MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here is testing a competitively priced environmental household products section in 13 of its suburban metropolitan New York area stores.
The 4-foot sections were cut into the paper goods aisle planograms last month and are stocked exclusively with products marketed by Seventh Generation, Colchester, Vt. Hanging aisle signs and window signs alert shoppers that the stores have an environmental household products section.
The 16 items being tested at A&P include: Four-pack and single-roll toilet tissue, 500-count napkins, 180-sheet rolls of paper towels in brown and white, reusable cleaning towels in a travel refill pack, trash bags, powder and liquid laundry detergents, liquid non-chlorine bleach, powdered automatic dishwasher detergent, dishwashing liquid, glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner.
In the sets, paper products are merchandised on the lower three shelves, while cleaners are merchandised on the upper two shelves.
William Vitulli, vice president of government and community relations at A&P, told SN the Seventh Generation line was selected by A&P's environmental task force, which the chain established to find ways to lessen industry effects on the environment.
"Everyday, the world is becoming more and more environmentally conscious, and the food industry is just going all out to do what we can to help in the situation," he said. Vitulli added that A&P has high hopes for the new section, which he said is competitively priced against other household products.
"We have carried environmentally friendly products before, but price was always a factor, and oftentimes they were priced higher than regular brands. But Seventh Generation is able to compete [on price]," Vitulli said.
At A&P a 16-load Seventh Generation laundry detergent was $3.69, while Tide was $4.29. The 1,000-sheet toilet tissue was 59 cents, vs. 63 cents for Scott's. The nonchlorinated liquid bleach was $2.09, vs. $2.49 for Clorox II, and tall kitchen and trash bags were each $2.19, vs. $3.49 for Glad kitchen and $3.89 for Glad trash bags.
Vitulli said the section will be supported by "good publicity" but declined to comment further.
Jeff Phillips, vice president of sales and marketing at Seventh Generation, said the company is relying on in-store promotions, primarily because the products' limited distribution would not make a freestanding insert coupon drop feasible.
"We are handing coupons out in the stores, and we are participating in A&P's Bonus Savings Club with a 25-cent discount on every product that we sell in there," Phillips said.
"We are also doing in-store activities. In late January we did some demos at A&P of our paper towels and glass cleaner. An independent lab test said it outperformed Windex, and we are very favorably priced as well because at A&P a 22-ounce Windex is $1.99 and we are selling 32-ounces for $2.49," he said.
Phillips said several other supermarket chains are also testing Seventh Generation products.
"We are in Star Markets, Boston, with three items. We're in a test at Tops Markets, Buffalo, with eight items in 20 stores. We also have a test at Wegmans, Rochester, where 13 items are being tested in one store," he said. The Seventh Generation line of products is also in natural food supermarkets such as Fresh Fields and Bread and Circus, he said.
Phillips said that Seventh Generation is in discussions with two leading Southern supermarket operators, as well as a leading national mass merchant chain, about establishing similar programs.