RICHMOND, Va. -- Food Lion here decked Center Store with Super Bowl-themed point-of-sale material to promote snack and party foods for game XXXIII.
When SN visited the unit at 7804 Broad St. two weeks before the game, colorful, dramatic posters with a Super Bowl theme tied departments together. In the frozen-food aisle, a huge overhead dangler read: "Food Lion Game Day. Your home field advantage for the perfect tailgate party. Look for party ideas and savings throughout the store." These brands were listed on the sign: Campbell's, Pringles, General Mills, Lipton and Hunt's.
"Our category managers work with vendors to create these displays," said Food Lion spokeswoman Tawn Earnest. Typically, decisions to decorate the stores with sales-oriented material for holidays are made on the corporate level, she said, and implemented in all 1,200 stores.
The frozen-food aisle here also features a "Meal Starters" area to help busy consumers plan and serve nutritious meals at home. This section, resplendent with colorful signage and the Food Lion logo, was launched about eight months ago, according to store officials. The effort is chainwide, since the fall of 1997.
"All retailers are looking for ways to make meals at home more convenient," said Earnest at corporate headquarters in Salisbury, N.C.
"We have all been battling fast-food restaurants, to get that business back," Earnest added.
Two doors have a colorful header at the top that reads "Create a Meal Meal Starters." All the products in the doors can be prepared in 20 minutes or less. The Food Lion logo appears at both top corners of the header, which measures about 6 by 2 feet. A sign with smaller print tells customers about preparation time. The slogan, "Food Lion and Fast," was developed especially for the section.
Bags of 23 varieties of products are displayed in the section, including three Food Lion private-label products: teriyaki stirfry with sauce, lo mein meal starter with noodles and sauce, and Szechuan vegetables with peanuts and sauce. There are six facings of each of the private-label products, which were priced at $1.99 each during SN's visit. The rest of the section was filled with meal starters from Green Giant and Birds Eye, which also require the addition of only meat or chicken to create a dinner.
Across the aisle a "Stouffer's Family Meals Center" takes up one door of the frozens section. Strips of tape edging the door repeat the message, while danglers overhead carry the slogan "Food Lion and Fast." The one-door section contains family-sized Stouffer's meals such as stuffed peppers, lasagna, glazed chicken and green bean casserole.
The Meal Starters section also provides cards with easy meal tips for adding fresh meat to frozen vegetable mixes. In addition, recipes can be found in a meal-solutions center located near the frozens aisle, in front of the meat case.
"These are all attempts to get people back into cooking," Earnest commented. Although she did not provide quantitative data, she said the meal-solutions centers in the frozen aisle were doing well. "We continue to refine it. We are making progress."
In the Food Lion unit here, which is about 45,000 square feet, frozen food takes up the equivalent of three aisles. Upright freezer cases line both sides of an aisle, with coffin cases down the middle. The chief competition is Ukrop's, a mile away, and Hannaford Bros. within 2 miles.