ARCADIA, Calif. -- Vons Cos. here upgraded its holiday meal menu with all fresh components at its 32 Pavilion stores, and spread the word with aggressive marketing.
The promotional campaign included radio spots, direct mail, ads, point-of-sale signs and handouts. It underscored the upgrade by pointing out that all components were fresh and never frozen.
The menu feature at the Pavilion stores was a new boneless Boar's Head turkey breast dinner for $79.95, a retail that was $10 higher than last season's featured bone-in turkey dinner. A bone-in dinner this year was also offered for $69.95.
In the wake of the ad campaign, a spokesman for Vons Cos. declined to give any sales information or details about the dinners.
His only comment was, "We are expanding holiday meal choices at the Pavilion stores."
A store-level source at a Los Angeles Pavilion unit said the premium turkey breast dinners at $79.95 sold well enough at Thanksgiving to justify offering them again at Christmas.
"We sold a couple hundred of them here and we probably made more money on them than on the others," he said.
Metal-framed pedestal signs at the front of each Pavilion store and in each deli showed off the dinners with full-color photos of the turkey breast on a serving platter and side dishes and rolls in serving bowls. The featured dinner included a 5-pound (average) Boar's Head turkey breast, 3.5 pounds of harvest stuffing, 3.5 pounds of mashed potatoes, 3 pounds of yam cobbler, 2 pounds of turkey gravy, 1 pound of cranberry-orange sauce, a dozen rosemary rolls and one pumpkin or apple pie.
Handouts at checkout and in the deli invited consumers to "Spend the day feeling the warmth of your family rather than the heat of the oven.
"There are a lot of good reasons to rise early on Thanksgiving. But cooking a turkey isn't one of them. Not when we're making a delicious roast turkey dinner using only fresh ingredients," the handouts read.
Using fresh components for holiday dinners appears to be an extension of Vons' chilled-meals program, which offers fresh entrees with sides prepacked in heat-sealed ready-to-heat containers supplied by a local manufacturer.
A store-level source at a Pavilion in Los Angeles said the family-size packs of fresh side dishes in the holiday dinners are sourced from the same manufacturer. In previous years, the sides have been sourced frozen.
In addition to the boneless and bone-in turkey dinners, a prime rib dinner, a fresh ham dinner and a fresh lamb dinner, all selling for $79.95, were offered this holiday season. All components for those were fresh and never frozen, a store-level source said.