This month marks the 21st annual Potato Lover's Month Retail Display Contest, the IPC's longest-running and most popular promotion.
Erupting volcanoes, helmet-topped potato football teams, and giant Idaho maps made of potatoes are just a few of the winning ideas that retailers have employed to drive February potato sales and earn cash prizes.
This month's contest will offer $150,000 in cash and prizes for the nation's best retail displays featuring Idaho potatoes. Plus, everyone who enters will automatically receive a free portable iPod docking station.
"This is a great way to pep up potato sales during February, which can be a slow month," said Seth Pemsler, vice president, Retail/International, IPC. "Besides the incentive of cash prizes, stores will see increased traffic in the produce department when they put up a creative, crowd-pleasing promotional display. Some of our past winners have reported sales increases of 20 to 50 percent and more!"
Retailers will be competing with other stores their own size, in one of three categories: 1-5 cash registers, 6-9 cash registers or 10-plus cash registers. Entrants within each store category compete for these prizes:
1st place - $1,500
2nd place - $1,000
3rd place - $750
4th place - $500
5th place - $250
Some Honorable Mention prizes of $100 will go to displays selected from the remaining entries.
All entrants in the 2012 Potato Lover's Month Retail Display Contest will receive a free portable iHome iPod docking system.
Retailers just design an attention-grabbing produce department display that includes fresh Idaho potatoes, an Idaho dehydrated potato product, Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blends and Molly McButter, along with special-themed point-of-sale material from the IPC, Mrs. Dash or Molly McButter.
With premium Idaho potatoes and the IPC's distinctive merchandising materials as the base, the sky's the limit for creative potato concepts, as past contest winners can attest.
Sirna's Market Deli in Aurora, Ohio, captured a third place award of $750 among stores with 1-5 cash registers for its 2011 contest entry and saw a dramatic Idaho potato sales boost, said produce manager Bryan Bennington.
"[The display] "Mrs. Dash Loves Her Idahos" was set up like a kitchen, with a giant Mrs. Dash balloon dressed in an apron cooking at the stove," said Bennington. "It took up about 20 percent of our produce space, and it even intruded into our grocery space. And our sales increased by 150 percent!"
Ernest Junak's creative display at Publix Supermarket in Evans, Ga., earned fifth place among stores with 10-plus cash registers. Dean Eide's Idaho potato display at Lammers Food Fest in Menomonie, Wis., won first place among stores with 6-9 cash registers.