Secondary Displays of Idaho Potatoes Boost Retail Sales

Published online: Oct 03, 2019 Articles Rand Green
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Source: The Produce News

During the past year, the Idaho Potato Commission conducted a research study in partnership with a major retailer to determine the impact of a secondary display on sales. The results showed “a 22 percent increase in category sales when stores have a secondary display,” said Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail for the commission. By sheer coincidence, it is the same percentage increase realized by foodservice distributors participating in IPC foodservice promotions during the past year.

The study suggest that for a retail chain with 100 average-sized stores of average volume and a 50 percent markup, having a secondary display of Idaho potatoes in place for two weeks would generate $400,000 in additional sales, Pemsler said.

The IPC has created a profit calculator retailers can use to project the additional sales they might expect for their own operations, depending on the number, size and volume of their stores and their particular profit margin.

The IPC will continue to do incremental testing with additional retailers on the sales lift realized with secondary displays to determine how consistent the results are across the industry.

The commission will provide bins for the secondary display studies “to select customers who are willing to partner with us on date, so that we can measure results,” Pemsler said.

Finding space for a secondary display can be an issue at retail. For that reason, “we didn’t make [the bins] huge,” Pemsler said. “So they will fit anywhere.”

The IPC’s biggest retail promotion continues to be Potato Lovers Month. It also “continues to be by far the largest display contest in the produce industry,” Pemsler said. Once again there were 5,000 entries this year. “Walmart participates, and this year they—just Walmart—moved 2,375 truckloads” of Idaho potatoes. That is “a mind-boggling number” and is up 9 percent from last year.

For the 2020 Potato Lovers Month contest, which will run Feb. 1 through March 31, the tie-in partners will be Hormel Real Bacon Bits and Fresh Gourmet.

New last year was a fall harvest promotion that ran from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. The commission partnered with Fresh Gourmet, and 1 million coupons for $1 off on a five-pound bag of Idaho potatoes were distributed.

This fall, the harvest promotion will be repeated, but the commission’s partner will be Litehouse Instantly Fresh freeze dried herbs, which was also the tie-in partner for the commission’s March and April 2019 spring promotion.

The commission will be testing other promotion initiatives over the coming year in partnership with Litehouse, including the use of Kwik Lok coupons on five-pound bags of Idaho potatoes at targeted retailers.

The coupons will offer a $1 savings on a five-pound bag of Idaho potatoes with the purchase of any Litehouse refrigerated dressing.

Litehouse is headquartered in Sandpoint in northern Idaho, and the commission plans to play up the Idaho connection, emphasizing that Idaho is the home of premium products, whether Idaho potatoes, Lighthouse herbs or Lighthouse refrigerated dressings.

Among the other IPC retail programs will be “our normal ad allowances,” blogger and social media initiatives, category management, and data-based promotion analysis, Pemsler said. The mix includes new, incremental activities as well as ongoing programs.