IGA ENTERS ETHNIC FOODS WITH MEXICAN GROCERY LINE

CHICAGO -- IGA has made its first foray into the growing ethnic foods market with a Mexican-Hispanic line of grocery products under the IGA Celebracion label.The line of 21 Mexican grocery products includes salsa, picante sauce, tortilla chips, chili, seasoning mixes, taco kits, refried beans and frozen burritos.The IGA Celebracion line was introduced in March, and marks IGA's first grocery sublabel.

CHICAGO -- IGA has made its first foray into the growing ethnic foods market with a Mexican-Hispanic line of grocery products under the IGA Celebracion label.

The line of 21 Mexican grocery products includes salsa, picante sauce, tortilla chips, chili, seasoning mixes, taco kits, refried beans and frozen burritos.

The IGA Celebracion line was introduced in March, and marks IGA's first grocery sublabel. The company has a sublabel for meat, known as IGA Table Right Meat.

The new label has a dark blue background and contains the red IGA logo, along with the Celebracion logo, which is white on a blue background, surrounded by a setting sun motif.

The bulk of the line's products are manufactured by Hillside Foods, Ashland, Miss., which approached IGA about developing a line for the retail group, IGA officials said.

Kevin Burkum, public relations manager at IGA's headquarters here, told SN that IGA may examine other ethnic food lines based on Celebracion's success.

"The ethnic side of the business has been growing and we would be open to further opportunities. Mexican food is one of the fastest growing ethnic areas, and we felt that we were losing out on an opportunity. Based on the success of this brand there certainly would be other ethnic foods that we want to delve into," he said.

"Although Celebracion has only been in the stores for a short time, the retailers are excited about it and the customers are buying it," he added.

Patrick Sylvester, director of IGA brand, told SN that Celebracion was developed so IGA could capitalize on the growing Mexican food trend.

"What really prompted us to get into this is that we saw entire kits of Mexican-type food products being offered by our wholesalers, including Fleming and Supervalu, under their first labels," he said.

Sylvester said the line is available to all IGA retailers and that advertising from retailers for the line has been strong.

"I produced an ad slick, both in black and white and in color, and we're seeing more and more ads with the products being in print. We're getting a good response overall on the whole line, and we're going to continue to expand since we own the line," he said.