March 19, 2013

 IGALink Perspective

Integrated Website/Facebook Campaign Connects Red's IGA with Customers

A message to IGA retailers from...
Patrick Longmire, Jr.
Digital Marketing Coordinator
Red's Hometown Market IGA
Spring Grove, MN

The IGALink digital marketing program offers IGA USA retailers their own digital media platform, including a website, mobile website and shopper marketing features like email newsletters, ad postings, recipes and shopping lists. Today, Patrick Longmire, Jr., the 25-year old son of Red's Hometown Market IGA owner Patrick Longmire, Sr., talks about how he's building his family business by creating a digital connection with shoppers.

My dad has been an IGA retailer since before I was born, so guess it's fair to say that I grew up IGA. Although I currently live in Texas, I know there will come a point in my life when I'll move back home and take over the store. That means keeping our family business relevant is extremely important to me, and I do what I can to stay involved—especially when it comes to our store's digital media program.

I'm a pretty active user of digital and social media on my own, so once we made the decision to jump on board and devote some energy to digital, it was a natural fit for me to start managing the program. The IGALink website already has a lot of great features, so to start off I just began posting our weekly ad. From there, we started thinking of the ways to drive traffic to our site, and that's when our Red's Hometown Market IGA Facebook page came into play.

I've found that creating a Facebook page is like starting a business from the ground up. The biggest obstacle is making sure that people know you're there. The good thing about Facebook is that it's socially driven. If one person likes your page, all of that person's friends then know about it, so your presence builds quickly—especially if you're giving people a reason to like your page.

To get shoppers attention, I use our Facebook page to talk about some fun things, like our weekly Chester's Chicken promotion. Each Tuesday I post a chicken joke, find a funny picture to post along with it and remind shoppers to stop in for a Chester's Chicken lunch. You'd be amazed at the conversations that get started with that one joke. Some weeks I'll have a few responses, but other weeks I'll have 25 or 30. The goal is to keep reminding people that we're there, and it's working. My Dad says people are talking about the Facebook page in the store, and because with every post on Facebook we add a link to the website, a lot of people are coming to the website to find more about our store and our promotions.

The way I see it you need to do everything you can to connect with your shoppers in the digital world in the same way you connect with them in the store. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to get the conversation started or to keep it going—the key is to be yourself and your personality come shine through.


Patrick Longmire, Jr.


Retail News

The number of coupons redeemed by Americans fell 17% in 2012 to 2.9 billion coupons, according to NCH Marketing. The 17.1% drop occurs as the total number of paper and digital coupons made available remained at 305 billion. The NCH VP of marketing attributes the decline to a calculated move by manufacturers to correct an "unusually high" redemption rate in 2011, though coupon-industry insiders disagree on whether the drop is an aberration caused by a poor mix of coupon offers in 2012 or whether it signals the beginning of the end of the paper-coupon era, reported The Seattle Times. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Consumers in the U.S. spend 30% of their food, grocery and personal care expense on fresh foods, according to the Nielsen. Although the grocery channel is the leader in fresh foods (accounting for two-thirds of the retail market), fresh is growing in non-grocery channels as retailers respond to consumer demands. Full Story

The proper use of mobile coupons could significantly pump up unplanned grocery spending, according to University of Pittsburgh research published in the Journal of Marketing. About 31% of smartphone users are using mobile technology in the grocery store for things like making lists, finding recipes or researching products, reported Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Full Story

TravelCenters of America bought an additional four locations this year - two of which already opened, noted its CEO. Looking forward, the company will continue to aggressively acquire more travel centers, reported Convenience Store News. Full Story

Americans will celebrate Easter in style and on budget this year, according to National Retail Federation. Keeping cost and their shopping list in mind, the average person celebrating Easter will spend approximately $145.13 on candy, decor, apparel and food, flat with last year's $145.28. Total spending will reach an estimated $17.2 billion. Full Story

New Store News: The Fresh Market will open March 20 in Aiken, SC. The store will cover more than 19,700-sq.-ft. and will be the sixth Fresh Market in South Carolina, reported Aiken Standard. Full Story ... Sprouts Farmers Market will open a new store in Norman, OK March 27, reported Supermarket News. Full Story

Manufacturer News

Coca-Cola will introduce a line of zero-calorie, carbonated, fruit-flavored waters called "Fruitwater" starting April 1, part of Coca-Cola's Glaceau unit. Unlike the zero-calorie version of Vitaminwater, which is made with the natural sweetener stevia, Fruitwater will be sweetened with the artificial sweetener sucralose, best known as Splenda. It will not contain any fruit juice but the bottle notes that the drink is "enhanced with nutrients," a reference to its B vitamins, magnesium and zinc, reported The Associated Press. Full Story

Mojo Organics signed a distribution agreement with Eastern Distributors to distribute Mojo's Chiquita Tropicals line of fruit juices. Eastern Distributors operates as a direct distributor and re-distributor in the northeast U.S., including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England. Full Story

New Product News: McCormick launched Cake Mate cupcake icings in three buttercream flavors and a chocolate flavor. Full Story... Digiorno introduced pizzeria! from Digiorno in four varieties: Quattro Formaggi/Four Cheese, a combination of mozzarella, fontina, parmesan and pecorino romano cheeses; Supreme Speciale a blend of meats and vegetables including Italian sausage, pepperoni, red and green peppers and caramelized onions; Primo Pepperoni, with a combination of pepperoni and premium cheeses; and Italian Meat Trio an antipasto-inspired combination of premium meats including pepperoni, Italian sausage and Genoa salami. Full Story... Powerful Yogurt introduced a Greek yogurt designed for men in six flavors that is currently available at grocery stores across New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Full Story... The Kansas City Steak Company launched a new veal product line with options for veal-based recipes. Full Story... Seattle Sutton's Health Eating is launching a vegetarian meal plan. Full Story

Foodservice News

Starbucks bought a coffee farm in Costa Rica and will turn it into a farming research and development center. The Seattle-based company stated the 593-acre farm is part of its $70 million ethical sourcing program. Starbucks plans to have 100% of its coffee ethically sourced by 2015. Full Story

Buffalo Wild Wings acquired a minority interest in Los Angeles-based PizzaRev, a fast casual pizza chain. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Full Story

Fast casual operators reported positive same-store sales for the 29th consecutive month in January, according to the National Restaurant Association. Some 53% of fast casual operators reported a same-store sales gain between January 2012 and January 2013, while 31% reported a same-store sales decline. Full Story

Executives on the Move: Starbucks appointed Sharon Rothstein global chief marketing officer. Full Story

Restaurant Roundup: Burger King launched the Burger Fest menu, featuring a lineup of 12 items such as sandwiches, beverages and sides. The menu includes Turkey Burgers, Veggie Burgers made with a MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Patty and the Chipotle Whopper Sandwich. Full Story ... Carl's Jr. and Hardee's introduced the Jim Beam Bourbon Burger. Full Story... Red Lobster began testing "Seaside Express" at two Orlando-area restaurants March 18 where diners can order and pay for lunch at the counter. Darden Restaurants, which owns Red Lobster, would not say whether it is testing anything similar at its other chains, which include Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, reported Orlando Sentinel. Full Story

Health News

Drinking low-fat or skim milk does not prevent toddlers from gaining excess weight and is actually associated with overweight and obesity in preschool children, a new study finds. The findings challenge a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association that all children drink low-fat or skimmed milk after age 2 to reduce their saturated fat intake and avoid excess weight gain, reported HealthDay. Full Story

Washington News

Oregon could become the first state in the nation to require the labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients under several bills in the Legislature. State lawmakers are considering at least eight bills on genetically modified food labeling, fish and crops. Several bills would require foods produced with genetically engineered materials to be labeled. Others bills would prohibit importing or cultivating genetically engineered fish, reported OregonLive. Full Story

The EPA wants a judge to dismiss a West Virginia chicken grower's lawsuit over water-pollution orders the agency issued against her then withdrew in December, arguing the case is now moot, according to The Associated Press. But court filings show an Eight is Enough farm operator plans to join the West Virginia and American Farm Bureaus in trying to keep the case alive. They contend the underlying issues still need to be heard in court because they could potentially affect poultry growers nationwide, requiring them to seek discharge permits under the Clean Water Act that they do not all currently need. Full Story

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned food truck donations to homeless shelters because the city can't assess their salt, fat and fiber content. The ban on food donations was made by an inter-agency task force that includes the departments of Health and Homeless Services, reported CBS. Full Story

USDA will add a weekly reporting requirement for export sales of pork (fresh, chilled, or frozen muscle cuts/whether or not boxed) to the Export Sales Reporting program (ESR). All exporters of U.S. pork will be required to report information on the export sales of pork to FAS on a weekly basis. Additionally, a final rule to add distillers dried grain to the ESR was deferred in order to provide the public with an additional comment period regarding mandatory export sales reporting for distillers dried grain, which will expire April 18. Full Notice, Final Rule

A bill that would privatize Pennsylvania's liquor stores is headed to a vote in the Capitol. The privatization bill was passed by the House Liquor Control Committee and the House could vote on the bill later this week, reported Pittsburgh Business Times. Full Story

Pro-Amino International is recalling protein bars due to possible Salmonella contamination. Full Story

Global News

India's federal cabinet cleared a food security bill allowing 67% of the population access to cheap food grains, according to three ministers. The food security bill would permit the release of large quantities of grain from the government's large storage sites at very low price, and will be debated by lawmakers in parliament before a vote, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

J Sainsbury beat forecasts for underlying sales in its fourth quarter, with strong growth online and in convenience stores more than offsetting a weaker performance in its traditional outlets. Online sales and convenience stores are the two fastest growing areas for Britain's supermarkets as shopping habits change, with consumers increasingly using the internet to shop and high fuel prices discouraging trips to town centers and out-of-town malls, reported Reuters. Full Story

Market News

U.S. lean-hog futures were lower March 18 amid weak pork demand, speculative selling and broad pressure on commodities resulting from worries about Europe. CME lean hogs for April were recently down 0.5% to 79.3 cents\lb. Several factors are pressuring the hog market, including sluggish export demand for pork, as China has been buying domestic supplies to support its own producers. U.S. pork exports fell 15% by volume in January, and domestic pork supplies are relatively high as consumers are thought to be switching to lower-priced chicken instead of pork, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required)

A sudden blast of Arctic air shocked late-planted soy fields in parts of Argentina's main grains province Buenos Aires, putting pressure on harvest expectations. The government expects a harvest of 51 million to 52 million tons of soybeans while consumer nations - in need of food supplies after disappointing grains crops in the U.S., Russia and Australia - are counting on Brazil and Argentina to provide ample harvests, reported Reuters. Full Story

DuPont and the National Association of Agricultural Educators awarded $200,000 in grants to provide agriscience educators with training and classroom resources to implement advanced curriculum that will better prepare students for future careers in agriculture and food. DuPont Pioneer is working closely with the National Association of Agricultural Educators to award grants to teachers who are implementing Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education. Full Story

Honey production in 2012 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 147 million-lbs., down 1% from 2011, according to NASS' Honey report. There were 2.62 million colonies producing honey in 2012, up 5% from 2011. Honey prices increased to a record high during 2012 to 195.1 cents per pound, up 11% from 176.5 cents per pound in 2011. Full Report

JemD Farms, a leading greenhouse vegetable grower based in Leamington, ON, is adding to its greenhouse farm portfolio with a state-of-the-art farm and distribution center in Virginia. The U.S. operation will add to the company's current 400-plus acres of production and will be marketed under the "Red Sun" label, reported The Produce News. Full Story

Growers of Vidalia onions are asking the Georgia agricultural commissioner to set the official start date for shipping the trademarked sweet onions as April 15. Several growers stated in mid-March they plan to begin shipping small volumes April 8, reported The Packer Online. Full Story

USDA is seeking nominations to serve on the United Soybean Board. Vacancies for producer member positions will occur in Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and both the Eastern and Western Regions. Full Story


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