NEW KING KULLEN UNIT EXPANDS ETHNIC, KOSHER, NATURAL LINES

COMMACK, N.Y. -- An expanded selection of ethnic, natural and kosher food is being offered at the new King Kullen Grocery Co. superstore here.Each of these departments is strategically located in the 60,000-square-foot store, the company's largest. For instance, a kosher refrigerated/frozen food section is on a front-end perimeter wall between the premium Boar's Head deli and Kullen's Bagel Co., where

COMMACK, N.Y. -- An expanded selection of ethnic, natural and kosher food is being offered at the new King Kullen Grocery Co. superstore here.

Each of these departments is strategically located in the 60,000-square-foot store, the company's largest. For instance, a kosher refrigerated/frozen food section is on a front-end perimeter wall between the premium Boar's Head deli and Kullen's Bagel Co., where consumers can watch bagels being made.

The kosher section includes 14 feet of refrigerated items, including 2 feet of pickles. There are also 8 feet of frozens, including Golden blintzes and potato pancakes, Mrs. T's pierogies, Cohen's hors d'oeuvres and Celentano lasagna primavera. Private label is also represented in the frozen section, which includes King Kullen potato latkes.

Nearby is a 20-foot-long gondola of dry kosher groceries. Once again, the section's location, near the bagel shop and a kosher bakery, is convenient for the kosher shopper.

"We wanted to put the dry grocery kosher section as near to the bagel section as possible," said Tom Cullen, King Kullen's vice president of government, industry and public relations. "We wanted it to be near the bagels, cream cheese and lox." He noted that the store has a large Jewish demographic.

One side of the kosher gondola contains traditional favorites like Osem bread crumbs, gefilte fish, matzoh and whitefish.

On the other side are more contemporary items, such as Mother's pilaf, Mrs. Manischewitz instant soup, Contadina sauces, Manischewitz bagel pretzels and egg noodles, Rokeach vegetable soup, Mother's canned pasta and pasta shells and Legume vegetarian stew and organic polenta.

As for other dry grocery departments, the Commack superstore has a 48-foot-long natural-food section, which is highlighted with "Naturally Delicious" shelf signs and wood-style molding. The majority of the department is filled with Center Store products, though there's a small selection of vitamins and supplements.

Natural/organic products fill both sides of the gondola. Selections include Hodgson Mill pasta, Barbara's cereal, Gift of Nature rice cakes, Fantastic soup-in-a-cup, Annie's Rotini, Spice Hunter spices, Patak's curry pasta and mango chutney, Hain garlic-flavored oil, Muir Glen sauces and Pritikin pasta. There are also 12 feet of After the Fall beverages.

One of the endcaps of the gondola contains chips and salsa by Good Health, Garden of Eatin', Hain and Guiltless Gourmet. On the other side of the gondola are more snacks and soy milk.

The department is situated in the rear of the store, conveniently across from the dairy department, which offers a variety of natural and organic milk, yogurt and other products. "We were sensitive to having it across from dairy. We wanted to make it convenient for shoppers," Cullen said.

Though frozens are not included in the section, an endcap to the store's 64-door frozen-food department, located about five aisles away, contains natural/organic items. Other such products are located directly within the frozens section.

While King Kullen integrates natural/organic foods at some of its other stores, it has not taken an official position on whether to integrate or separate.

"It depends on the store's size and demographics," Cullen said.

Available at the entrance of the store is King Kullen's new Natural Foods Sales Flier, which features specials on new and existing natural and organic items.

Ethnic food is located in the front of the store. It is stocked on the sides of two gondolas. One side of the aisle is devoted to Italian food, including pasta and Italian specialties. The other side offers Chinese and Mexican food.