EDINA, Minn. - Free in-store magazines are becoming a popular way for retailers to extend their brand and promote their products. Lund Food Holdings here is using its new venture, Real Food, not only to promote its offerings but to reach beyond its store walls to prospective customers.
In addition to its nine Lunds Food Market and 12 Byerly's stores, Lund distributed a few thousand copies of the November launch issue in doctor's offices, spas and luxury car dealerships - places likely to be frequented by consumers who buy wine, imported whole-wheat pasta, Asian marinades and other such upscale products featured in the issue.
"This is a way for us to find, we believe, another 1,000 distribution of this publication," said Greg Mack, director of marketing for Lund.
The magazine replaced the Byerly Bag, which Lund self-published for more than 10 years and was available only in Byerly's stores. The Byerly Bag came out monthly and had a quarterly distribution of 120,000; Real Food, published by Minneapolis-based Greenspring Media, is slated to come out quarterly with a target distribution of 160,000, Mack said. Lund also is talking to Greenspring about selling copies for $3.95 each at magazine stands and bookstores.
"With Lunds & Byerly's, one of their objectives was to do some outreach," said Stacey Cunningham, marketing
director for Greenspring, which helps its retailer clients find distribution outlets. "I think it really is about who their customer is, and who their potential customer is. That's the great thing about public distribution, you have a captive audience."
Other retailers that launched Real Food at the same time - Tony Sendik's Market in Milwaukee; Highland Park Market in Manchester, Conn.; and Bristol Farms in Carson, Calif. - are limiting distribution to their stores, Cunningham said.
Distributing an in-store magazine outside of the supermarket appears to be an unusual move for a retailer. Bill Crawford, director of retail publishing programs for New Hope Natural Media in Boulder, Colo., which publishes such magazines for clients including Wakefern and United Supermarkets in Lubbock, Texas, said he's heard retailers talk about distributing outside the store, but does not know of any that actually do it.
Eddie Owens, marketing director for United, said the subject hasn't come up - yet. "It might be something we look at in the future because we just hired a dietitian and we want her to be interfacing with the medical community," he said.
Real Food is produced jointly by Greenspring and its retailer partners. In the 64-page launch issue, Lund provided eight pages of retailer-branded content.
Included in the eight pages are a new-products showcase; seasonal recipes; a local restaurant review; and food trends. "All of this content is meant to be interesting and exciting but not too daunting," Mack said, "and that certainly resonates with our clientele."