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Grocers pulled out all the stops this year to secure their share of the $150,000 in cash and prizes awarded in the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) 19th Annual Potato Lover’s Month Retail Display Contest. Head-turning floor-to-ceiling displays and increased retailer participation demonstrated that the highly anticipated retail promotion of the year is more popular than ever.
“With potatoes being one of the only categories in the produce department experiencing double-digit volume growth, it’s no surprise we received close to 10 percent more entries than we did in 2009,” explained Seth Pemsler, IPC’s VP of retail/international. “Displays attract customers and by increasing potato sales, retailers are able to offset some of the margins lost on items that are not performing as well.”
Pemsler said the contest has become a tradition for many retailers. “It’s an easy and fun way for them to increase sales and possibly win a substantial cash prize for themselves and their store.”
To add some spice to the displays, the IPC again partnered with Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blends and Molly McButter, two potato-topping favorites. In addition to showcasing these two brands, all displays had to include fresh Idaho potatoes (bag, bulk or both) with a clearly discernable label showing the Idaho name and the “Grown in Idaho” seal, and a clearly marked dehydrated Idaho potato product.
“Obviously, one of the goals of the contest is to boost sales during a month when produce sales throughout the department are slow,” said Pemsler. “However, we also want to encourage consumers to look for the ‘Grown in Idaho’ seal every time they make a potato purchase, whether it be fresh, frozen or dehydrated. It’s the only way they can be assured they are buying a premium, quality potato grown in the state of Idaho.”
More than $150,000 in cash and prizes was awarded, with a total of $34,000 in cash prizes going to the top 115 participants, including matching prizes to category managers.
First-place winners received $1,500 each; second-place winners, $1,000 each; third-place winners, $750 each; fourth-place winners, $500 each; fifth-place winners, $250 each; and 100 Honorable Mentions, $100 apiece.
1-5 Cash Registers: Gleo Runyon, Pick n Save, Ironton, Ohio
6-9 Cash Registers: Robert Kruse, Sweetbay Supermarket, Tampa, Fla.
10+ Cash Registers: Fred Sweany, Buehler’s Fresh Foods, Wooster, Ohio
1-5 Cash Registers: Cheryl Beatty, Community Market, Chillicothe, Ohio
6-9 Cash Registers: David Dozier, G.F.F. Foods, Moore, Okla.
10+ Cash Registers: Sharon Brennan, Viking Village Foods, Reedsburg, Wis.
1-5 Cash Registers: Ann Kelch Schurtz, Community Market, Marysville, Ohio
6-9 Cash Registers: Jeff Stewart, Piggly Wiggly, Bonifay, Fla.
10+ Cash Registers: Jeff Lucas, Neptune City Foodtown #339, Neptune City, N.J.
The contest was open to retail supermarket chains and independents only. Displays had to be in place for at least one week during the contest period of Jan. 25 to Feb. 26, 2010, and set up in the produce section of the store.
Entries were judged and prizes awarded by the Potato Lover’s Month Display Contest Review Committee based on the following criteria: perceived success in generating incremental sales for those products; creativity of the display; perceived impact on the produce section and the store; how the display incorporated the partner products; and use of Potato Lover’s Month signage.
To view photographs of all the winning entries, see a complete list of winners and find out how the prizes were awarded, visit http://retail.idahopotato.com/plm.