ALBRECHT OFFERS KIDS' CLUB CARD FOR FRUIT

AKRON, Ohio -- Fred W. Albrecht Grocery Co. has created a club card for kids that focuses on fruit.The retailer, which operates supermarkets and supercenters under the Acme banner, launched a "Fun With Fruit Kids' Club" in its produce departments earlier this month.Similar to the cookie card clubs that have sprung up at many chains, this program calls for kids ages five to 11 to register at Acme produce

AKRON, Ohio -- Fred W. Albrecht Grocery Co. has created a club card for kids that focuses on fruit.

The retailer, which operates supermarkets and supercenters under the Acme banner, launched a "Fun With Fruit Kids' Club" in its produce departments earlier this month.

Similar to the cookie card clubs that have sprung up at many chains, this program calls for kids ages five to 11 to register at Acme produce departments, where they receive a membership card.

Then, each month the children bring their membership card to the produce department, have their cards punched and receive a free serving of Acme's featured fruit of the month. Apples were chosen to kick off the program this month.

Club members also get a monthly book marker, which lists fruit facts and nutritional information.

Two weeks into the program, 500 children had signed up, according to Sue Guthier, manager of special promotions. Produce managers have even started a little friendly competition among themselves, to see who can sign up the most kids, Guthier said.

"It's really taking off," she said.

Guthier said the program was developed to encourage healthy eating habits among children -- and, via a mailing list, to help Albrecht track and reach out to young shoppers and their families.

The club has been easy to implement at store level, she said. Each time a card is punched, the card holder receives a sticker with the Kids' Club logo on it. If the child decides not to eat the fruit right away, the sticker is placed on the fruit to indicate to cashiers that it is free.

Members are placed on a mailing list and will receive a club newsletter. The first one is set to come out in March, Guthier said. Albrecht plans to do at least one newsletter a quarter.

The club is being promoted in the chain's circular, on in-store posters and in bag stuffers. Albrecht is considering other programs targeting children, including a similar program in the bakery, and a special promotion for children in the pharmacy, Guthier said.