Potato Passion Inspires Record-breaking Display Contest

Supermarket chains and independent retailers alike submitted more than 4,000 entries in the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) 2013 retail display contest, making it the highest total ever in the competition’s 22 years and more than double the average number of entries over the past eight years.

"We welcomed several major new retailers who participated in the contest for the first time this year, giving them a chance to show off the phenomenal creativity of their produce managers," said Seth Pemsler, VP, retail/international, IPC. "In addition, this year’s high-quality crop of Idaho potatoes was widely available to retail markets. We also tapped into the consumer craze for all things bacon by adding Hormel Real Bacon Bits as a cross-merchandising partner in the displays."
Potato passion was the theme of more than one winning display in the 2013 contest, which ran during the month of February. The commission awarded more than $150,000 in cash and prizes, including a Swiss Army backpack with padded computer pockets for everyone who entered.
Marsh Supermarket on West 86th Street in Indianapolis took top honors among stores with six to nine cash registers for its “Fall in Love with Idaho Potatoes” display, complete with a floor-to-ceiling castle guarded by inflatable Mylar Spuddy Buddies.
Kirkpatrick's Foodland in South Pittsburg, Tenn., captured first place in the one to five registers category for its display proclaiming that America’s new “Idol” is Idaho potatoes.
Sweetbay Supermarket in Wesley Chapel, Fla., the first-place winner for stores with 10+ registers, paid homage to consumers’ love affair with the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck’s cross-country tour last summer by re-creating the super spud-mobile for its display.
“Customer-pleasing displays like these do more than drive Idaho potato sales,” noted Jamie Bowen, retail marketing manager. “Many produce managers tell us that the displays help boost sales for their entire produce department during what can be a slow month. And retailers have a chance to win substantial cash prizes, including a matching cash prize for the store’s category manager.”
Within each store category, entrants were eligible to win the following prizes:
  • 1st place -- $1,500
  • 2nd place -- $1,000
  • 3rd place -- $750
  • 4th place -- $500
  • 5th place -- $250
The IPC also awarded 100 honorable mention prizes of $100 to displays chosen from the remaining entries.
The military contest was broken down into two categories (k1, k2 and k3, k4, k5), and military commissaries competed in their own IPC display contest for the top prize of a trophy and a trip to the Produce Marketing Association’s 2013 annual convention in New Orleans. Second-place winners for each category were awarded $500 in customer gift certificates/gift cards and a plaque, while third-place winners received $250 in customer gift certificates/gift cards and a plaque.
Photographs of the winning displays and a complete list of winners is availabe online.
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