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Ahold Pushes "Co-opetition" with National Brands

November 17, 2010
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Taking a page from the technology industry, where providers cooperate as well as compete with rivals, Ahold USA's three chains in October introduced a “Combo Deals” program that pairs national brands with complementary private-label SKUs.

Taking a page from the technology industry, where providers cooperate as well as compete with rivals, Ahold USA's three chains in October introduced a “Combo Deals” program that pairs national brands with complementary private-label SKUs, according to an In-store Marketing Institute (IMI) field report.
 
Grocery industry pundits are pushing such pairings as a way, for example, to address regional tastes with private label items while tapping into consumer tastes for quality national brands.
 

Operated by San Francisco-based Instant Combo Savings, the program offers free private-label products with purchase of relevant SKUs from participating packaged goods manufacturers. General Mills, Welch Foods, Kimberly-Clark and Hormel Food Corp. are said to have signed on for the inaugural flight.

Giant-Carlisle became the first chain to present the program during the week of Oct. 17-23, says Patrycja Malinowski, the report’s author.
 

The free-with-purchase offers were:

  • Giant brand maple syrup with two boxes of General Mills' Bisquick all-purpose baking mix
  • Giant apple juice with four boxes of Mills' Betty Crocker fruit snacks
  • Giant Italian bread with Welch's jelly SKUs
  • Giant shredded cheese with three SKUs of Mills' Pillsbury pizza crusts
  • CareOne cough drops with two boxes of K-C's Kleenex tissue
  • Giant health bars with two Welch's Essentials juices
  • Giant macaroni & cheese with Hormel's Spam
Giant-Landover and Stop & Shop followed suit from Oct. 22-28, staging almost identical deals, says IMI. The sole variation had the two chains eschewing the Betty Crocker offer for a deal providing free apple juice and a box of General Mills' cereal with purchase of two cereal SKUs.
 
The paid program entails dedicated displays and signs, prominent circular features and co-op FSIs. Stop & Shop also promotes the program on its Web site.
 

While the initial offers are technically serving as a full-scale test for Ahold, a spokesperson for Instant Combo told IMI that the retailer already has committed to “as many as possible” iterations in 2011. Instant Combo is pitching the program to other retailers, and also has signed Harris Teeter and Roundy's Supermarkets as clients, the spokesperson says.

 

 

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