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Litehouse Debuts Zesty Organic Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

LitehouseLitehouse Inc., a 100 percent employee-owned company and the number-one Refrigerated Salad Dressing (RSD) brand in the U.S. and Canada, is adding a new member to its organic family: Litehouse Organic Lemon Herb Vinaigrette. Big on flavor, yet light on calories, the new vinaigrette is bursting with the crisp, bright taste of lemon and delicious hints of herbs, to add zest to salads or recipes with less than 50 calories per 2-tablespoon serving.

According to Technomic, consumer demand for the tart taste and flavor of lemon continues to grow, as does the overall organic RSD segment at a rate of 49 percent. To meet these demands, Litehouse developed its light and refreshing Organic Lemon Herb Vinaigrette, which was recently declared the best-tasting lemon dressing by consumers during a blind sensory test against competing brands. Litehouse Organic Lemon Herb Vinaigrette joins the best-selling Organic line, the only triple certified dressings with USDA organic, certified gluten free, and Non-GMO Project Verified certifications on the market.

“Consumers love our organic dressings and we continue to expand the line by delivering new and delicious flavors that make every dish exceptional,” said Brooke Gansemer, Litehouse Assistant Brand Manager. “Pair this dairy-free dressing on a dark green salad, drizzled over grilled vegetables, or as a chicken marinade – the options are endless!”

Litehouse Organic Lemon Herb Vinaigrette joins six other delicious Litehouse Organic flavors: Organic Balsamic, Organic Ranch, Organic Caesar, Organic Raspberry Lime, Organic Rosemary Balsamic and Organic Ginger with Honey.

The new Organic Lemon Herb Vinaigrette can be found in the produce department next to the rest of Litehouse’s refrigerated dressing line and will be available in December for a suggested retail price of $5.99.


Argentinian Extra Virgin Olive Oil Launches into American Market

By Lorrie Baumann

LUC_EverydayArg 500ml_preview Lucinia Italia’s Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Organic Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil will continue to be produced on partner estates in Italy, and the Lucini oil coming from Argentina is packaged in bottles clearly labeled with the oil’s origin.

Argentina has been known over the past several years for making really great award-winning olive oils, but they hadn’t found fans yet in the U.S., and as a result, much of that oil that came into the U.S. market was coming as a component in a blended oil, with its Argentinian origin obscured by its label mention in a country code on the back of the bottle, according to Mike Forbes, Executive Vice President and General Manager of California Olive Ranch. This Lucini’s new 100 percent Argentinian oil is a mild, green, fruity oil, a blend of the Arbequina, Picual, and Italian varietals including Coratina, Frantoio and Arbequina varietals, that’s great for everyday use, he said, adding that, “Once we tasted it, we fell in love with it.”

All of the olives for the new Lucini oil are grown in the wine regions of Mendoza, which is also where the grapes for Malbec wines are grown, and in south San Juan. “We work directly with the producers. We visit directly with our team,” Forbes said. “We hand-select all of the oil at harvest. … We take every container of olive oil and test it to make sure that it meets our specifications and the specifications that define extra virgin olive oil.”

The olive growers from whom California Olive Ranch Lucini sources the oils are mostly family farmers, some of Italian heritage as the result of a wave of Italian immigration that happened in Argentina at the beginning of the 20th century, just as many Italians arrived in the U.S. at that time. It’s estimated that around half of Argentina’s current population has some degree of Italian descent. Other contributors of fruit to the Lucini oil are Argentinian growers who’ve become attracted to the olives as a new crop over the past decade or two. These Argentinian producers are entrepreneurial and progressive, bringing a New World perspective to their craft as well as the savvy to team up with Lucini and California Olive Ranch, which have established roots in the American market and the distribution network that goes along with that, according to Forbes. “The U.S. is a pretty tough place to do business,” he said. “We can help growers with that because we’re taking the product and bringing it to the shelf all the way to the consumer.”

California Olive Ranch also offers the strength of the Lucini brand, which is already familiar to American consumers. “We’re taking this great Argentinian oil and we’re showcasing it as a 100 percent Argentinian oil, and that’s really exciting for the growers,” Forbes said. “What we have seen in the U.S. is that there’s a huge and increasing demand for high-quality olive oil. People want to know where it’s from. They want high-quality oil with good flavor.”

Adding the Argentinian oil into the company’s product range will help ensure the availability of fresh oil on the shelf throughout the year, since Argentina’s location in the southern hemisphere means that its olives are ready for harvest during the United States’ spring. “There’s obviously a freshness benefit,” Forbes noted.

California Olive Ranch is offering the Lucini Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil in 500 ml and 1-liter bottles. The 500 ml bottle retails for $10.99, with the liter retailing for $17.99. “That’s a price point that works for the consumer,” Forbes said. “We find that consumers are willing to pay a little extra to get something they know is good.”

Albertsons Companies Invests in Texas-Based El Rancho Supermercado

Albertsons Companies is investing in El Rancho Supermercado, a Texas-based retailer which focuses on stores for Latino customers. El Rancho will continue to operate as an independent company headquartered in Garland, Texas.

“El Rancho has built a great business with its 16 Texas stores, and we’re confident that we’ll be able to leverage our combined expertise to better serve customers across the existing Albertsons Companies’ and El Rancho store bases,” said Bob Miller, Chairman and CEO of Albertsons Companies. “With El Rancho’s own distribution and manufacturing facilities serving their Texas stores, we can share best practices that will reduce costs and benefit our customers.”

The agreement with El Rancho provides Albertsons Companies an opportunity to invest in the fast-growing Latino grocery sector. The company already successfully operates a variety of store banners in predominantly Latino areas, and together, Albertsons Companies and El Rancho plan to leverage their complementary strengths in this growing sector.

“The transaction announced today will allow El Rancho to accelerate growth and expand into new markets throughout Texas while finding operational efficiencies in all aspects of our business. We are aligned with Albertsons Companies’ vision for the future, strategic initiatives and culture of innovation. We are excited to work together with the Albertsons Companies management team to continue to serve families in the rapidly-growing Latino market,” said Salah Nafal, President of El Rancho.

Peter J. Solomon Company served as financial advisor, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett served as legal advisor to El Rancho, respectively, and Schulte Roth & Zabel served as legal advisor to Albertsons.

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