Calcium craze invading two new food categories

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For strong bones, be sure to eat plenty of margarine and ice cream.

That's the logic behind two new products from Unilever units Lipton and Good Humor-Breyers, which are adding calcium to existing products in an effort to build stronger sales while helping consumers build bone mass.

Lipton will begin shipping new Shedd's Spread Country Crock With Calcium nationally beginning April 24, while Good Humor-Breyers later this month introduces Breyers All Natural Calcium Rich ice cream into Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington test markets.

The new Country Crock entry, a 3-pound tub of margarine that contains 10% of the daily requirement of calcium, will be backed by an estimated $5 million TV campaign, from Stone & Simons, Southfield, Mich., to begin in July. TV, supported by newspaper inserts that same month, will target a broad base of consumers, focusing on older women but including younger women, men and children who don't get enough calcium in their diets, an executive close to the company said.

"People are eating margarines and spreads already, and now it will become another vehicle for them to get their calcium," he said.

Country Crock will be the first in the stagnant $1.3 billion margarines/spreads category to receive a boost of calcium, a mineral that has been a primary driver in other categories such as orange juice. Fortified orange juice now makes up 12% of the $3 billion refrigerated orange juice category overall, according to a spokeswoman for PepsiCo's Tropicana Products. Tropicana has said sales of its Pure Premium with calcium grew 173% since it was relaunched in 1997.

Kellogg Co. has fortified its Nutri-Grain Bars and Eggo waffles with calcium, Campbell Soup Co. also has added calcium to its V8 and V8 Splash products and has developed a calcium-and-vitamin-fortified Campbell's Plus. And the list goes on as food and beverage marketers capitalize on consumers' increased interest in health issues. Tropicana research shows that from 1996-98, women increased their calcium intake 28% and men 20%; in 1998, the recommended dietary allowance for calcium was increased as well.

A PIONEER

Like fortified Country Crock, the new Breyers line is a pioneer in its category. The product contains 30% of the daily requirement of calcium per half-cup serving vs. 10% for other Breyers varieties and targets women and teen girls who are not getting enough calcium. Initially, the single Calcium Rich ice cream will be carried by Giant Food and Safeway Stores in Baltimore and Washington, and by Genuardi's Family Markets in Philadelphia; no advertising support is planned, a company spokeswoman said. The test will be evaluated for potential expansion later this year.

Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, is the agency for Breyers.

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