MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Piggly Wiggly Corp. here is using the supermarket as a venue to teach kids about food preparation and healthy eating.
The chain teamed up with Southern Living magazine this summer to create an interactive marketing program called "Kids & the Basics." Kids were taught basic cooking skills, tips about nutrition and food safety at stores in 20 markets in the South in July and August.
In addition, a recipe contest connected with the program, called "I Can Do It Myself," is being run throughout the Piggly Wiggly chain. Kids' recipes will be judged this winter, with 10 finalists traveling to Birmingham, Ala., where Southern Living is located, for a cook-off in February. Grand prizes in two age categories are a $2,500 savings bond and $500 worth of groceries.
This summer's live presentations, titled "Mr. Pig's Wild & Wacky Food Pyramid Adventure," featured Mr. Pig and host Nancy Nutrition in an interactive multimedia show for children aged five to 10. Sixty shows were held in the parking lots of 20 stores, according to Lori Guyton, spokeswoman for the chain.
Each child who attended the show received a free nutrition video, a 32-page guide with recipes and games for kids and a gift bag filled with product samples, such as a Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats bar and a single-serve package of Smart Start cereal.
"It's long been a priority for Piggly Wiggly retailers to get involved in their communities. [This program] offers added value to our customers by providing their children, our future shoppers, with a family-focused event where they can learn more about healthy cooking and eating," said Debbie Underwood, director of marketing for Piggly Wiggly.
This was the first program of its kind to be run in the Piggly Wiggly chain, explained Guyton. All 700 stores participated on the level of putting up a recipe board and point-of-sale material in-store, which included entry blanks for the contest.
Guyton said the program was a success, especially in smaller markets, where local promotion of the event was bigger and generated more interest and more participants.
Corporate sponsors included Ore Ida, Jimmy Dean, Kellogg, Bryan and Dove. In addition to recipes, the children's guide offered two coupons for $1 and $1.50 off Piggly Wiggly orange juice with the purchase of Kellogg's breakfast products (cereal bars, toaster pastries, marshmallow squares and cereal). The gift bag contained additional coupons for Ore Ida frozen potatoes, Jimmy Dean frozen breakfast and packaged lunch items and Rudy's Farm frozen breakfast items.
To advertise the Piggly Wiggly event, Southern Living ran a special Kids & the Basics insert in its August issue. The cover page of the insert included a logo visually expressing the Southern Living-Piggly Wiggly partnership. The insert provided kids' recipes, as well as ads and information about the in-store show and recipe contest.