LONGMONT, Colo. -- Based on the success of a test conducted more than a year ago in two supermarket chains, the National Honey Board here last week launched a four-week promotion in approximately 12,000 stores nationwide that will emphasize the health benefits of honey while also giving consumers suggestions on using it.
The January promotion will use in-store radio, where available, shopping cart ads, and take-ones near the honey, which is often merchandised with jams and jellies or with other sweeteners. The campaign is not brand-specific, "But we've reached out to manufacturers and urged them to do deals during this time," according to a spokesman from the Honey Board. Demos would be a great add-on, he said, guessing that some individual brands and packers would do those in stores as well.
Back in 1998, the National Honey Board conducted a test that measured the results of a "whole health" marketing approach using shopping cart ads and an informational brochure in the honey aisles of Kroger stores in Dallas and Jewel stores in Chicago. In Dallas, cart ads and the brochure reflected traditional honey recipes and serving ideas, such as in tea or on cereal. After four weeks, honey sales increased 5.9%, according to the spokesman.
In Chicago, the material was health-related. Titled "Honey for Health," the brochure revealed how this ancient food has been valued through history for its medicinal properties. It also contained very general messages on the vitamins and antioxidants contained in honey. The cart ads reflected this soft health focus, as well. Sales went up in Chicago, too, but the increase was 11.9% -- almost double.
"People who use honey will respond to opportunities to use more honey, in cooking, as a topping, in special desserts or as a comfort food," said Bob Smith, executive director of the Honey Board. "The soft health messages are attracting some folks who are not traditional honey users, and we're finding that those folks keep coming back."