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As grocers look for ways to build sales in their meat departments, few initiatives are as straightforward and simple as the American Heart Association's Food Certification Program for beef. Save Mart Supermarkets and H-E-B are two of the grocers that are driving beef sales and building customer loyalty by collaborating with the beef checkoff to display the American Heart Associaton's (AHA) Heart-Check Mark on-pack.
Save Mart Supermarkets, which owns and operates 226 stores in northern California and northern Nevada under the Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, Maxx Value Foods, and FoodMaxx banners, was an early adopter of the program. In 2012, the chain rolled out four of the certified beef items -- Top Sirloin Petite Roast, Top Sirloin Filet, Top Sirloin Kabob and Top Sirloin Strips -- and in February, Save Mart implemented a promotion to increase shopper awareness of the cuts and generate demand for beef with their shoppers. With support from the beef checkoff, the retail chain held nearly 120 cooking and tasting demos of the Top Sirloin Stir Fry in its top 50 highest beef volume stores. Month-long featuring of the cuts, special pricing, in-store radio, on-pack labels and point-of-sale also supported the promotion.
The certified Top Sirloin Stir Fry item that was featured in the demos experienced a 19 percent increase in sales during the promotional period. In addition, overall sales for American Heart Association-certified cuts continued to grow another 2 percent the month post-promotion, with Top Sirloin Stir Fry sales seeing an additional 4 percent growth.
San Antonio, Texas-based H-E-B is another retail chain that’s seen success in working with the checkoff on the AHA certification program.
H-E-B introduced five of the certified cuts in January and is currently working with the beef checkoff on a promotion around the Top Sirloin Filet which will make the product available in 300 of its locations, up from the 100 stores that previously sold the cut merchandised with the Heart-Check Mark. The promotion is running now through July 9 and again July 24 - Aug. 6 and includes weekly featuring of the Top Sirloin Filet and an offer for customers to receive a free salad with their purchase of two packages of the AHA-certified Top Sirloin Filet.
The stores will also conduct demonstrations that will feature the filets prepared with the package recipe rub, served over the free salad mix with a light dressing. The beef checkoff created and provided labels, case dividers, recipes for demo and artwork for ads to support the program.