CAB Honors Top Retailers

WOOSTER, Ohio - K-VA-T Food Stores, Giant Eagle, Buehler Food Markets, Ukrop's Super Markets, and Ray's Food Place are where the beef is -- the Certified Angus Beef, that is.

The above chains were named outstanding performers by Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) at the company's annual conference in San Antonio recently.

Jim Riemann, CAB president, opened the conference by addressing the special challenges the beef industry has faced this year, including the first reported incidence of BSE on American soil, the subsequent closing of international borders, shortage of cattle qualifying for the brand, and high cattle and beef prices. "We have faced challenges we never dreamed of," said Riemann, noting that the keys to successful beef branding "have held very true and have contributed in major ways to impressive successes for some of our brand partners. It's about product, people, and integrity."

In detailing the success some retail partners enjoyed by using creativity as the market tightened, Riemann pointed to innovative methods that used a greater variety of cuts, inventing new recipes, and taking advantage of the quality of CAB ground beef. He also noted that commitment to brands must take place at all levels -- "executives to storefront employees must be engaged with the possibilities. "

The following retailers were singled out by CAB for distinguishing themselves as leaders in the marketplace:

• CAB 2004 Retail Marketer of the Year -- Abingdon, Va.-based K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., which operates 88 Food City stores in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, was honored for "employing a comprehensive marketing program [that] earned customer loyalty [and] increased sales. Starting with advertising, K-VA-T utilized billboards, television, radio, truck wraps, and customized shelf talkers. Understanding that marketing is more than advertising, the retailer takes an active part in its communities through consumer food shows, women's expos and NASCAR races. Meat department managers supported all these with employee training detailing the qualities of the CAB brand."

• 2004 Retail Advertiser of the Year -- Giant Eagle, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., which operates 216 stores partnering with the CAB brand in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, was honored for using "a far-reaching advertising campaign that incorporates the brand as a mainstay. It draws on the brand in television and radio commercials that delineate the shopping experience consumers have at Giant Eagle stores. This theme is underscored by highlighting the brand in its weekly circular, on its website, and through custom store signage.

• 2004 Retail Value-added Products Marketer of the Year -- Wooster, Ohio-based Buehler Food Markets, Inc., with 11 stores in Northeast Ohio partnering with the brand, was honored for "expanding its customer satisfaction and sales by further developing its CAB brand category. Already relying exclusively on CAB whole cuts, the retailer looked to the brand's value-added products for additional growth. It has taken on 11 of the brand's convenience items. CAB deli meats, franks, frozen burgers and heat-and-serve products complement its fresh offerings. Simple marketing strategies helped drive sales of the new items and ... Sales were added with simple marketing techniques including printed deli bags, sampling, and serving the products at community events."

• 2004 Retail Commitment to Integrity -- Richmond, Va. Ukrop's Super Markets, Inc., with 29 stores partnering with the CAB brand in Virginia, was honored for "exceptional integrity [which] is the real bottom-line entry for all businesses and brands focused on brand integrity. Staff education, proper use of brand materials and signs, and correctly handling consumers' Angus-confusion questions, in both the fresh meat and deli departments, are all indicators that Ukrop's strives to present the CAB brand properly. The end result is satisfied Ukrop's customers."

• Retail Rising Star Award -- Brookings, Ore.-based Ray's Food Place, was given special recognition with a new award. "Occasionally, a new retailer partner's efforts are so extraordinary they rate special recognition. To accomplish this, CAB has created a new award, the Retail Rising Star Award, to be given as warranted. Ray's Food Place earned the inaugural edition of this award with its very successful launch of the CAB brand. The retailer used a three-month campaign that began by training all of the meat managers for its 41 stores. It layered the brand's "mouthwatering" campaign in television and radio commercials, in-store announcements, and direct-mail pieces. A one-day meat sale fueled its customers' desire to try the brand and gained sales momentum.

CAB also bestowed honors to the top 10 retail sales volume awardees, including: Schnuck Markets, Inc., St. Louis; Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.; Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., Quincy, Mass.; Raley's Corp., Sacramento, Calif.; Giant Eagle, Inc., Pittsburgh; Giant Food Stores, LLC, Carlisle, Pa.; K-VA-T, Abingdon, Va.; Shoprite Supermarkets, Edison, N.J.; Quality Food Centers, Bellevue, Wash.; and Giant Food, Inc., Landover, Md.
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