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    Sobeys Opens New Gourmet Store; Rolls Out Co-branded Disney Products

    STELLARTON, N.S. -- Canadian retailer Sobeys here opened a test store in the city of Regina, Sask. yesterday with a definite gourmet accent.

    STELLARTON, N.S. -- Canadian retailer Sobeys here opened a test store in the city of Regina, Sask. yesterday with a definite gourmet accent.

    The store -- the first of its kind that Sobeys has rolled out -- showcases gourmet foods, fresh items, and restaurant-quality ready-to-eat meals for time-starved shoppers, in addition to standard grocery fare, Sobeys specialist Darren Vanstone told the Regina Leader-Post.

    The store also has a qualified chef available to give cooking demonstrations and to advise customers and store staff on recipes and food preparation.

    Vanstone told the newspaper that the location, which has only about one-quarter of the floor space of some of Sobeys' larger supermarkets, was created as a "a destination store'' to lure shoppers from across Regina to purchase specialty foods, as well as to serve as a neighborhood store for nearby residents.

    Sobeys plans to open eight to 10 gourmet-format Sobeys stores over the next few years, primarily in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta.

    In other Sobeys news, this week the grocer introduced a co-branded line of foods for children age 3 to 12, with the Disney Consumer Products.

    The Compliments Junior Disney line offers nearly 100 items, including dried fruit snack mix, Mickey Burgers, Alpha-Taters mashed potato letters, and Disney fruit. The products contain no artificial flavors, colors, or hydrogenated oils.

    The package of each item features a popular Disney character, along with Canada's Food Guide serving information and the highlighting of key positive product attributes through the use of four icons indicating specific benefits to teeth, bones, eyes, or muscles.

    Additionally, over 75 percent of the products bear the symbol of Canada's Health Check program, which means that they've been evaluated by Heart and Stroke Foundation dietitians and found to meet the program's nutrient criteria for healthy choices based on Canada's Food Guide.

    "Compliments Junior Disney puts the fun back into food and takes the guesswork out of shopping," said Sobeys v.p. consumer marketing for corporate brands Scott Cooper.

    The line is rolling out in Sobeys banners across Canada, with the full range of items slated to be in stores by January. Last year Cincinnati-based Kroger teamed with Disney to roll out Disney's Magic Selections, a similar line of healthier foods aimed at kids.

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