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Buccaneers' Jeff Faine promotes new brand of beer nuts

Tampa Bay Bucs journeyman lineman Jeff Faine finds time to work as the team's players union rep and track his ownership in 14 restaurants.

Now he's pushing peanuts.

"With all the things I've been involved with, it was only a matter of time before I got into the nut business," said Faine, a Sanford native who at 30 is slated to earn $4.75 million playing this fall if the NFL owners resolve their labor dispute.

Faine secured a 10 percent stake in Poppa D's Nuts — the brainchild of USF grad and 35-year-old Orlando sportscaster Lee Goldberg — in return for promoting a beer nut line started on a shoestring and getting it sold in more places like arenas and stadiums.

So far, so good. Bowls of sugary Poppa D's Nuts (there is no Poppa D — it's "pop-a-these nuts" wordplay) are bar finger food at places like World of Beer and Faine's eateries. This month they debuted at $2.69 for a 5-ounce bag at all 620 7-Eleven stores in Florida.

The warm welcome came after the nuts' premiere at a convenience store chain in Nebraska. Goldberg hoped to sell 5,000 bags in six months. By hanging them on beer cooler doors, he sold 35,000.

The company sells a butter-toffee-coated redskin developed by an Orlando nut house that was selling them in bulk to hotels. Coming next: "Hot Nuts," a jazzed up Buffalo-style nut heated up with cayenne and jalapeno dust.

"We came up with them when our retailers said, 'So, what else do you have?' " Goldberg said.

Faine, meantime, is searching for the right Tampa location for his Barley House restaurant.

• • •

Net gains: Publix Super Markets this week showed its industry-centric approach to develop more sustainable sources of seafood.

The Lakeland chain is donating $40,000 from sales of wild-caught gulf shrimp to pay for testing a lighter net and other hardware that saves fuel and traps fewer critters that are not shrimp.

It's part of Publix venture with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, a nonprofit that researches ways to revive depleted fish stocks other than just not selling them.

• • •

Hanging up at Macy's: Watch the racks at Macy's for some money-saving recycling.

The department store chain, which burns through 300 million clear plastic hangers a year, is replacing them with black hangers made of recycled materials.

• • •

Less label eye strain: Nutritional labels in big type will start appearing next month on the front of packaged foods sold in supermarkets.

While federal agencies revisit mandatory nutrition labeling rules, these new nutritional keys are part of the food industry's voluntary response to first lady Michelle Obama's antiobesity campaign.

Most of the food giants — led by Kraft, Unilever, ConAgra, Pepsico, Kellogg's and General Mills — agreed to post in big type the amount per serving of calories, saturated fat, sodium and all sugars, not just "added sugar." There's also the percentage of daily nutritional value. It's all on prime package real estate usually dedicated to "New," "Improved" or "No Trans Fats." Manufacturers also can add four good-for-you ingredients in their products, like fiber, calcium and potassium.

Conspicuously missing: a shortcut for carb counters or dieters looking for foods that get fewer calories from fat.

The idea migrated from the United Kingdom, where 83 percent of shoppers are aware of them and 63 percent use them to make in-store decisions.

The Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association last week hired three media firms to create a $50 million ad campaign promoting the labels, which by year's end will be found on most packaged foods.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252.

Buccaneers' Jeff Faine promotes new brand of beer nuts 04/25/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 9:57am]
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