The Vidalia onion industry is enjoying high levels of consumer, retailer and grower-shipper involvement in this season’s promotions that tie the sweet onion to a popular movie character.
Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia, Ga.-based Vidalia Onion Committee, plans to promote Vidalia onions when she attends the May 16 Hollywood debut of the “Shrek: Forever After” movie.
The “Shrek Forever After, Vidalias Forever Sweet” promotion features imagery of the Shrek character in produce aisle displays, on half and full bins and on more than 1 million header and full wrap or vert bags.
During the generic industry campaign’s first week, 8,000 consumers visited www.vidaliaonion.org to enter a contest and play a game that has Shrek hunting for Vidalia onions. Since then, that number has risen to more than 10,000.
“Major parts of and major markets in about half of the stores in the country didn’t have POS (point of sale) and Vidalia onions in stock, yet we got 8,000 people to enter the contest,” Brannen said. “That would have been a good number of contest entries for an entire season. We are receiving calls daily from people wanting to get in on this.”
The committee and nearly all of the leading industry packers have sent more than 10,000 floor stands and carton toppers that feature thousands of recipe pads and price cards to participating retailers, Brannen said.
Retailers building displays for the committee’s merchandising contest have also been entering their entries much earlier than normal, she said.
Brian Stanley, sales manager of Stanley Farms, Vidalia, said retailer interest in the promotion is strong.
“This thing has caught on like wildfire,” he said. “This Shrek promotion has really come at the best possible time because we are harvesting more medium onions. As this promotion is geared to the consumer packs, it’s helping move our medium crop which is sometimes is a little harder to move.”
When Stanley Farms ordered supplies for the Shrek packaging in February, Stanley said some customers were hesitant and weren’t sure how Shrek could help sell onions.
Stanley Farms, however, has experienced such a run on the Shrek-themed bags that it has had to turn down some customers and is awaiting arrival of additional film for its packs, he said.