DENVER (November 29, 2011)—For the eighth year running, Progressive Grocer magazine, a nationally acclaimed grocery and supermarket trade publication, has recognized the United States Potato Board’s (USPB’s) Retail Marketing Program with a 2011 “Category Captain,” award in the Fixed/Variable Produce group.
Now in its 15th year, Progressive Grocer’s annual Category Captains awards honor the most innovative suppliers in the world of category management. This year's distinguished list included 71 Category Captains who represented fresh perimeter categories, packaged foods & beverages, frozen foods, nonfoods and general merchandise. The competition honors outstanding category management initiatives implemented in the retail grocery market over roughly the past 12 months.
WINNING AWARDS WITH OUR THREE-PRONGED APPROACH
In the United States, over half of the potatoes grown and harvested for fresh consumption are sold through the retail channel. The USPB has been working directly with food retailers for over a decade to build their potato category through our focus on three key areas: information, education and collaboration.
Information: The Foundation of All USPB Retail Programs
The USPB conducts ongoing consumer and shopper research to better understand how potatoes are perceived, purchased and consumed. In 2010, the USPB fielded major consumer studies which yielded new important insights into potato usage and barriers. During 2011, the USPB conducted a landmark potato shopper study to understand the key influencers before and during the shopping trip, and how to unlock increased purchases of fresh potatoes.
Additionally, the USPB and their retail support agency, Perishables Group, have assessed and catalogued the best practices for marketing fresh potatoes. Added to our storehouse of consumer and shopper insights, these form the core of the information powering the USPB’s Retail Programs.
The USPB also investigates potential new best practices through its Test & Learn program activity. Every year, these pilot programs recruit major food retailers to become partners with the USPB in proactively implementing promising marketing practices and measuring the impact they deliver to the fresh potato category.
Education: Putting Information into Action
The USPB’s Retail Programs put information into action, sharing our insights and best practices with the retail trade. This is accomplished most directly through the USPB’s Retail Outreach program, where face-to-face meetings are scheduled every year with key regional and national food retailers. We have met with over 70 different retail chains during recent years to share information as well as conducted detailed business reviews, identifying opportunities and recommending actions to capitalize on them.
The USPB also publishes a bi-monthly newsletter to ensure communicating our business-building information to an even broader retail audience. Each issue of the State of the Potato Category is circulated to over 1,300 US produce executives to keep them up-to-date on emerging trends, as well as to share new insights and best practices in fresh potato marketing.
Collaboration: Bringing Everything Together
The third and final area of the USPB’s Retail Programs is working directly with food retailers to leverage the USPB’s insights and best practices through collaborative programs. The Best Practice Partner program invites selected retailers to identify a single area of their marketing mix which will deliver the largest gains in category profits. The USPB then works collaboratively with these chains and their suppliers over a nine-month period to implement the relevant best practices and closely monitor the positive impact on potato sales and profitability.
In recent months, market leaders including Walmart, Safeway and Supervalu have taken advantage of Best Practice Partner programs for building their potato category profits. Participating retailers outperformed their competitive markets by 2.6 percent to 11.7 percent during the most recent fiscal year, as reported by the Perishable Group from their FreshFacts® powered by Nielsen retail sales database.
For more information on the USPB Retail Marketing Program, please contact USPB Retail Marketing Consultant Don Ladhoff at email@example.com. To see the complete USPB Domestic Marketing Retail Marketing Long Range Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016, please visit http://www.uspotatoes.com/downloads/Table-Stock%20Potatoes-Retail_NEW.pdf.
For more information on the USPB as the nation’s potato marketing organization, positioned as the “catalyst for positive change,” and the central organizing force in implementing programs that will increase demand for potatoes, please visit www.uspotatoes.com.