HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The National Frozen Food Association here saluted the winners of the Golden Penguin Awards competition -- who helped generate a 3.9% increase in sales over last year during this year's National Frozen Food Month promotion.
Winners of Golden and Silver Penguins were announced by NFFA on June 10th. Awards will be given out in October, at NFFA's annual convention.
Nevin Montgomery, president of NFFA, said, "We are happy with the results [of NFFM]. We've have increased sales for the 15th consecutive year, and that's an impressive track record."
Statistics from Information Resources, Chicago, showed that frozen food sales for the month of March were $1.8 billion, for the 4-week period ended March 29, 1998. Sales were tracked in 27 frozen food categories. While sales were up, volume was down .9% from the previous year.
Nevertheless, according to recent data compiled by IRI, NFFM has been an ongoing success, with 1998 marking the fifth consecutive year that frozen food department dollar sales in March outpaced sales for the rest of the store.
Montgomery of NFFA noted that despite broker consolidations and changes in personnel, retailers, brokers and vendors managed to get behind "the largest promotion in the food industry" and create another successful year.
Retail winners in the Golden Penguin category were:
ABCO Foods, 456, Tuscon, Ariz., for Best Retail Single Display Effort, with Co-Sales Co., Phoenix, Ariz.;
Harris Teeter 202, Concord, N.C., with Acosta Sales, Charlotte, N.C., and Winn-Dixie 191, Jacksonville, Fla., with Marketing Specialists Sales Co., Jacksonville, Fla., for Best Retail Total Display Effort;
Harris Teeter, Matthews, N.C., for best overall effort of a retail chain with more than 50 stores;
Big Y Foods, Inc., Springfield, Mass., for best overall effort of a retail chain with 10-50 stores;
Biggs, Inc., Milford, Ohio, for best overall effort of a retail chain with 10 or fewer stores;
Big V, ShopRite, Florida, N.Y., and Certified Grocers of Northern California, Pleasanton, Calif., for best overall effort of a retail cooperative;
Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City, Okla., for best retail corporate wholesaler; and
SuperValu, Xenia, Ohio, for best retail wholesaler division.
About 51 local frozen food associations participated in the promotion this year, with about 35 organizations becoming actively involved, Montgomery said.
Three association Golden Penguin Winners were the Arizona Frozen Food Council, Phoenix, Ariz. (1-25 members); Central Florida Frozen Food Association, Land O'Lakes (26-75 members); North Florida Frozen Foods Association, Jacksonville (26-75 members), and Frozen Food Council of Northern Calif., Inc., San Ramon, Calif. (over 75 members).
Following are profiles of a few of the Golden Penguin Winners.
Big V, ShopRite
Big V kicked off NFFM with a three-day weekend promotion, which featured a disc jockey playing a full range of music and customers dancing the Macarena in the aisles.
The DJ was in the stores for a three-hour period, usually on Saturday, but demonstrations of frozen food were hosted all weekend by guys and gals in tuxedos.
According to Mark Capicotto, director of dairy and frozen food for Big V, this year's special event was extended to 12 out of 32 stores, although all members participated in NFFM to some degree.
Big V hosted a chainwide coloring contest for children in three age groups, and gave away $7,400 in gift certificates for local toy stores. A chainwide decorating contest was also conducted, which awarded $750, $500 and $300 prizes.
Capicotto said that 30-40 frozen food items per week are normally promoted, and that continued through March, with an addition 30 items promoted the second week of the month.
"We saw a 2 1/2% increase, said Capicotto, "And that's the third year in a row we experienced that. We've been heavily participating in NFFM for four years."
Winn-Dixie #191 and
(Best Retail Total Display Effort)
Winn-Dixie used a meal solutions theme throughout the store, comparing the convenience of the grocery store with the fast food restaurant.
"The [signage] showed that it was easier to eat home than to go out," explained Gary Regina, dairy/frozen food category manager for Winn-Dixie's Jacksonville division.
Throughout the frozen food department were pictures that brought this theme home: for example, over the French fries was a picture of a long line at a fast food restaurant, Regina explained.
The pictures hung either from the ceiling, above the bunkers that run down the length of the frozen food aisle, or on the upright doors flanking either side of the aisle.
Regina said the store has a high ceiling, and since the signage was huge, it created a dramatic effect.
Promotional events ran in all 100 stores in the division, and included a coupon book and in-store demos. Twenty stores in the division were targeted for special events; for example, one store treated customers to a display of snow in the parking lot.
ABCO Foods #456 and
(Best Retail Single Display Effort)
ABCO Foods and Co-Sales teamed up to create a meal solutions display that changed weekly.
A schoolroom made of foam board was set up on an endcap. The facsimile of a brick schoolhouse featured a blackboard announcing this year's theme, "Devoted to Quality," and a meal solution. A penguin with a pointer called customers' attention to the weekly meal.
"We also had penguins in aisle and on the doors of the freezer cases and blue and white streamers down the aisle, along with balloons," explained Donna Noxon, retail sales representative for Co-Sales.
ABCO Foods is a subsidiary of Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City.
Frozen Food Council of
(Retail Frozen Food Organiz-
ation with more than 75 members)
The Council used a variety of vehicles to promote NFFM, including newspaper, radio, Internet, television and bus boards.
One of the new features of the annual promotional effort, explained Jay Prisco, the Council's director, was a second web site launched this year, which made available cyber coupons, either from the Council or manufacturers with links to the web site.
Customers had to register for the coupon, which would then be e-mailed to them.
A "Show Me the Fork" tour, featuring Peter Penguin, took place between March 1 and June 1. Peter gave T-shirts away and did demos and radio remotes.
"We had two costumes working full time during the Month of March," Prisco said. "Our penguin escorts put over 4,000 miles on their cars."
The Council had 25 brands involved in March promotions and provided stores with point-of-sale material, balloons, coupons and penguin appearances.