It was a sweltering 94 degrees outside in mid-July, but shoppers in Ahold USA’s Stop & Shop, Giant and Martin’s stores kept their cool with an early taste of autumn in the form of Salted Caramel Inspired Creations – the newest offering in the chain’s successful Limited Time Originals private label program.
The lineup of Salted Caramel items in grocery includes popcorn, chocolate chip mini muffins, apple pancake and waffle mix, apple juice, choc-olate-covered caramels, peanut and cashew granola bars, refrigerated
cookie dough, toffee ice cream, a 4-inch layer cake in the bakery department and Nature’s Promise Salted Caramel Bacon.
“These limited-time offer programs engage very successfully with
Ahold USA’s brands’ most loyal shoppers,” says Kasey Sheffer, private
brands director for Ahold USA, based in Carlisle, Pa. “It’s something cus-
tomers anticipate, as they look to see what new flavors Giant, Stop &
Shop and Martin’s bring to them while also clamoring for favorites, like
Limoncello, to come back each year. Our limited-time offer programs
continue to grow in awareness – well over three-fourths of our brand cus-
tomers – with most of our shoppers aware of Limoncello, a significant
uptick from 2016.”
With Limoncello representing the most popular LTO to-date, “custom-
ers give us kudos for providing something differentiated,” Sheffer affirms.
In addition to Limoncello, which ran during the summer, Ahold USA
will once again be introducing pumpkin- and apple-flavored products in
the fall, along with peppermint for the holiday season. Sheffer notes that
because the items are only out for a limited time, they engage shoppers
to come into the store to see what is new and to stock up on favorites
while they last.
LTOs Facilitate Creativity
“The program allows us to flex creative muscle, inspiring our brand customers with exciting items,” Sheffer continues, adding: “Our brands get
great marks from their shoppers for these products offering great quality
and prices. LTOs bring such a halo to our brand stores and private brands
that our customers say these efforts increase their perceptions of both.”
That same experience is happening with national brands.
General Mills, for example, is introducing a whopping 22 seasonal
items this fall, with a roster including Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, Pillsbury
Grands! Pumpkin Spice Sweet Rolls, and new for 2017, Pillsbury Ready to
Bake! Cookies in Salted Caramel Apple, Football Shape Sugar Cookies and
Justice League Shape Sugar Cookies.
For the holiday/winter season, General Mills is rolling out a dozen
items, including bringing back Banana Nut Cheerios; Pillsbury Grands!
Hot Cocoa Sweet Rolls; Pillsbury Ready to Bake! Cookies in Christmas Tree,
Snowman, Reindeer, Winter Cutout and Gingerbread Man Cutout shapes;
and a new 30-ounce Pillsbury Gingerbread Chub Cookie tube.
“Limited-edition flavors give consumers something to look forward
to as the seasons change,” explains Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for
Limited-edition products are creating excitement in
the aisles for the autumn and holiday selling seasons.
BY RICHARD TURCSIK