ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here, along with three other retailers, is participating in an ecological sweepstakes tied to the purchase of organic groceries from Seeds of Change.
The Sante Fe, N.M.-based manufacturer gave retailers a special deal on its whole line of groceries for the month of April in connection with the sweepstakes, according to Dave Schams, national sales director. Items include pasta sauce, salsa, rice and beans, boxed soup mixes and some unique grain blends such as quinoa pilafs.
Wegmans created large endcap displays for the items on promotion, according to Schams. Point-of-sale material provided by the manufacturer promoted Earth Day (April 22) awareness and the importance of growing food organically.
Three other participating retailers are Rainbow Foods, Hopkins, Minn.; Cub Foods, Stillwater, Minn.; and Earth Fair, Asheville, N.C.
Earth Fair, a natural-food supermarket, advertised the products and sweepstakes in its circular, Schams said, and also featured organic seeds available from the company.
John Swann, purchasing director for Earth Fair, said the stores had 15 stockkeeping units of grocery items on special from Seeds of Change in last month's deal. He estimated that he took at least 100 cases.
The seeds are sold in a rack in the produce section, near the entrance, Swann said, noting that he had heard "a lot of positive feedback" from customers about the prizes. "The sweepstakes boxes are stuffed full," he said.
While most of the manufacturer's seed business is done with natural-food stores, Wegmans is testing the seed line this year using small racks, Schams said. There are 350 vegetable seed varieties in Seeds of Change's retail catalog. Wegmans' consumer affairs director, Jo Natale, declined to comment on the promotion.
For its Earthwatch Sweepstakes, Seeds of Change partnered with the Earthwatch Institute, an international organization based in Watertown, Mass., as well as Continental Airlines, High Sierra sportswear and Bushnell. A shelf-talker placed near Seeds of Change products holds entry forms. No purchase is required to enter the sweepstakes. The grand prize is a trip to an Earthwatch project site.
Seeds of Change is one of the manufacturers that has pledged to join with the Organic Alliance, St. Paul, Minn., in its big push to promote organically grown products during September, Organic Harvest Month.
Schams told SN that the sweepstakes is giving his company an opportunity to evaluate retailers on how well they can execute future promotions, including Organic Harvest Month.