Natural Foods Merchandiser

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Rexall, NBTY Thrive Together
Successful integration of last year?s acquisitions led to record fourth-quarter results for Bohemia, N.Y.-based NBTY Inc. The company?s net income rose 42 percent, to $24 million. Likewise, sales rose 60 percent from the same quarter last year, to $385 million.

Chief Executive Scott Rudolph termed NBTY?s integration of the Rexall Sundown lines ?on target.? The company said it has held on to Rexall?s retail shelf space while tuning the product mix to include faster-selling items from Nature?s Bounty. NBTY also used consumer information from Vitamin World and Puritan?s Pride, its direct businesses, to improve results at mass-market outlets.

NBTY?s new European retail assets also posted better results in the fourth quarter, with recently acquired GNC stores in the United Kingdom and DeTuinen stores in the Netherlands contributing to a 42 percent increase in sales in Europe. Analysts pointed to the results as proof that the companies, which stagnated under the ownership of Royal Numico NV, would turn profitable in the right hands.

Inside the Mind of The Sandwich Eater
When customers stand in front of your sandwich counter, staring at the chalkboard, do they seem adventurous or just confused?

New research from the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association of Madison, Wis., found that most consumers focus on sandwich filling first, then the bread, then cheese. Garnishes and condiments bring up the rear. And nearly two-thirds of sandwich eaters are willing to experiment with something new.

Bread?s placement before cheese apparently came as a surprise to IDDBA experts, who cautioned that the survey didn?t ask consumers what kind of sandwich venue they had in mind when asked these questions. They posit that if sandwich eaters visualized themselves at a shop that specialized in fresh specialty breads, they might think about bread first.

Only 1 percent of consumers think first of cheese. You?re more likely to think filling, cheese, bread (rather than filling, bread, cheese) if you live in the Northeast and/or are between 30 and 50 years old.

When it comes to innovation, about 60 percent of respondents say they try different sandwich components ?sometimes? or ?often.? Perhaps that chalkboard should highlight unusual ingredients, or baskets of beautiful breads should decorate the deli counter.

Order the whole report, hold the mayo, from the IDDBA at www.iddba.org.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 3/p. 64

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