Grocers are geared up for higher rings in the department.
Sandwiches aren't just an important part of the American diet, they're also essential to it. And lucky for hungry consumers, grocers from around the country are doing their part to help add further excitement to the equation with signature offerings that impart regional and global flavor profiles and better nutrition.
To further position their delis for more robust sandwich sales, several regional retailers are launching new initiatives to capture higher rings and stronger loyalty, including Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis Markets, which recently bowed a signature Market Street line of high-quality sliced deli meats that boast "artisanal quality at an affordable price."
The new Market Street line, which includes nine mainstay items that are free of trans fat, gluten and MSG, is expected to nearly double over the next 12 months to include cheeses, dips and spreads. Current items include oven-roasted turkey, hickory-smoked turkey, oven-roasted chicken breast, Virginia ham, honey ham, Angus roast beef, Angus pastrami, Angus corned beef and Angus Italian beef.
"We considered more than 40 different options before settling on our new Market Street line," says Geoffrey Wexler, Weis Markets' director of deli & prepared foods. "Our goal is to offer meats and cheeses that are carefully made with an unrivaled attention to detail and quality that meets our requirements — and most importantly, the expectations of our customers, who are looking for excellent quality at a sharp price. Market Street does both."
Weis is promoting the new deli line chain-wide in its weekly circular and in-store, with window and stanchion signs, POS materials, in-store audio messages, and sampling.
Beason Creates Latest HT Signature Sub
In a bid to further solidify its stalwart prepared foods lineup, Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter tapped Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason to team up for a new selection in the retailer's Signature Sub Sandwich line. Harris Teeter's Fresh Foods Market offers made-to-order sandwiches daily for shoppers, and Beason's is its first Signature Sub Sandwich of the season.
Selling for $3.99, Beason's sandwich, "The Beast," features grilled chicken breast, bacon, onions, and Provolone cheese with mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, and a dash of salt and pepper on a white sub roll. The always-innovative "HT" — which operates operates locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia — further sweetens the deal with a $4.99 Signature Sub Sandwich lunch pack that features a "half-Heyer" (named for Washington Redskins offensive tackle Stephon Heyer) and a choice of one Chocolate Chunk, Macadamia Nut, Oatmeal Raisin or Cranberry Nut Cookie.
Macey's Loves Loafing With Tillamook
Macey's Orem, Utah, store had customers saying "cheese" in early September, when the Tillamook Cheese Loaf Love Tour touched down at the locally owned grocery store. A mountainous 20-foot-long cheese display, piled high with a wide variety of Tillamook cheese items, served as the centerpiece of event, which was part of the tour that rolled through Salt Lake City last month.
Consisting of a trio of minibuses that were retrofitted from 1966 Standard VW Microbuses to resemble a Baby Loaf of Tillamook cheddar, the Loaf Love Tour gives customers the opportunity to sample the Pacific Northwest-made Medium and Sharp all-natural cheddars. In addition to cheddar samples, Loaf Love Tour attendees received free recipes, coupons and other giveaways.
The tour stop provided "an exciting day for our shoppers," notes store leader John Allen. "We truly pulled out all the stops to create an event where our guests can not only have a great time, but also get some great ideas to take home."
In Progressive Grocer's Executive Roundtable on the Front End Checklane in our September 2010 issue, three quotes were inadvertently attributed to Elaine Shaffer, senior category manager of Los Angeles-based Unified Grocers:
"We have vampire teeth right now. Our issue is space. We have very little option for GM-type products."
"We also have an incentive program where management will recognize associates, and our customers can recognize associates as well."
"We ran a promotion where we actually had warm water at the counter, and people bought it on impulse. That was surprising."
The comments were made by other roundtable participants. PG regrets the error.