Plenty of other bloggers also have alliances with food retailers. Take Lauren Greutman, who writes about Price Chopper and other retailers on her blog www.iamthatlady.com. She uses the blog to announce hot deals, and how coupon match-ups can translate into free items. A recent post, for example, notified shoppers about a Price Chopper in-store discount of Pillsbury dinner rolls at $1 each. By using a Hannaford clip-out coupon (Price Chopper accepts competitor coupons) for $3 off 3 Pillsbury rolls, the rolls were free. Another way to get free items is by shopping stores that double and triple coupons. She wrote about a Price Chopper in-store discount for Barilla pasta at $1 per box. By using a 55-cent manufacturer coupon, which Price Chopper doubled, the pasta was free.
Such deals quickly put Greutman on Price Chopper’s radar. The retailer soon contacted her about a promotional partnership involving writing for the Price Chopper blog and one of its consumer publications.
Greutman has also hosted giveaways for Tops Friendly Markets and Wegmans Food Markets.
Mother to three children under 6, Greutman has been blogging since she started using coupons in 2007, when she was working full time but wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for her young son.
To compensate for the loss of her salary, she needed to cut her grocery bill from $1,000 to $200 a month. She did so by couponing.
Today, Greutman uses coupons to save 50% to 70% on her grocery bill at Price Chopper. She spends just $400 a month on food for a family of five.
While she also blogs about how to save money at Rite Aid, Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Target, her posts about supermarkets are the most popular.
“People love finding deals at the supermarket,” she noted.
It makes sense that retailers want to align themselves with her, Greutman said. Retailers see the value in blogging because she helps drive traffic to the store. Even though her followers get many items at a discount and even for free, plenty will buy other merchandise as well.
“It’s good for business,” she said.
Greutman is one of 25 mom, coupon, food and other bloggers who work with Price Chopper. Others include the authors of cutestkidever.org and theangelforever.com. The chain keeps a database of nearly 100 other bloggers.
While partnerships don’t involve pay, Price Chopper rewards bloggers in other ways. They are invited to in-store events and to write guest blogs.
Bloggers are so influential that Price Chopper has launched promotional events just for them. Last November, it invited several dozen bloggers to its main office in Schenectady, N.Y., for a Holiday Entertaining Showcase, where they sampled deli platters, seafood, meats and desserts.
Bloggers were asked to Tweet about the event, using the hashtag #pcholidaycheer. Their Tweets provided strong exposure, generating over 600,000 impressions reaching over 43,400 followers in 24 hours.
“It was our way of giving bloggers information to share,” said Heidi Reale, Price Chopper’s director of marketing and consumer insights. “Our goal is to help them be a resource to their followers.”
The chain has invited bloggers to attend an event at an area hotel on March 15. Bloggers will be taught how to prepare seafood. The topic was chosen based on Price Chopper research showing many customers don’t know how to prepare fish.
“We want to hold events that are meaningful to people,” said Reale.
It’s also planning a barbecue event in the spring or summer. Again, bloggers will be there.
ShopRite, Keasbey, N.J., is another blogger-friendly retailer. About a dozen food and mom bloggers are part of Potluck, ShopRite’s online blog. Located at blog.shoprite.com, Potluck includes recipes, reviews and cooking demonstrations — all featuring store-brand products.
Bloggers are invited to attend exclusive events, such as the ShopRite-sponsored Grand Tasting at the New York City Wine and Food Festival, the ShopRite LPGA Classic, new store openings, and community events hosted by ShopRite.
ShopRite doesn’t pay the bloggers, but sends them free items to sample each month. It uses a blogger in each of its six trading areas: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Delaware.