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FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2011 file photo, a customer grabs a shopping cart at a Safeway store in Cupertino, Calif. Safeway Inc.'s fiscal third-quarter profit rose 6 percent as the grocery chain generated stronger revenue in part from increased gasoline sales and cost control efforts. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

PLEASANTON -- In another sign of the growing popularity of Hispanic grocery products, Safeway has launched a new line of prepared Mexican food and snacks from Mexican chef and Food Network star Marcela Valladolid.

Valladolid has partnered with the supermarket chain to launch her own brand of prepared meats, tortillas and other ingredients for traditional Mexican meals. Valladolid grew up in Tijuana, Mexico, and is best known for her cooking show Mexican Made Easy and her best-selling cookbook, "Fresh Mexico."

Pleasanton-based Safeway, the second-largest U.S. supermarket chain, has been grappling with how to serve an increasingly diverse consumer base, and hopes the new line of Mexican foods will appeal to Hispanic shoppers. The U.S. market for Hispanic foods and beverages was nearly $7 billion in 2009 -- a 28.7 percent increase from 2005 -- and sales could exceed $9.5 billion in sales by 2014, according to market research group Packaged Facts. Two of the nation's top-ten fastest growing supermarkets are Hispanic grocers, according to a study market research firm Chain Store Guide.

Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.



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