SALISBURY, N.C. — Food Lion's Bloom division teamed up with Hass Avocados from Mexico and a kiosk company to promote the main ingredient in guacamole for Super Bowl parties.
Buffalo, N.Y.-based ShoptoCook, a marketing company that manages electronic recipe kiosks in more than 350 supermarkets, hooked up with the avocado group to provide recipes, photographs and informative content for its kiosks. At the same time, Bloom tied a store avocado promotion into the guacamole recipes in the kiosks, which are set up in its 35 stores.
“The No. 1 selling event for avocados is the Super Bowl,” said Karen Peterson, special projects manager for corporate communications at Food Lion. Bloom is an upscale division of Food Lion.
“Depending on how they are merchandised and advertised, it's possible to sell three times more avocados for the Super Bowl than for Cinco de Mayo,” she said.
In recent years, Super Bowl Sunday has rivaled Cinco de Mayo as a top guacamole-eating day in the United States. The Hass Avocado Board estimated an unprecedented 53.5 million pounds of avocados — or about 107 million individual fruits — will be consumed during the game on Feb. 4.
Last week, Bloom's ad circular devoted about a sixth of a page section to a guacamole recipe and this line alongside it: “This recipe can be printed out at store kiosk!” A photo of a bowl of guacamole with a football helmet above it was used as an illustration. The ad touted a special price for Hass avocados — 99 cents each — compared with the everyday price of $1.69.
Bloom is on a “ripened” avocado program, which means the stores' avocados are ready to eat, Peterson said. The fruits were displayed in the produce department along with Roma tomatoes, onions, garlic and other ingredients for making guacamole.
“In addition, we'll also feature Concord Guacamole mix in packets to make it easier for our consumers who don't want to make guacamole from scratch,” Peterson said.
In addition to the recipe featured in the ad, the ShoptoCook kiosks offered a handful of other guacamole recipes supplied by Hass Avocados from Mexico. The recipes will become a permanent part of the kiosks' database, officials said.
The machines were installed when the Bloom concept was launched. They can be found in up to six locations within each store.
“The technology has evolved since Bloom began in 2004,” Peterson said. “Initially, we had one kiosk for product location and another for recipes, another for wine. Now we have combined all functions into one interactive informational kiosk.”
The databases are updated constantly, said Jan Beurskens, ShoptoCook's co-founder and vice president.
“We knew this type of technology would be a help to busy customers,” she said. “In fact, the button that gets hit most often is the one that says Meals in 30 Minutes. It's particularly convenient for a shopper in a hurry, because when they print out the recipe, that recipe becomes their shopping list.”
The collection of recipes supplied by Hass Avocados from Mexico can be accessed in different ways at the kiosk. One way is to tap the Game Day button, which became “live” Jan. 29.
The kiosk's software reads bar codes, so a customer can swipe a bar code on any food product and immediately several recipes using the item will pop up. In fact, while Bloom has the kiosks in several departments, the first ones were installed in the meat/seafood departments, and they continue to get the most hits, Peterson said.
“We put the kiosks in the meat/seafood areas first because we wanted to help customers plan meals for their families and we felt that was the best place to start,” she said.
All products sold in the store are listed in the ShoptoCook database along with meal ideas, recipes, product information and cooking advice.
Retailers buy the kiosks and then pay a monthly fee to ShoptoCook for maintaining and managing the machines and updating the database with SKUs as they're added or removed.
“We're linked to the kiosks via a VPN network, so it's easy to update or to tell if anything goes wrong,” Beurskens said.
The Bloom stores are the only supermarkets in their market areas with the kiosks.