WEGMANS EXPANDS CLUB PACK PRODUCE
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans Food Markets here has doubled the number of different Club Pack produce items in its stores compared with last year, the company noted in a release last week. The new Club Pack-sized items include salad kits, tomatoes on the vine, Vidalia onions, asparagus, organic berries, peaches, fruit salad, avocados, green beans and more. Convenience vegetables, which are packaged ready to cook or eat raw with minimum prep, are selling well, Joe Hansen, a Wegmans category merchant for produce, said in the release. “Club Pack sizes of the broccoli florets, baby cut carrots, celery sticks and French beans are all popular choices.” Berries, including blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, are the best sellers in the Club Pack size.
APPLE DISPLAY CONTEST ANNOUNCED
VIENNA, Va. — National Apple Month here has announced its annual retail and military commissary display contest, which will award $14,000 in prizes to winning contestants. The 2011 NAM theme, “Host an Apple Pairing Party,” will encourage produce department managers to create displays that showcase apples cross-merchandised with products from Marzetti, Smucker's and Jif during National Apple Month in October. The U.S. Apple Association, which administers the display contest, will offer free point-of-sale materials including professionally designed banners, posters and pairing menus. “Our downloadable menu spotlights apple varieties expertly paired with our sponsors' products and other simple ingredients widely available in grocery stores,” Registered Dietitian Allison Parker, director of consumer health and education for the U.S. Apple Association, explained in a release. “Incorporated into a display, this menu can really inspire consumers to experiment with U.S. apples, apple products and the featured ingredients. Plus, several of the pairings are conducive to in-store sampling.” To participate, retailers must have a display in place for at least 14 days between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, 2011. Entry materials must be postmarked or emailed by Jan. 15, 2012, and must demonstrate the use of apples, apple products and sponsored products, while indicating sales increases. For additional details, visit USApple.org/national.
CONSUMERS: FOOD TRUCKS HERE TO STAY
CHICAGO — The food truck trend isn't going anywhere, at least according to consumers. Of the four in five consumers that are aware of food trucks, 91% said the trend has staying power, a Technomic report found. “The key for long-term success is getting the non-user to come on board,” Technomic Director Kevin Higar said in a release. Nonusers include the 20% of consumers who are not aware of or have not seen a food truck, and the one-third of people who are aware of food trucks, but haven't bought from them yet. Seventy percent of those nonusers are still wary of purchasing food from a truck, Technomic said, but Higar noted that once consumers are exposed to food trucks, they appear to have very positive impressions of their experiences. Technomic suggests that food trucks are more of a threat to quick-service restaurants than traditional restaurant formats because 54% of Technomic's polled consumers said they would have gone to a quick-service restaurant if they'd not purchased food from the food truck. If there are multiple mobile food vendors parked together, Technomic discovered that 75% of consumers will purchase from two or more of the food trucks at one time due to their specialized menus. Additionally, the majority, 61%, of consumers find out about food trucks by running into them. Eighty-four percent of people who follow the trucks on social media platforms such as Twitter, do so once a week or more.