Topco: Full Circle 100% Organic Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup passed all the required elements of being the perfect syrup, pleasing judges from PLMA's focus group and securing a victory in its category.
"The syrup had an excellent taste to it," said judge Frank Dell, president of Dellmart & Co., Stamford, Conn. "It was a nice, thick syrup. It wasn't runny."
The syrup was in development for about six months before it was rolled out to stores in March 2004. Contained in a 12-ounce glass bottle, with a standard retail price of $5.49, the item is part of Topco's Full Circle line of organic products. Depending on the retailer, it can be found in stores integrated with the mainstream grocery items, in a "store within a store" for natural/organic items, or in a section with an aisle.
The product also lends itself well to cross promotion with pancake mix any time of the year.
According to the co-op, more shoppers are realizing they can buy quality, organic items in mainstream stores rather than specialty shops. To that end, Topco is currently developing a Full Circle Honey in a 12-ounce squeeze bear and a 16-ounce squeeze bottle.
Shaw's: Shaw's Signature Brand Toasted Grains Cereal
Shaw's Signature Brand Toasted Grains Cereal is aimed at adults looking for a tasty cereal high in fiber, iron and B vitamins, but low in fat, sodium and cholesterol, said Jim Fowler, vice president of grocery and nonfoods buying at Shaw's.
"We believe this cereal reaches far above the expectations customers traditionally have had for own-brand cereal. We think we succeeded in producing a cereal that is premium quality without a premium price," Fowler said.
Shaw's spent approximately a year developing this product, which was launched in October 2001 and recently reformulated. The box of cereal retails for $2.50 and weighs 16 ounces. Its packaging shares a similar photographic style to other items in the Shaw's family of Signature brand cereals and granola. The product is merchandised in the traditional cereal section, typically on the top shelf.
To help promote its launch, Shaw's relied on direct mail, coupon books, flyer ads and price reductions. The cereal also lends itself to cross promotions featuring healthy foods and other breakfast-themed items.
Aldi: Premium Pride Gourmet Peppercorn Bacon
Aldi's Premium Pride Gourmet Peppercorn Bacon proved to be a cut above the rest in the PLMA focus group, snagging the award for best breakfast meat product.
The idea for the product originated when Aldi executives visited a bacon supplier plant and tasted a similar product. Development of the peppercorn bacon began immediately thereafter and product specifications were determined by surveying similar items on the market and by sampling numerous product formulations that suppliers custom-made for Aldi. After about six months, Premium Pride Gourmet Peppercorn Bacon was rolled out on Sept. 17, 2003, in a 24-ounce package at the everyday retail price of $3.99.
This item appeals to bacon consumers who are looking for a new variety of bacon, according to Aldi. Judges agreed.
"The bacon with the peppercorn was unique and really had a good taste to it," said Frank Dell, president of Dellmart, Stamford, Conn., and a focus group judge. "It was like putting a pastrami-type pepper on the edge of it. The thing I liked is that it took what was almost a commodity and made it unique. I think most consumers consider bacon, bacon. They are looking at the level of fat on it. This was a nice, lean bacon but had just a little bit of something different that made it stand out."
The bacon category has seen increased attention due to the popularity of low-carb, high-protein diets, according to sources at Aldi. The retailer also rolled out Premium Pride Gourmet Thick Sliced Maple Flavored Bacon, in the same weight and price, at the same time. Consumers can find both of these items in the refrigerated meat section of the cooler at Aldi stores.