Promoting Key Food Categories – Whole Grain Sampling Day
Educational events centered around an entire food group allows you to drive traffic to different departments, promote the unique nutritional benefits of key foods, and highlight new items or private brand products. Programs may center around promoting all forms of fruits and vegetables, way to include various types of seafood in meals, or encouraging the consumption of more whole grain foods. Such promotions also offer the opportunity to partner with key organizations who can support your efforts with content and resources. The Whole Grains Council (WGC) and Oldways, for example, has an entire program centered around whole grain sampling and many retailers are turning this day into a successful selling event.
The goal of the program, which is held the last Wednesday in March, is to help consumers increase their consumption of whole grains by trying new items and discovering ways to include them in their diet. Educational materials help customers understand why and how switching to whole grains can improve their health. There are no fees and retailers can be creative in their execution. In addition, the WGC provides support materials, and help secure local and national publicity for stores. Here are some execution ideas that can be tailored to fit your existing wellness programming:
- Conduct a whole grain cooking demo with a new or unfamiliar product. This simple Farro-Cabbage Salad is a good example.
- Invite smaller vendors to participate and sample their products. They may be looking for ways to broaden their reach and can talk about their product(s), meet customers and give out samples and coupons.
- Use the WGC “matchmaker” service to see which manufacturers might be interested in supplying products for your whole grain demo or sampling event.
- Showcase your bakery and deli as shoppers may not be aware of your high-end gourmet whole grain choices like breads and grain salads. Sampling of these items can draw them into this corner of the store.
- Schedule a whole grain tour to make shoppers more aware of all the great whole grain products you carry and reduce barriers to these items – a great way to increase sales. Use the WGC store tour kit so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
- Create a sales event by working with your buyers and vendors to offer deals on great tasting whole grain products during the last week of March. Specials and coupons always increase the likelihood that a customer will try something new.
- Involve store team members so they can help promote whole grain products and provide educational resources. Include a whole grain challenge as part of your employee wellness program.
- Flag whole grain products in-store, online or in ad and provide a whole grain shopping list to customers. Offer a $2.00 coupon to any shopper who can show a whole grain product in their basket.
The Whole Grains Council provides a full suite of resources for retailers planning to take part in Whole Grain Sampling Day. Visit, https://wholegrainscouncil.org/get-involved/whole-grain-sampling-day for social media and marketing resources, quizzes and contests, and free handouts and giveaways.