SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Price Chopper Supermarkets' new Price Chopper/Newman's Own-brand cereal will be a permanent store offering, and may be extended into additional flavors.
“We plan to offer this on an everyday basis,” Regina Tator, Price Chopper's director of corporate brands, told SN.
Officially launched Jan. 7, the cereal comes in two flavors: cranberry macadamia nut and blueberry pecan cluster. Both are all-natural and trans fat-free, and sell for $3.49 each for a 15-ounce box, or $2.99 on promotion.
The cereal is already a hit with customers, said Tator, noting that nearly 600 cases were sold during the first week it was introduced.
“That's very good, considering it's a brand-new item that no one has tried before,” she said.
What's unique about the cereal is that 100% of the profits are donated to charity. Proceeds will be split between Price Chopper and the Newman's Own Foundation, a charitable organization.
Price Chopper will give equal portions of its proceeds to the Double “H” Hole in the Woods Ranch in Lake Luzerne, N.Y., and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Conn.
The cereal marks Westport, Conn.-based Newman's Own's foray into supermarket co-branding, according to Mark Tilley, Newman's director of sales. The company does, however, market a co-branded grape juice with Costco.
While Newman's Own doesn't plan to launch additional categories with Price Chopper, other cereal flavors are a possibility, according to Tilley.
The marketing strategy has definite advantages, he said.
“It gives us brand exposure in categories we normally would have a hard time competing in,” Tilley told SN.
Still, Tilley doesn't foresee Newman's Own getting involved in many other retail partnerships. The reason for this is that it has strict criteria requiring partnering companies to donate all their profits to charity.
One of the reasons Newman's aligned itself with Price Chopper is that the manufacturer and retailer have common charitable efforts. Neil Golub, Price Chopper's president and chief executive officer, is involved with Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, which actor Paul Newman founded. Newman is head of Newman's Own. Hole in the Wall is a free residential summer camp for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
The back of the cereal boxes explain what the camps are and what they do. On Jan. 13, several campers and their families were present at a Clifton Park, N.Y., Price Chopper for a promotional event that featured samples of the cereal and a raffle for a framed poster of Newman.
The co-branded cereals could be a hit because of the link to charity, and Newman's Own's strong brand image, said Frank Dell, president of Dellmart & Co., Stamford, Conn., a management consulting company.
And while one or two additional products could make sense, Dell doesn't recommend a large-scale program.
“You have to be careful not to use co-branding to build brand image,” he said.
The cereal launch comes at a time when Price Chopper is expanding its product assortment in other unique ways. The retailer formed a partnership with Wild Oats Markets to sell the entire line of Wild Oats private-label natural and organic products in its stores.
Price Chopper is also actively expanding its own private labels, which are marketed under the Price Chopper, Central Market Classics and Price Chopper Naturals brands.
Paul Newman donates all profits he receives from the sale of Newman's Own products to charities within the U.S. and abroad with special emphasis on the communities where the products are sold. There are eight Hole in the Wall camps in operation, five in the U.S. and one each in Ireland, the U.K. and France. The Hole in the Wall camps are the world's largest family of camps for children with serious illness and life-threatening conditions.