Ore-Ida Celebrates 60 Years Of The Original Tater Tots Potatoes

Ore-Ida Celebrates 60 Years Of The Original Tater Tots Potatoes
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This year, Ore-Ida Tater Tots celebrate six decades on the American table.

Back in the 1950s, the Griggs brothers, the founding fathers of Ore-Ida, were seeking ways to more fully utilize the potatoes grown for their booming french fry business. From their experiments with the excess potato slivers from the fry making production, Tater Tots potatoes were born.

Since then, Tater Tots potatoes have become a versatile American icon as a side dish, appetizer or snack. The Tater Tots potatoes’ trend continues to spread, inspiring culinary dishes from bacon jalapeno tots to Totchos with fresh pico de gallo and innovative toppers like aioli, bleu cheese and coriander.

“Ore-Ida Tater Tots potatoes have a 60-year history that evokes many happy memories,” said Fed Arreola, VP of marketing. “From humble beginnings, the original Ore-Ida Tater Tots potato brand has retained its place at the dinner table as the one and only, the original that we all know and love, and that’s something we’re proud of.”

To celebrate the anniversary, Ore-Ida will have new 60th anniversary packaging through November and new online content through Nov. 10, including new recipes and ideas for the product. It also will have videos and sweepstakes featuring “Imi-taters” Stanley, Yammy, Super and Captain on its Facebook page. Videos are part of a game, through which participants can enter for a chance to win a cash prize for their own ultimate party.

Ore-Ida is an H.J. Heinz Co. brand.

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Bud Light Picked Crested Butte As Location Of Whatever, USA

Bud Light Picked Crested Butte As Location Of Whatever, USA
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After months of rumors and speculation, Bud Light chose Crested Butte, Colo., as the location selected for Whatever, USA. The “Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens” partnered with the town to create the ultimate #UpForWhatever weekend of spontaneous fun.

“Ever since we were first approached by Bud Light earlier this summer, we’ve been impressed with the creativity and level of detail they’ve put into the planning process for Whatever, USA,” said Crested Butte Mayor Aaron Huckstep. “This is going to be an incredible event for our community that will help bring the beauty of Crested Butte to 1,000 new visitors.”

After an exhaustive search that crisscrossed the country, Crested Butte was selected to host Whatever, USA, held Sept. 5 -7, for its natural beauty and colorful cast of characters that make up the town. Over the course of 12 weeks, more than 150,000 people from across the U.S. created video submissions on www.UpForWhatever.com for the chance to visit Whatever, USA. Of that pool, 1,000 consumers attended.

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The Produce Mom Welcomes Chelan Fresh To Family Of Partners

The Produce Mom Welcomes Chelan Fresh To Family Of Partners
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chelan-and-kroger-300x200Chelan Fresh Marketing has joined The Produce Mom Family of Partners.

The Produce Mom is the official blog and consumer brand of Indianapolis Fruit Co., a supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables to retailers in more than 14 Midwestern states. The blog was launched in January 2012 and is authored by Lori Taylor, marketing manager. She combines her professional and personal experiences to share relevant industry knowledge with consumers.

The partnership with Chelan Fresh was established with a primary goal of marketing the Rockit Apple, which has been promoted on The Produce Mom’s blog, social media and WISH-TV/Indy Style news segments.

Jeff Ryg, Kroger Central Division, praised The Produce Mom’s campaigns, “She creates buzz,” Ryg said. “Our shoppers are fans and followers of The Produce Mom. I have great confidence in our ability to sell a product when The Produce Mom is talking about it. It’s exciting for me to see so many of Kroger’s valued partners joining The Produce Mom Family of Partners.”

After the success of the Rockit Apple promotion, Chelan Fresh invited The Produce Mom to join its Annual Cherry Harvest Tour. This year’s tour took place July 13-15 in the Lake Chelan area. Chelan Fresh invites individuals representing positions of industry influence to participate in its ag tourism and education program. This year’s guests included registered dietitians, food stylists, bloggers and consumers, as well as policy  and commission representatives.

Kathryn Grandy with Chelan Fresh Marketing said the company was thrilled to have Lori Taylor, The Produce Mom, in attendance.

chelanfresh_logo“We at Chelan Fresh are proud to support The Produce Mom,” Grandy said. “It’s very exciting to witness the way her social campaigns and consumer marketing style benefit our brand. We have great respect for all fellow members of The Produce Mom Family and we look forward to working with The Produce Mom to increase the consumption of fresh produce.”

“I am very passionate about introducing consumers to new and exciting items in the produce department, such as the Rockit Apple,” said Lori Taylor, The Produce Mom. “The experience at Chelan Fresh was invaluable to me and all the followers of The Produce Mom. I love demonstrating to consumers the protocol and care that is necessary to bring a fresh produce item from the farms to our home kitchens. Our industry’s dedication to sustainability & food safety is beyond admirable.”

Chelan Fresh Marketing was established in August 2004 and holds the sales and marketing responsibilities for Gebbers Farms and Chelan Fruit Cooperative. Today, Chelan Fresh has grown to become one of Washington state’s largest marketers of fresh fruit with an estimated annual sale of 12 million boxes of apples, 1.3 million boxes of pears, 3.3 million boxes of cherries. For more information, visit ChelanFresh.com.

In the feature photo at top: The Produce Mom Lori Taylor picks cherries.

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California Cantaloupe Board Debuts Summer Consumer Sweepstakes


California Cantaloupe Board Debuts Summer Consumer Sweepstakes

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The California Cantaloupe Advisory Board’s Summertime Yum & Cantaloupe Fun online sweepstakes promotion is now under way and is designed to draw more people to the organization’s website and social media properties.

Last year the California cantaloupe industry established a new mandatory food safety program and launched an on-line education effort designed to increase confidence and boost consumption of California cantaloupes. The educational campaign is being partially funded through a USDA Block Grant provided to the Cantaloupe Board to help rebuild confidence in cantaloupe in the aftermath of the 2011 outbreak of listeria associated with cantaloupe from Jensen Farms.

“California cantaloupe farmers have such a great story to tell in the way we have utilized 20 years of University research to determine the safest ways to grow cantaloupes,” said Garrett Patricio, chairman of the board’s marketing committee. “Our new website and social marketing campaign are designed not only to tell consumers the story of our commitment to producing the best quality and safest cantaloupe, but we hope to encourage increased consumption of cantaloupe by engaging people in all the fun and delicious ways cantaloupe can be incorporated into a healthy diet.”

The Summertime Yum and Cantaloupe Fun promotion is tied to the California Cantaloupe Facebook page where consumers are encouraged to explain how and why they are fans of fresh cantaloupe. Consumers can enter to win a $100 gift certificate to their favorite local grocery store. Prizes will be given three times over the course of the next two months.

The California Cantaloupe Advisory Board has a team of social media experts who are implementing the program and regularly sharing information via a host of social media sites including Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ in addition to Facebook. A series of videos is also available on YouTube with information on the California cantaloupe industry’s mandatory food safety program, as well as some quick consumer tips on how to safely wash, select, cut and store cantaloupe.
For those interested in the details of the food safety program, a list of certified shippers is posted on the website and a copy of the food safety audit checklist, which includes 156 checkpoints, also is available.

Last year, the board launched the first mandatory food safety program in the U.S. produce industry that invites government auditors to inspect all aspects of cantaloupe production operations. Handlers who are certified under the program are required to be in 100 percent compliance with a set of science-based food safety practices verified by government auditors. The program operates with oversight from the California Department of Food and Agriculture and utilized USDA-trained auditors.

During the first year of the program, 53 total audits were conducted with each including 156 food safety checkpoints. In total, after examining 8,268 checkpoints in fields, packing facilities and coolers, government auditors found 4.3 percent that were out of compliance. All checkpoints are required to be corrected and verified again by auditors. Once a handler has achieved full compliance with all checkpoints they are considered “certified.” Only then can handlers utilize the certified seal on packaging and paperwork and the name of their company is posted on the public website.

“We are very pleased that all handlers achieved certification last year,” said Patricio, noting that this season’s audits are currently ongoing and that any new handlers will be added to the certified list as soon as their audits are complete. He encouraged retail and food service buyers to visit the website to ensure they are purchasing cantaloupe from certified handlers.

“They should also visit our website and sign up to receive our newsletter so they can be notified if there are any de-certifications,” 
Patricio said.

Patricio also urged retailers to share the California cantaloupe website and social media sites with their customers.

“Our Board is very fortunate to be able to promote all of the fun and delicious ways to use and eat cantaloupe along with telling people about our strong food safety program,” he said. “Cantaloupes are such a great product and we are very confident that more people will become fans once they get to know us.”

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Red Diamond Wins Regional Social Media Competition Again

Red Diamond Wins Regional Social Media Competition Again
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Red Diamond Coffee and Tea Co., one of the three oldest coffee, tea and foodservice companies in the U.S. continuously operated by the same family, repeats as the winner of the Alabama Region of the ‘Social Madness’ contest hosted by American City Business Journals, a national publication of 40 business newspapers across the country.

The Social Madness Challenge is a one-of-a-kind competition that measures a company’s social media engagement. Last year, nearly 4,000 companies participated, generating nearly three-quarters of a million votes. Red Diamond once again proved successful by outscoring competitors throughout the competition.

“Social media is an excellent vehicle for Red Diamond to deliver on our commitment to drive business to our retail partners, communicate efficiently with our consumers and provide great customer service,” said Wilbur Christy, director of innovation at Red Diamond. “Red Diamond has long been recognized for having loyal and enthusiastic fans around the country. We were fortunate to win this competition because our fans engaged with us and with their friends and family. To enjoy Red Diamond is to share it. That’s exactly what our fans did.”

Added Crest Foods buyer David Judd, who recently introduced Red Diamond’s tea products, “Red Diamond’s social media drove their business, and my category to outpace my competition. I’ve rarely seen a new brand come into Oklahoma and perform this well, this fast. Social media was the key.”

Red Diamond has moved on to the national competition, which began July 16.

To learn more about Red Diamond, visit reddiamond.com.

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United Supermarkets Expands Social Media Presence Across Three Banners

United Supermarkets Expands Social Media Presence Across Three Banners
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United Supermarkets LLC is better connecting with its guests by expanding its social media presence for three of its four store formats. The new structure gives each of the banners—United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos—its own unique and separate set of social media pages on several platforms.

The growth of social media and unique positioning of each banner drove the decision to diversify outlets. While the company’s social channels were previously aligned geographically, the new alignment by brand allows each banner to have unique representation on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

“As we became more active on social media, we realized that publishing content about all three of our banners to a single Facebook or Twitter page wasn’t the most desirable way for our guests to stay updated on what was happening in the stores where they shop,” says Kelly Podzemny, social media coordinator for United Supermarkets. “Now they can follow only the banners where they shop, or all three if they like and not be exposed to the same message twice.”

In early February 2013, the company converted its former “West Texas” Facebook page, which represented all three West Texas brands, to represent only its United Supermarkets stores. The company also converted the previous Dallas/Fort Worth Facebook page to represent Market Street stores across all of its regions. New Facebook and Twitter accounts were created for the Amigos banner.

“Social media has been a great way to engage with our guests. We are evolving from simply being a grocery store to becoming a valuable source for interesting, entertaining and useful content,” says Jennifer Nanz, digital media manager for United Supermarkets. “Our goal is to provide relevant information to our guests, and narrowing our message to the specific banner helps us achieve that goal.”

United says the changes have been well accepted by its fans. New followers for Facebook and Twitter channels have increased by 38 percent, and regional diversity has increased among all channels. Most guests continue to follow and engage on multiple banners and channels.

Additionally, the company has created Pinterest and Instagram feeds for United Supermarkets and Market Street. Links to all of the United’s active social media pages can be found at www.unitedtexas.com/social.

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Smartphones May Be Your Most Valuable Retail Space

Smartphones May Be Your Most Valuable Retail Space
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by Rick Rusch

Rick Rusch

Rick Rusch

Last year social media was the topic of considerable discussion among ­retailers, including grocers. Many grocers’ questions centered around the why, what and when of social media. Today, even for those who have been in ­social media for two years or more, they remain vague and difficult to measure.

While social media has not gone away, the biggest game-changing trend we’ve seen in technology is the growing usage of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and how consumers use them for decision-making, sharing and purchasing. In essence, mobile devices put the internet in consumers’ pockets or purses. And consumers are using that power to do everything from accessing promotional coupons and scanning QR codes to researching ­products, comparing prices and making a purchase.

[gn_quote style="1"]Mobile will influence 5.1 percent of all retail purchases in 2012—that’s $158 billion.[/gn_quote]

By 2013, if you’re not mobile, you’re simply not going to be competitive. Worse still, your in-store and e-commerce business will both suffer as you lose sales to competitors who provide a good shopping experience on mobile devices.

So why is this trend one grocers cannot afford to stand on the sidelines for? Numbers. That’s right, numbers. Consider these numbers….

The mobile trend is here

  • 54 percent of mobile users own a smartphone
  • 70 percent of mobile searches result in interaction with a business within one (1) hour
  • 27 percent of consumers are scanning QR codes in-store
  • 48 percent feel better about purchasing after viewing on mobile
  • 14 percent make unplanned purchases as result of mobile influence

Statistics and trends are great, but grocers live by sales metrics. And that’s exactly why ­grocers cannot afford to ignore mobile. The mobile trend numbers above lead directly to sales and can be measurable against sales. Unlike social media, where monetizing friends and likes is nearly impossible, mobile should be viewed as another connection point with ­consumers.

That said, it is a mistake to think of mobile as simply the 21st century version of the ­newspaper insert. Here’s why:

Reach—Your mobile store reaches anyone with a smartphone, not just those who subscribe to the local paper.

Access—91 percent of smartphone owners keep their devices at their side 24/7…your mobile site provides on-demand access to products, service and your brand.

Low Cost—A mobile website and apps are less costly to build and maintain than a ­traditional website—and less than print mediums, too.

Targeted—Rather than broadcasting an offer to everyone via a newspaper, mobile allows for more intelligent, targeted marketing offers that blend both location and relevance.

Timely—Mobile makes real time offers a reality.

Smart shoppers are consulting multiple platforms to aid with shopping and to save money. Mobile coupon usage, in particular, is skyrocketing. According to a July study by media and marketing services company Valassis, use of mobile coupons or apps increased by more than 100 percent in 2011, and 100 percent again in 2012. Although trailing online coupons by a few percentage points, the Valassis study showed that 79 percent of U.S. inter­net users were using more mobile coupons this year—on par with print coupons and circulars. According to the Valassis findings, of consumers using a smartphone for savings, 21 percent accessed a coupon in an email, 19 percent used the device to compare deals and 18 percent downloaded the coupon on their phone.

OK, so the numbers look good and they can be tied more directly to sales. So what’s a grocer looking to add the mobile channel to their marketing ­strategy to do?

Mobile commerce is all about your customers

When it comes right down to it, mobile commerce works only if it benefits your customers. That means you need to determine how your customers find and shop at your site or store. Here are four mobile strategies to get you up and running in the mobile economy.

1. Optimize the Mobile Web

Mobile internet usage is projected to surpass desktop web usage by 2015—or sooner. Take advantage of these mobile consumers by providing an experience optimized for mobile and for the specific device format a consumer is using. Mobile websites and apps provide a much more engaging and simple way for users to view and interact with your brand. Although many businesses are ­marketing via mobile or social networks, 90 percent of websites are not ­mobile.

As a result, mobile traffic lands on a website that can be ­frustrating or nearly impossible for consumers to use. Optimizing for ­mobile will reduce consumer abandonment due to a poor user experience.

How to optimize the mobile web?

  • Simplify site design by putting top consumer actions front and center
  • Use large, touchscreen-friendly buttons
  • Trash the flash as it’s not supported by Apple’s iOS
  • Ditch large images and video that take time to load

2. Link Mobile and Email

Consumers are using their mobile devices to do tasks they would previously do using a desktop computer, especially reading email. Consumers who make purchases through ­marketing emails spend 138 percent more than those who do not receive email offers. Ninety-three percent of online consumers interact with brands through email, more than any other platform.

How should you link mobile and email?

  • Format emails to be read easily on mobile devices
  • Keep links to a minimum
  • Encourage sharing
  • Connect weekly at a minimum

3. Linking with QR

To date, QR (Quick Response) codes, those little black and white squares of pixels, have been more a favorite of marketers than consumers, but that is about to change. A QR code that takes a customer to your Facebook page or a website that is not mobile-optimized is a waste of time. As stated at the beginning of this article, today 27 percent of consumers are scanning QR codes in-store. Provided with an informative destination, 48 percent of consumers feel better about purchasing and 14 percent are making unplanned purchases.

How is it best to link with QR?

  • Make the destination worthwhile—an offer or information—not to your Facebook page
  • Tell customers where the QR code takes them and why they should go there
  • Change the content of the destination frequently
  • Keep it close to the product so a purchase can be made

4. Socially Mobile

By the end of this year, nearly 82 million U.S. mobile users will use a social networking site on their phone at least monthly; that’s more than a quarter of the total U.S. population. Research firm eMarketer says that most of these users—95.5 percent in all—will be ­checking social sites on a smartphone, and smartphone users are about twice as likely as overall mobile phone users to do so this year. But if you think one in four is a lot, by 2014, eMarketer believes nearly half of the total U.S. mobile population will be mobile social ­networkers.

How to be socially mobile…

  • Promote across multiple social networks
  • Create experiences that drive interaction and sharing
  • Collect valuable data by customer action
  • Measure and optimize

Are you ready for mobile?

Your customers are! Booz & Co. states that 31 percent of customers use mobile tech­nology in their grocery shopping. They are signing up for offers, downloading coupons, price comparing, evaluating nutrition labels and scanning QR codes.

Savvy grocers will see mobile as the ultra-effective connection channel it is. As such, they’ll position their mobile strategy as the most valuable and productive retail space in their store. It’s safe to say their customers will respond positively.

Rick Rusch is managing partner of Thought-Tech LLC, a brand ­communications firm. Thought-Tech guides clients in branding, marketing and selling. Thought-Tech has launched MobileBrandLinx a custom Quick Response (QR) code product and service to extend branding and packaging for retailers. Rusch can be reached at Rick.Rusch@thought-tech.com.

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Kellogg Introduces ‘The Crunchy Nut’

Kellogg Introduces ‘The Crunchy Nut’
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The Crunchy Nut has made it his mission to seek out people suffering from dull breakfasts and put the fun back into cereal bowls everywhere, according to a new campaign by Kellogg. Armed with a bottle of milk and a wooden honey stick, this masked hero is always on the lookout for citizens in need of his nutty intervention. Faster than a speeding milkman, The Crunchy Nut steps in to save the day by bringing joy back to everyone’s mornings—one bowl of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cereal at a time.

One of these ordinary people, a simple milkman named Clarence, testifies that Crunchy Nut cereal has forever changed his life.

“I used to dread waking up every morning to a bowl of stale toast,” said Clarence. “Now with Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, I live a life devoid of a taste bud numbing meal. Breakfast is actually fun again!”

Unlike other lackluster morning meal options, Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut spreads smiles as taste buds encounter the cereal’s combinations of sweet and nutty flavors. Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cereal is available in three varieties – Crunchy Nut Roasted Nut & Honey, Crunchy Nut Golden Honey Nut and new Crunchy Nut Caramel Nut.

The Crunchy Nut is recruiting supporters all across the land to join this cause. His first high profile appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! happened June 12 to get the word out that mornings can be nutty again. Watch on YouTube at http://bit.ly/M3ridX.

Join The Crunchy Nut’s mission to bring fun back to breakfast and see videos of him in action at Facebook.com/KelloggsCrunchyNut. For more product information, visit www.KelloggsCrunchyNut.com.

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