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Michelina's Inc. to get new name

Jeno Paulucci's frozen food company is changing its name -- again. The name of the former Luigino's Inc. was changed a couple of years ago to Michelina's Inc. to reflect the company's growth brand and to honor Paulucci's mother, whose first name ...

Jeno Paulucci's frozen food company is changing its name -- again.

The name of the former Luigino's Inc. was changed a couple of years ago to Michelina's Inc. to reflect the company's growth brand and to honor Paulucci's mother, whose first name was Michelina.

Now the company says that it has another new name: Bellisio Foods.

Bellisio Solfare was Michelina Paulucci's hometown in Italy and also is the name of the Italian restaurant in Duluth that Paulucci's son, Michael Paulucci, owns.

"Bellisio Foods, 'the beautiful food company,' is a name that better reflects the scope and variety of products we produce today and are developing for the coming years," company owner Paulucci said in a statement.

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The official reason for the name change is that Bellisio Foods is undergoing a major expansion of product lines, many of which will be launched in 2008, including budget entrees and gourmet food.

The company has created a major research and development center called Fusion Culinary in Lakeville, Minn., in addition to the R&D in Duluth, said Joel Spoonheim, vice president of devel-opment for Bellisio Foods. That is where many of the new labels are being spawned, he said.

The Michelina's brand will remain, as will Budget Gourmet and Howlin' Coyote. Newer labels include Bundinos, Joy of Cooking and Fusion Culinary. More are coming, Spoonheim said.

Bellisio Foods has no connection with the restaurant. It will continue to be privately held by the Paulucci family and its headquarters will continue to be in Duluth "in the immediate future," Spoonheim said.

In 2006, the company's Duluth production plant was closed and production operations moved to Lakeville.

Paulucci, 89, founded the company in 1990. He has created and developed more than 50 brands in the food industry, including Chun King and Jeno's Inc.

Company Chairman and CEO Joel Connor was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

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