NEWS ROUNDUP

New Potato Plant Resists Beetleere has completed all federal regulatory review processes for its NewLeaf potato plant, which is genetically engineered to resist the Colorado potato beetle.The Environmental Protection Agency approved the registration of the NewLeaf potato plant in May, the final step in the federal review process, according to NatureMark, a unit of St. Louis-based Monsanto Co.The potato,

New Potato Plant Resists Beetle

ere has completed all federal regulatory review processes for its NewLeaf potato plant, which is genetically engineered to resist the Colorado potato beetle.

The Environmental Protection Agency approved the registration of the NewLeaf potato plant in May, the final step in the federal review process, according to NatureMark, a unit of St. Louis-based Monsanto Co.

The potato, a Russet Burbank variety, is not expected to be widely available to consumers until 1996, according to the company.

NatureMark had earlier received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for the potato, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined that the plant did not require registration because it does not differ from conventional potato plants.

According to NatureMark, the Colorado potato beetle is the most damaging insect to the U.S. potato crop. The NewLeaf, which is resistant to the beetle, will cut down on the need for pesticides, NatureMark said.

Besides the NewLeaf, Monsanto Co., is developing a bioengineered tomato with extended shelf life. The bioengineering firm also developed bovine somatotropin, a synthetic bovine growth hormone.

Mushroom Promotion Pack Offered

ROSEVILLE, Calif. -- The Mushroom Council here is offering a new retail promotional package that includes a set of schematics designed to help produce managers better merchandise fresh mushrooms.

"The package responds to the needs of retailers who know that fresh mushrooms can be great profit producers, but they are unsure how to best merchandise and promote the item," said Wade Whitfield, president of the council.

The schematics are being offered to help retailers with one-, two- or three-deck cases reorganize mushroom sections and help satisfy shoppers' needs, the council said.

Developed after research done by the U.S. Marketing Services with input from suppliers, the schematics are intended to be a starting point for retailers. Wade said retailers should personalize the schematics, based on shopper demographics and the size of the produce department.

The promotional package also includes point-of-purchase cards, recipe and handling cards and retail ad slicks.

A backroom information chart showing principal mushroom varieties with full descriptions, flavor characteristics and handling and usage tips, is also included.

Fresh Express Airs Television Ad

SALINAS, Calif. -- Fresh Express Farms here has launched its first national televised advertising campaign for its value-added salads.

Two 30-second spots are airing throughout June and July in markets across the country. Representing the start of a multi-million dollar television ad campaign, the two commercials will continue to air periodically during the rest of the year, according to the company. "Through these ads, we want to stress the quality of our products' freshness in the minds of the consumer," said Steve Taylor, chief executive officer. That theme is emphasized in the commercials' tag line: "Fresh Express Farms! That's fresh!"

According to the company, one advertisement spoofs supermarket shoppers who poke, sniff and squeeze the bulk produce. The commercial then focuses on the prepackaged Fresh Express salad.

The second ad is set in a refrigerator. A man brings home a head of lettuce and a Fresh Express Farms salad. The commercial then shows how the prepackaged salad stays fresh over an eight-day period while the head of lettuce wilts.

"We've been playing in the big leagues for a while now, so it's the right time for us to do television ads that will strengthen and reinforce our brand image with American consumers," said Mark Drever, president of Fresh Express Farms.

Fresh Express Farms is a major producer of prepackaged salads.

Dole, Jell-O Go Bananas in Offer

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. -- Dole Fresh Fruit Co. here is running an "All-American Star Spangled Fourth of July Celebration" banana display contest and coupon promotion, in conjunction with Jell-O Gelatin.

Full-page coupon promotions, offering shoppers up to 60 cents' worth of Dole bananas free with the purchase of Jell-O Gelatin, will appear in magazines including "Good Housekeeping," "Woman's Day" and "Redbook."