PORTLAND, Ore. — Pear Bureau Northwest earlier this month named Jewel-Osco its 2018 Pear Retailer of the Year. The award, which was presented on the show floor of the 2018 PMA (Produce Marketing Association) Fresh Summit, is based upon strong efforts devoted to pear category improvements in merchandising performance and sales increase throughout the year, according to a press release from Pear Bureau Northwest. Jewel-Osco is a supermarket chain headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.
“We are pleased to recognize the great work Jewel-Osco did building their pear category this past season,” stated Kevin Moffitt, Pear Bureau Northwest CEO. “On behalf of nearly 900 pear growing families in the Pacific Northwest, we congratulate the Jewel-Osco team on winning the 2018 retailer of the year award and we truly appreciate their support and focus on pears.”
Each year, Pear Bureau Northwest partners with grocery retailers across North America to increase overall success in the pear category, according to the release. Throughout the year, Jewel-Osco has pursued many of the best practices for increased pear category sales recommended by Pear Bureau Northwest, including placing a focus on providing consumers with consistently flavorful pears through a conditioned pear program. They also promoted the flavor profiles of different varieties and increased impulse purchases by sampling multiple varieties in-store and placing them in displays and ads, the release added.
“Keys to Jewel’s success included a commitment to flavor with a conditioned pear program providing consumers with great tasting pears while also educating them on the flavor profiles of the different varieties. Their commitment to the category also included large, upfront displays featuring multiple varieties, as well as billboards and ads extolling the sweet juicy flavor of USA Pears,” said Moffitt.
“The Jewel-Osco team is great to work with because they have a passion for driving sales in everything that they do. When they get behind a program they can really move the needle,” explained Bryan Roberts, Regional Marketing Manager for Pear Bureau Northwest. “You can always count on Jewel to execute at store level, which can be a challenge in today’s retail environment.”
Produce Sales Manager Scott Bennett attributes much of the Jewel-Osco team’s success to how they merchandise the product with pinpoint marketing, pointing out that “Excellent pear quality, aggressive marketing, and (boosting) flavor profile awareness” have all been major factors in their strategy. He added that, compared to previous years, getting creative and turning employees into “walking billboards advertising Northwest pears” by having them wear pear t-shirts also helped increase pear sales.
Bennett attributed Jewel-Osco’s effectiveness in connecting with customers to line pricing all pears and keeping the merchandise front-facing in high traffic areas with the product attributes on full display.
Bennett accepted this award on behalf of the company. “Jewel-Osco is proud of the hard work of our team,” he said.
This year, Pear Bureau Northwest also recognizes Giant Eagle, Hannaford Brothers Company, Tops Friendly Markets and Walmart as 2018 Pear Category Leaders.
The Pear Retailer of the Year Award was established by Pear Bureau Northwest in 2011. Past honorees were Demoula’s Market Basket (2011), Meijer (2012), Ingles (2013), Publix Markets (2014), Wegmans (2015) and Sprouts Farmers Markets Produce Warehouse (2016 and 2017). The Pear Bureau’s team of regional marketing managers selects the annual recipient based on Northwest pear’s category performance, creativity and best practices in pear merchandising, and overall excellence in supporting the pear category.
According to the press release, Pear Bureau Northwest is a non-profit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote the fresh pears grown in Washington and Oregon, home to 88 percent of the U.S. commercial fresh pear crop. The Bureau represents close to 900 grower families and partners with outlets throughout the world in an effort to increase overall success with the pear category and provides marketing and merchandising expertise that is customized specifically for each retail organization.