Artful promotions

04/03/2012 12:53:00 AM
Kathleen Furore

While a well-known treat in areas like the West Coast of the U.S., artichokes still are making their first impression on many consumers.

Dillons Food Stores, a Hutchinson, Kan., 90-store division of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., leads customers to its website for “Artichokes: A Healthy Finger Food,” an article that offers tips on selecting, preparing, cooking and eating the nutritious vegetable.

Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, a 132-store chain based in West Sacramento, Calif.,  offers an online “The Art of Artichokes” recipe section, with links to dishes including artichoke dipping sauces, artichoke quesadillas, chicken salad-stuffed artichokes and spring artichoke paella.

And the produce section of Sweetbay Supermarket’s website displays a label describing artichokes’ nutritional profile — complete with calorie, fat and fiber content — plus a list of the vitamins and minerals contained in a single jumbo artichoke. Sweetbay, a 100-store chain based in Tampa, Fla., is a part of the Belgium-based Delhaize Group.

Healthful at zero grams of fat and just 60 calories per medium artichoke, versatile and available year-round, artichokes are an ideal addition for produce managers seeking a more exotic vegetable to add to their inventories.

The Artichoke Challenge: getting customers to try
Moving artichokes at the Wegmans Pittsford store in Rochester, N.Y., is not a tough task.

“Artichokes are very good sellers here — we’re not in a position to have to train our customers about them,” says Rick Pitt, assistant produce manager.
Still, promotions (albeit infrequent ones) are planned. Last December, the store’s Wegmans Menu Cooking School offered a class that included a demonstration on preparing and cooking artichokes.

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