APPETIZERS

A&P: Master Choice Puff Pastry Hors d'Oeuvres Cheese & Mushroomzed, they pack quite a flavor punch, according to company executives and focus group judges."For such a little bite, it's a nice big flavor," Jane Ellenton, director of corporate brands, A&P Canada, told SN. "It leaves quite an impression. The cheese is a three-cheese with onion, and it's quite savory. The mushrooms have a real strong

A&P: Master Choice Puff Pastry Hors d'Oeuvres Cheese & Mushroom

zed, they pack quite a flavor punch, according to company executives and focus group judges.

"For such a little bite, it's a nice big flavor," Jane Ellenton, director of corporate brands, A&P Canada, told SN. "It leaves quite an impression. The cheese is a three-cheese with onion, and it's quite savory. The mushrooms have a real strong herb-and-cream cheese [flavor profile]. They are really quite delightful."

Just in time for the holidays, both the mushroom and cheddar cheese puffs were launched in November 2003 along with Pizza Bites with Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Cheddar Cheese Sticks and Jalapeno Cheese Sticks. Each puff weighs 18 grams, and there are 20 to a box. Suggested retail price is $4.99.

The product itself took about four months to fine-tune, while the packaging took about another six months. All the appetizers come in similar boxes with different color schemes. The puffs are stacked inside in a way that keeps each piece separate in order to maintain flakiness.

The appetizers were launched during the holiday season and became part of the overall holiday promotions at A&P stores. They were merchandised on end sections in the freezer department, and sampling accompanied the rollout.

A&P Canada plans to add to the line this year and in the future.

"This is a category that you need to be refreshing all the time," Ellenton said. "It's very trendy."