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Sentry Foods Eliminates Loyalty Card

KENOSHA, Wis. -- In response to results from a recent research study revealing that consumers view frequent shopper loyalty cards as inconvenient, Sentry Foods has decided to do away with its loyalty card program, effective today. Ads heralding the change broke yesterday.

Sentry spokeswoman Aija Upite told Progressive Grocer: "The consumer study was proprietary research conducted for Sentry Foods. We did two sets of research. One was an overall study of the markets that have Sentry stores and what consumers wanted, in February 2004. Another survey was done in August of 2004 [and] focused specifically on consumers' feelings about the loyalty card. We did this study using our loyalty card database."

According to the company, the move was taken to make shopping easier for its customers, who no longer have to use the EZ Save frequent shopper card to receive discounts. "Sentry will continue to offer in-store specials and weekly ad items without the card," explained Upite. "[The company] wanted to make saving more convenient for [its] customers and felt that the use of the card was no longer needed. In the research, over 82 percent of consumers said if they could get the savings without the card, that's what they preferred. Over 50 percent said if they forgot their card, they just asked to use the store card. By eliminating the card, all consumers will get the savings, not just the ones that carry an EZ card."

The retailer pledged that it would continue to provide its shoppers "with the best quality and widest variety [of] grocery products."

Some of those offerings include:

--USDA Choice Angus beef

--The leanest heart-healthy ground beef on the market at 96 percent lean

--Sentry Tender and Juicy Pork, a lean product that employs a deep-basting process to ensure juiciness

--The Sentry Signature line of ready-to-cook meats, including marinated chicken breast, homestyle meat loaf, boneless barbeque ribs, and triangle beef roast

--The Sentry Select 5 meat program, which simplifies meal planning

--Bella Delina Gourmet Deli Meat, featured exclusively at Sentry and including pepper-garlic top round, cranberry-glazed turkey breast, and smoked Virginia ham

--Gold'n Plump rotisserie chicken in such varieties as original, lemon pepper, mesquite, and sweet barbeque

--Tastemark apples, sold exclusively at Sentry, which are guaranteed and tested for crispness and sweetness

--An exclusive line of quality Store Brands items at lower prices, including Aloft paper products, Flavorite food items, Homebest general merchandise, and SuperChill soda.

Additionally, the grocer has color-coded its meat case so that all meat labels now correspond to the type of meat. For example, 96 percent lean ground beef has a purple label and Tender and Juicy Pork has a pink label.

Sentry's proprietary study also found that the grocer provided the best-quality meats in Southeastern Wisconsin, the company added.

Upite noted: "We are continuing to make changes in our stores based on what our consumers said they wanted. The additional plans will be announced as we implement them."

Supervalu-owned Sentry is a chain of 39 retail grocery stores located across Wisconsin.
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