INGLES GENERATES SALES WITH NEW PROGRAM EMPHASIS

BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- Ingles Markets here is turning up the heat with its National Frozen Food Month promotion.A kitchen sweepstakes and a sampling program in schools, as well as an emphasis on radio advertising, are new to this year's promotion of National Frozen Food Month, Tom Outlaw Jr., the chain's vice president and director of frozen foods, told SN.Customers can participate in the kitchen

BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- Ingles Markets here is turning up the heat with its National Frozen Food Month promotion.

A kitchen sweepstakes and a sampling program in schools, as well as an emphasis on radio advertising, are new to this year's promotion of National Frozen Food Month, Tom Outlaw Jr., the chain's vice president and director of frozen foods, told SN.

Customers can participate in the kitchen giveaway by filling out entry forms found either in newspaper ads or located in-store at an entry-box display. "They can get a stove, refrigerator -- all kinds of different appliances for their kitchen. There's an entry box in each frozens department," Outlaw said. The sampling program highlights one of the hottest areas of the frozens category: pizza.

"We're working with Jack's pizza, which is more or less a child's pizza. We're taking those [frozen pizzas] into the schools and demo-ing those, and the kids get real excited about that hot dog pizza and cheeseburger pizza. That's gone over real well. It's been pushing the frozen food sales," Outlaw said.

Early results for the month-long frozens promotion were positive. "It looks like sales [from the first week] were very good. The stores that I've checked have done excellent."

As in years past, Ingles, Outlaw said, is running television commercials in all six states in which it has stores. The chain is also running radio ads in North Carolina and South Carolina markets. Ingles said more radio ads are running this year than in past years.

"We're also doing special advertising in the local newspapers," he added. "We have four to six pages each week over a four-week period strictly on frozen food," Outlaw said.

"We have some great promotions going on, such as buy-one-get-one-free on Tombstone pizza. We're running what we call two 'Blockbuster' items each week. Those items are your deep discount items used to really attract people into the frozen food department."

In-store awareness of frozen foods is being raised through signs, decorations and the sweepstakes giveaway. Ingles decorated every store in the chain, sometimes spending a great deal of money and time, Outlaw said. "We've got tons of penguins floating through the air and balloons. We've got airplanes flying over the frozen food departments with trails of balloons promoting National Frozen Food Month," Outlaw added.