ROCKVILLE, Md. -- In a bid to become more competitive with its supermarket brethren, Fresh Fields here has lowered prices on many of its grocery items and is backing up the move with a new advertising campaign.
The 23-unit chain of upscale, all-natural food supermarkets has devised a "Now Good for You Savings" campaign of lower prices that runs for an entire month and features a cross-section of items throughout the store. To further drive home the campaign, the theme is also printed at the bottom of receipts.
Officials at Fresh Fields did not return phone calls, but in the northern New Jersey market, where Fresh Fields operates two stores that go head-to-head with upscale Kings Super Markets, West Caldwell, N.J., Fresh Fields is running a series of full-page newspaper ads that appear almost daily touting the fact that it slashed prices on scores of its items.
"We finally realized you wanted to eat our groceries, not invest in them," read one headline, while another touted, "Now that we've lowered our prices, you won't have to ask, 'Does that price include the shopping cart?' "
"First we stocked our store with the freshest, healthiest, most natural foods available. Now, it seems the only thing left to do is cut our prices. Which is exactly what we're doing. On hundreds of items throughout the store. In every department, on the everyday items you buy most. So from now on, eating the fresh, tasty, healthy foods from Fresh Fields doesn't have to take a bite out of your budget," the ad copy read. A tag line near it said, "We've lowered our prices, but not our standards."
While the newspaper ads mostly feature perishables items, in the stores prices are mostly slashed on center store grocery staples.
In addition, holders of Fresh Fields frequent shopper cards received a personalized form letter in the mail from Fresh Fields President Mark Ordan detailing the new price structure, and stating that Fresh Fields is able to lower its prices because its rapid growth allowed for better buying. The card is no longer necessary to receive discounts, but shoppers were told to continue to use it to receive free coupons.
Featured items are marked with color-coded shelf-talkers. SN visited the Millburn Fresh Fields store in late February and found both white and black shelf talkers for the month of February and beige and black shelf talkers for March lining the shelves. Lower prices were available throughout the grocery department, including bulk foods, cookies, water, baby cereal, salad dressings and frozen foods categories.
Among the center store items featured during March are Frookies cookies, on sale for 99 cents, compared with the regular $1.69 price. West Brae cookies are on sale for $1.99, a savings of 80 cents off the regular $2.79 retail. Annie's All-natural Pasta Dinners, regularly 99 cents a box, are on sale for 88 cents.
In the beverage category, a 1-liter bottle of Poland Spring water is 69 cents, down from its regular 89 cents, while a 64-ounce bottle of Apple & Eve apple juice has been reduced from its regular $1.99 retail to $1.69. Celestial Seasonings tea bags are $1.99 a box, compared with $2.49.
One of the more popular items is the bulk basamati rice, which is on sale for 39 cents a pound, compared with its regular 69 cents a pound. By comparison, a 2-pound bag of Fresh Fields private-label basamati rice retails for $2.29.