MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Michigan Apple Committee has selected Plumb’s Value-Rite Foods here as the winner of its locally grown display contest.
Judging criteria included creativity, the incorporation of partner products, the use of Michigan Apple Committee signage, and the display’s ability to engage customers. Plumb’s creative use of signage, including a hand-painted poster of the Pure Michigan Apples campaign, stood out for the judges.
“Customers look for that locally grown signage,” Denise Donohue, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, explained in a press release. “They care about where their food is grown and Plumb’s did a great job showcasing this in their display.”
Second place went to D&W’s Knapp’s Crossing of Grand Rapids, Mich. Plumb’s #676 of North Muskegon placed third.
The Michigan Apple Committee has stepped up its regional marketing efforts recently. Last year, Michigan Apples became the first food commodity to secure a partnership with “Pure Michigan,” the tourism arm of the state’s Economic Development Corporation.
The committee utilized the partnership in October 2011 with ads in both the Chicago and Metro Detroit markets. “Apple buying-consumers in Chicago were very aware of Michigan not only because they live nearby, but the state’s creative, Tim Allen-narrated media campaign kept it top-of-mind for them,” Donohue said. “And while apples are not a travel destination — except in the fall — in the consumers’ minds the apples represented what was good about Michigan.”
The committee also conducted focus groups and collected store-level data to refine its promotional approach and help retailers target apple buyers. In suburban Chicago, chefs conducted in-store demos, while a chef-led cooking event for bloggers, nutritionists and journalists was held downtown.
In Detroit, activities included events at the “MI” Apple Trail, and a giant apple art competition as a cross promotion with farmers markets. The committee is currently evaluating the results of the campaign, but is planning to continue its Pure Michigan Apples push this year.