ATLANTA -- Countering a price comparison here by Winn-Dixie, Cub Foods compared its prices on selected baked and salty snacks with those at Winn-Dixie, Kroger and Publix in a newspaper ad last month.
In the bottom half of the full-page ad, Cub Foods listed its Value Plus membership prices on the items, showing them as lower than Winn-Dixie's discounted prices and Kroger's and Publix's regular prices. Value Plus is Cub's frequent shopper program.
Featured products were Entenmann's cinnamon doughnuts, banana crunch cake, Louisiana crunch cake, cherry cheese coffee cake and fat-free chocolate cup cakes; Frito-Lay potato chips, Doritos nacho-cheese and Tostitos tortilla chips; and Little Debbie oatmeal pie, peanut butter bars and banana nut muffins. Prices of several magazines also were compared.
The ad said, "Cub Foods saves you more . . . than Kroger, Publix and Winn-Dixie. With our Value Plus discounts, everyday assured minimum pricing, TPRs and weekly features, no one in Atlanta saves you more on your total food bill." The Cub Foods Value Plus savings appeared next to the total bill for Kroger, Publix and Winn-Dixie. Atop the ad was the banner, "Georgia's Low Price Leader. Cub Foods." Other product specials also were featured.
Cub Foods' ad appeared Aug. 17, one to two weeks after a Winn-Dixie price-comparison ad that included Cub Foods, said Tim Henning, director of sales for Cub Foods' Georgia division, based in Lithia Springs, Ga.
off prepriced potato chips. We just wanted to let [consumers] know that we actually discount the potato chips more with our Value Plus membership," Henning said.
Though its ad focused on snacks, Cub Foods isn't trying to emphasize that category, he noted. "Those were primarily the items [Winn-Dixie] compared to us: the chips and snacks [from] Hostess, Entenmann's and Little Debbie. We just picked the same items to let the customer know that Winn-Dixie's price comparison was erroneous. They said we didn't sell the items at a discount when, in fact, we discount them more than Winn-Dixie does."
Gerald Steele, marketing director for Winn-Dixie's Atlanta division, said Winn-Dixie ran a price-comparison ad in that time period, but he couldn't recall details.
Cub Foods supported its ad in stores with "everyday-low-price" shelf tags, Henning said. More than 80% of the chain's Atlanta-area customers are Value Plus members, he said.
Winn-Dixie, based in Jacksonville, Fla., has been active in price-comparison advertising in other markets besides Atlanta, where it has 96 stores vs. Cub Foods' 13. Supermarket competition in Atlanta has heightened since Publix entered the market and A&P took over Big Star stores, according to local observers.
According to Pat Thompson, director of public relations for Cub Foods Georgia, Winn-Dixie compared grocery prices with Kroger and Publix -- but not with Cub Foods -- in a TV commercial in Atlanta. Cub Foods has done price comparisons only in print ads, she said.
"Generally, we do it in a responding mode," Thompson said. "We hardly ever don't respond when someone else runs one."
"Winn-Dixie runs price comparisons quite a bit," Henning said. "We haven't so much in the past year, but we have in years past."
Cub Foods runs a price-comparison ad about once a quarter, he said. "I wasn't scheduled for one as soon as I did. I kind of moved one up in the ad schedule. I'll probably run another one in the next four to six weeks. We run them on a regular basis because of all the new store activity in Atlanta.
"It's part of our ongoing campaign to reinforce the Cub Foods 'Low Price Leader' reputation that we have," Henning added, noting that Winn-Dixie also uses a "Low Price Leader" slogan.
"Winn-Dixie has used [Low Price Leader] ever since it adopted an everyday-low-price point," Winn-Dixie's Steele said. Cub Foods, a Stillwater, Minn.-based chain of Supervalu, employs a price-impact strategy.