ATLANTA -- An abundance of Washington apples sparked the Atlanta division of Kroger Co. last month to offer a mail-in rebate on bags of the Red Delicious variety.
The chain ran an unusual half-page newspaper advertisement featuring an 8-pound bag of Red Delicious retailing for $1.99, after the $1-off mail-in rebate.
The mail-in rebate offer is sponsored by the Washington Apple Commission in Wenatchee, Wash., as part of a program trotted out to help move large crops.
"It's been a very good success," Jim Doherty, retail marketing director for the commission, said of the program. "It seems to be a strong catalyst for sales."
Doherty said the program was created when, last summer, Washington state had an enormous crop of Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples. The mail-in rebate program was started as one way to move the abundant inventory. Since then, the commission has worked with retailers across the country to coordinate mail-in rebate programs. Usually, the program is available when Washington apples are plentiful, but occasionally the commission will individualize programs for specific retailers, he said.
The Kroger promotion was unusual since Kroger devoted a half-page newspaper ad to Washington apples, Doherty said. Usually, the ads are more generic, or are included with a supermarket circular.
"Bag a bargain, save a buck!" read the Kroger ad. "Crisp, sweet Washington Red Delicious apples are cheaper by the bag."
The offer was only good at Kroger's metro Atlanta stores for Red Delicious apples, according to the ad.
Kroger officials at the chain's headquarters in Cincinnati referred calls to the Atlanta division, but executives at the division were not available for comment.
Doherty said the commission is considering another mail-in rebate offer for August, if supplies prove to be as plentiful as the industry is currently projecting.