HARRIS TEETER SIGN TOUTS DELUCA BRANDED ITEMS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Harris Teeter here is calling attention to a line of branded chilled, fresh-prepared entrees and sides with a sign that touts the brand in selected stores.The colorful sign, mounted at the back of display cases, is about 18 inches by 24 inches. Intended to underscore the freshness of the meal items -- which are from the branded Ed & Joan DeLuca line -- the sign features a color

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Harris Teeter here is calling attention to a line of branded chilled, fresh-prepared entrees and sides with a sign that touts the brand in selected stores.

The colorful sign, mounted at the back of display cases, is about 18 inches by 24 inches. Intended to underscore the freshness of the meal items -- which are from the branded Ed & Joan DeLuca line -- the sign features a color photo of whole tomatoes, peppers and onions.

Superimposed on the photo is this message: "Entrees so fresh+ it's like you made it yourself! Leave the cooking to Ed & Joan DeLuca. Our family recipes." Underneath, the sign lists 10 entrees and four sauces, and says "Pick one up today!"

The 138-unit Harris Teeter chain began carrying four Italian entrees from supplier Ed & Joan DeLuca in all its stores earlier this year, but last month it launched a test of additional DeLuca-brand items in 16 of its stores, said Dawn Miller, communications coordinator.

DeLuca Inc., based in Middlebury, Conn., manufactures the fresh, never-frozen items, most of which have a 28-day shelf life.

The items Harris Teeter is testing are the sauces and four additional entrees, Miller said.

A local industry observer told SN he saw these DeLuca-brand entrees displayed in Harris Teeter units in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, N.C.: cheese lasagna, vegetable lasagna, salisbury steak, macaroni and cheese, meatballs, meat lasagna and eggplant parmigiana.

The sauces displayed were pesto, alfredo, marinara and a meat sauce, all in 1-pound containers.

In the test stores, the items were being displayed in upright endcap cases or in tiered, low-profile cases, from 4 to 10 feet in length, in line with the deli counter.

The DeLuca items share the cases with a variety of Harris Teeter's chef-prepared entrees and sides.

Miller said the chain has chefs on staff in its larger stores and, in some areas, chef-made items are packed up and shipped to other Harris Teeter units in the same market area.