The Food Industries Sales Managers’ Club of Los Angeles (FISMC) met in mid-September at the Summit House Restaurant in Fullerton to honor local supermarket chain Bristol Farms.
Kevin Davis, chairman, president and CEO of Bristol Farms, went over his company’s history. Bristol Farms was acquired by Albertsons in 2004; Supervalu acquired Albertsons in 2006 and then sold off the Bristol Farms portion of the business to Endeavour Capital in 2010. Davis enlisted the help of an independent research company to help identify who Bristol Farms’ target audience is and how to navigate the company going forward. One of the key findings was the growth of organics and natural products—up 64.4 percent—especially strong among higher income shoppers. Regionally, shoppers in the West and Northeast are more interested in organics than shoppers in the Midwest and South.
Another important finding was that locally grown foods were important to shoppers, and that segment is growing. Produce is the largest category for locally sourced products. For most shoppers, green practices are a tie-breaker at best. There has been a big drop in interest for environmentally friendly cleaning products and sustainable seafood.
Adam Caldecott detailed Bristol Farms’ merchandising focus: “providing quality, fresh, local, natural and specialty products that meet their customers’ need for value.” The goal is to not lose the sophisticated brand image but add a fun, local, natural, value-oriented product mix for a broader base of foodies.
In the frozen category, the chain has moved from previously having 65 percent conventional offerings to 30 percent. Its natural offerings have increased from 23 percent to 55 percent of the section, and the company is realizing “remarkable” sales increases, Caldecott said. The next phase is to add 3,500 SKUs of natural and organic products to the center store.[gn_box title=”Photos of the Event” color=”#339900″]
The company’s value proposition will have two levels: promotional, whose main focus is on strong center-of-the-plate categories, and value price, implementing 40-50 private label/signature lines with an EDLP focus. The promotional strategy is part of the company’s “Passport Program for Co-op Opportunities,” which includes new products and deal items for eight weeks at a time.
Checkstand merchandising in 2012 is a large part of the initiative as well. Bristol Farms will rationalize current checkout offerings and space (increasing natural offerings, as an example) and alternate current conventional merchandise with natural and value merchandise to optimize sales. Finally, the company will integrate mass merchandising displays in fixtures.
Finally, Bristol Farms’ Pat Posey touched on communication and rebranding. Bristol Farms will be doing everything possible to bring awareness of its organic and natural initiative—“Great taste just got better”—beginning with front door signs, banners hanging from the ceiling, print ads with the Times and Register, billboards and graphics on trucks and continued radio coverage on local AM and FM radio stations.