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Idaho Potato Commish Reveals Retail Display Winners

Grocery retailers nationwide set out their sharpest spud displays for the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) 2015 retail competition, which was extended from four weeks to eight weeks for the first time so that ample shipments of Idaho potatoes would be available.

“This was our 24th year running this contest, and it was our most successful year ever with 5,146 entries from supermarket chains and independent retailers,” said Jamie Bowen, marketing manager for the Eagle, Idaho-based IPC. “Most of the displays sell out during the contest, so those extra weeks from mid-January through mid-March ensured there were enough Idaho potatoes for everyone throughout the competition period. And of course the shoppers love that too!”

For the third year in a row, Hormel Real Bacon Bits teamed up with IPC, doubling the promotional punch for retailers competing for more than $150,000 in cash and prizes.

“It’s a great partnership because the convenience aspect of both products is huge,” said Corrine Hjelmen, brand manager, bacon toppings, Hormel Foods Corp. “It’s also a successful partnership between the center of the store and the perimeter. Bacon continues to grow [in popularity] with consumers, and this highlights the different variety of things that [shoppers] can do with both products.”

A first-place finish for stores with 10+ registers was in the cards for Marsh Supermarket in Brownsburg, Ind., which won with its gambling-themed display featuring top hat-topped Spuddy Buddy dealers relaxing against a backdrop of slot machines.

Meanwhile, Heath, Ohio-based Carnival Foods took on the world and took home the highest award for stores with six to nine registers. The store’s display highlighted the Idaho potato’s global reputation for quality with a map of the world surrounded by postcards of famous sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Great Sphinx of Egypt, framed by tall stacks of bagged Idaho potatoes.

Among stores with one to five registers, Ray’s Shursave in Old Forge, Pa., was the winning entry with a giant poster of a Spuddy Buddy-driven tractor and spud-filled wagon “Pulling the savings for Potato Lovers,” festooned with yellow IPC balloons.

“We love to see all the new concepts that our retailers come up with for the displays every year,” added Bowen. “We also love the fact that their creativity is rewarded by the big jump in Idaho potato sales every year during the contest.”

Within each store category, entrants competed for these prizes:

1st place – $1,500

2nd place – $1,000

3rd place – $750

4th place – $500

5th place – $250

In addition, the Category Manager Match Program awarded equivalent cash prizes to category managers at stores that qualified for first- through fifth-place prizes. The IPC also awarded 100 Honorable Mention Prizes of $100 to displays chosen from the remaining entries, and everyone who entered received a free Cuisinart Advantage cutlery set of precision-tapered, high-carbon stainless steel blades, complete with a solid wood knife block.

In their own IPC contest, military commissaries competed in two categories by store size for the top category prize of a trophy and a trip to the Produce Marketing Association’s 2015 annual convention in Atlanta. Second-place winners in each category earned $500 in customer gift certificates/gift cards and a plaque, and third-place winners received $250 in customer gift certificates/gift cards and a plaque. Plus, each military commissary entrant was awarded a Spuddy Buddy golf club cover.

1st Place IPC Retail Display Winners

1-5 cash registers

Robert Skutack

Ray’s Shursave

Old Forge, Pa.

6-9 cash registers

Tim Ryan

Carnival Foods

Heath, Ohio

10+ cash registers

Scott Sharer

Marsh Supermarket

Brownsburg, Ind.

1st place Military Display Winners

Category 1: K-1, K-2

Maribel Cruz

North Island Commissary

San Diego, Calif.

Category 2: K-3, K-4, K-5

Raul Ganancial

Pearl Harbor Commissary

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

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