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    A&P Serves Up New Gourmet Private Label Brand

    The first item under A&P's new Hartford Reserve brand is apple pie, baked daily in stores.

    The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. has launched a gourmet private label brand, called Hartford Reserve, which it said is a forthcoming line of "premium artisan products at value prices." The first item in the line is an apple pie baked fresh every day on premise.

    Made from over a pound of fruit, and including five apple varieties that are spiced and then baked in their own juices, the pie features trans fat-free vegetable shortening, and a "bumpy top" crust made from "light, flaky dough," the grocer said.

    A&P said it created the exclusive brand "to bring back the nostalgic taste of the golden age of manufacturing, when products were specialized and manufactured by artisans who took pride in their individual craft.

    The Hartford Reserve Apple Pie, which retails for $8.99, is now available in the bakery sections at all A&P, SuperFresh, and Waldbaum's stores. So far the line's inaugural pie "has already received rave reviews in all our taste tests," said Doug Palmer, A&P's v.p. of own brands.

    A&P has yet to reveal what future products will be introduced under the new label.

    Montvale, N.J.-based A&P operates 447 stores in eight states and the District of Columbia, under the A&P, Waldbaum's, Pathmark, Best Cellars, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart, SuperFresh, and Food Basics banners.

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