By Mike Troy
A Food City supermarket in Bristol, Va., has given new meaning to that old merchandising adage, “stack it high and let it fly,” by creating the world’s largest pineapple display.
The massive display featured 14,700 Fyffes brand pineapples with a combined weight of 18 tons. Priced at only $1 apiece, the display made Food City the buzz of Bristol the week of July 4th and drove considerable volume. During the promotion, store traffic increased by more than 10% compared to the same week last year and pineapple sales were at an all-time high, according to the company.
“The store had a tremendous week in sales, and extra excitement with the customer interaction surrounding the Fyffes pineapple display,” said Mike Tipton, Food City’s director of produce and floral operations.
To make it happen, Food City worked with its long-time produce supplier Turbana. A crew (picture above) worked through the night on June 29 so the display was ready when the store opened at 6 a.m. the following morning.
These days, no merchandising initiative is complete without a solid digital component, so Turbana and Food City launched a social media campaign across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. The campaign, which illustrates the power of social, reached more than 14 million people within four days. The World’s Largest Pineapple Pinterest Board was created, and a pineapple “Twitter party” gave 120 participating shoppers an extra way to connect with Food City while sharing summer pineapple recipes with seven nationally recognized food bloggers, Food City and Turbana.
Throughout the social media campaign, more than 5,000 shoppers within the Food City market area connected with the retailer and Turbana through one-on-one personal interactions across Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. In store, shoppers snapped “selfies” in front of the display throughout the event and posted pictures with the hashtag “#pineappleworldrecord” to win free Fyffes pineapples for the rest of the summer.
In the process, Food City set a new bar for competitors in the “world’s largest” retail display category, a rather obscure genre where formal record-keeping is lacking. According to Food City, its 14,700 pineapple displays bested a display created by Reasor’s Foods of Bixby, Okla., on Oct. 31, 2012.
Food City operates 106 stores in the tri-state area of Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. Its parent company, appropriately named K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., recently acquired 29 BI-LO stores from Southeastern Grocers.
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