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LOOKING TO BOOST SALES AND REVENUES? Try stocking more licensed grocery products. According to a panel of experts who spoke at the recent 2009 NASDAQ OMX Food & Restaurant Industry Forum, held at NADAQ head quarters in New York, licensed products will continue to grow in importance in the nation's grocery aisles as consumers seek out names they know.

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Since signing up with TV celebrity and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse, Parsippany, N.J.-based B&G Foods has seen its Emeril's Original line of sauces, spices and condiments reach $500 million. "We see Emeril as the up-and-coming Paul Newman brand," said David L. Wenner, president, CEO and director of B&G. "Emeril is a hot property and has an 80% brand awareness."

Apparently his awareness is even higher among supermarket buyers. "The power of bringing Emeril along on sales calls was unbelievable," Wenner said. "We got a number of our products into supermarkets for free--which is unbelievable. Just bringing him on a sales call was pure magic."

B&G is looking for licensing agreements for its other properties. Next up is a Sponge Bob Square Pants Cream of Wheat hot cereal.

Emeryville, Calif.-based Jamba Inc., operators of the Jamba Juice smoothie shops chain, signed a licensing deal with Nestle valued at $400 million to produce and distribute a line of healthy smoothies and juices under the Jamba brand name. "When pursuing a licensing agreement, it is important to remember that the product has to taste great," said James D. White, president and CEO.

It is also important to stick with the familiar, Wenner said. "Consumers by and large eat what they know. If you put out salad dressing, put out Italian, French or Blue Cheese, as opposed to some exotic flavor that people are afraid to try," he said.
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Title Annotation:trade TALK
Author:Turcsik, Richard
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Aug 1, 2009
Words:300
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