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    Harvest Markets Pilots Meal Solutions Kiosk

    PEMBROKE, N.H. -- Harvest Markets here is piloting a touch-screen kiosk in one of its two stores to provide shoppers with meal solutions that can be created using ingredients found in the aisles.

    PEMBROKE, N.H. -- Harvest Markets here is piloting a touch-screen kiosk in one of its two stores to provide shoppers with meal solutions that can be created using ingredients found in the aisles.

    The kiosk, provided by Buffalo, N.Y.-based ShoptoCook, is located in the produce department near the entrance of the 19,000 sq. ft. store in the upscale town of Bedford, N.H.

    "We installed the ShoptoCook Recipe Center because we thought our customers would relate well to it," said Tim Merrill, g.m. of Associated Grocers of New England, which owns the retailer. "It's been good tie in because we are a big player in the wine business, and we have had a very good response from them."

    Harvest stages wine samplings in its stores every Thursday and Friday evening, and the kiosk's wine and food pairing application quickly became a shopper favorite.

    Merrill installed the kiosk to differentiate Harvest Markets from its strong local competitors, which include Shaw's, Stop & Shop, and Hannaford Bros. He said he is also looking to the application to promote good health via a special module on health and wellness.

    The kiosks assist shoppers in planning out meals around various products. Once a recipe is created, it can be printed and used as a shopping list.

    In the first 40 days of the kiosk's deployment, approximately 900 recipes were printed, representing more than 6,600 ingredients that are available for sale in the store. According to ShoptoCook research, 62 percent of shoppers buy at least one ingredient for the recipe they printed.

    ShoptoCook conducted training sessions with store personnel to educate them about the kiosk and its applications, so that they in turn, can guide shoppers on using the system.

    "It was very important to have our managers - especially in the produce, deli, seafood, and meat departments - understand the ShoptoCook Recipe Center and the value it would have for their departments," said Merrill.

    If the pilot is successful, Associated would consider installations in other independents it supplies, said Merrill.

    Associated Grocers of New England is a retailer-owned cooperative serving over 400 independent supermarkets in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It's corporate-owned stores include Harvests Markets in Bedford and Hollis, N.H.; Vista Foods in Laconia and Manchester, N.H.; and Riverview Markets in Woodsville, N.H.

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