March 1993. "The Bay Area test results were even more encouraging," Sholl said, "with more than 80 percent becoming repeat purchasers buying an average of 6.4 products within two months." Seventy-three percent reported buying more than one product at a time...by the second wave, that number moved up to 86 percent. In Minneapolis, 45 percent reported buying more than one in the first wave and 70 percent in the second.
 Of the 2,300 shoppers responding to the open-ended question, purchasers cited the freshness; great taste; convenience, completeness and healthfulness -- as the most compelling purchase features. Sholl reported, "We had some very positive comments ranging from 'It's as good as restaurant salads, but cheaper,' to 'the Caesar was delicious at my dinner party, but I didn't tell the secret.'
 "We chose to test in one of the most sophisticated and trend-setting markets in the country...California...where the competition is stiff," explains Sholl. "We wanted to be close to our sources...and, we wanted to work with leading retail chains like Vons, Hughes and Ralphs, which are generally trend-setters in the area of value-added fresh produce. This is the first in a long line of Freshtables(R) products which will eventually include value-added fresh potatoes, one-pot dinners, stir-fries and more."
 Three out of the four salads are lowfat -- even under the new FDA guidelines -- and contain less than 90 calories per serving. A recent independent laboratory test confirms that Freshtables(R), best selling salad Oriental Style Crunch has 35 percent less fat than Dole's and that Freshtables(R)' Classic Caesar Salad has less than half the cholesterol and one-third the sodium compared to Dole's.
 "We have some significant points of difference over other salads," Sholl continued. "Freshtables(R) are complete salad kits. Most of the products available are simply cut-up vegetables labeled as salads -- which is confusing to consumers. Each Freshtables(R) package contains all the ingredients necessary to make such popular salads as Oriental Style Crunch, Raspberry Vinaigrette, Classic Caesar and Creamy Coleslaw...including the dressing, condiments and the fresh greens."
 Unlike other produce distributors, Green Giant(R) Fresh displays nutrition information on all its Freshtables(R) packages. It's the first company to be using the new FDA format in the produce department. Every package carries a date code, an 800 number and, of course, the Green Giant(R) Quality Pledge.
 Green Giant(R) Fresh opened its West Coast office in Salinas in May 1992. Green Giant(R) Fresh is a division of Grand Metropolitan PLC/Pillsbury and is headquartered in Minneapolis.
 -0- 11/3/93
 /CONTACT: Dr. A. Elizabeth Sloan, Kathryn Smithmeyer or Michelle Stone of A.E. Sloan & Associates, 407-626-7117, for Green Giant Fresh; or Terry Thompson of Pillsbury, 612-330-4768/


CO: Green Giant; Pillsbury ST: Minnesota, California IN: FOD SU: PDT

AW-JB -- FL001 -- 0040 11/03/93 10:13 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 3, 1993
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