LANECO RACING EVENT SPEEDS IRELAND COFFEE

EASTON, Pa. -- Laneco here, a division of Supervalu Stores, put Ireland brand coffee on the fast track when it used a race car promotion to drive sales of the brand up by 700%.During the promotion, store managers at Laneco's 21 Laneco discount department stores and Food Lane supermarkets in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey were enticed to increase their sales of Ireland coffee with the

EASTON, Pa. -- Laneco here, a division of Supervalu Stores, put Ireland brand coffee on the fast track when it used a race car promotion to drive sales of the brand up by 700%.

During the promotion, store managers at Laneco's 21 Laneco discount department stores and Food Lane supermarkets in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey were enticed to increase their sales of Ireland coffee with the promise of spending "a day in the pit" with professional race car driver Jeret Schroeder at the Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth, Pa., late last month.

The promotion was developed by Schroeder Foods Group, the Pleasantville, N.J.-based parent of Ireland Coffee-Tea. Jeret Schroeder is the son of Bill Schroeder, chief executive officer of Schroeder Foods.

Linda Mansfield, a spokeswoman for Schroeder Foods, said the promotion increased sales of Ireland coffee by 700%.

"We normally sell 15 cases per week to those 21 stores. The week of the promotion we sold 127 cases. The other plus was that there was no lull in ordering for the following week, either," she told SN.

During the promotion, 12-ounce bags of Ireland's Atlantic City and Hotel & Restaurant blends of coffee were featured at $3.99, while decaffeinated versions were featured at $4.99. Laneco featured Ireland coffee in its circular and store managers built endcap and aisle displays.

"Some of the stores put up a special display and they are still up several weeks later. I'm sure our special emphasis and effort impressed this chain overall because they have decided to use Ireland coffees for their 15 delis," Mansfield said.

Dave Gehris, a grocery manager at one of Laneco's two Bethlehem, Pa., stores, won the day at the races prize for showing the largest increase in Ireland coffee volume.

"We had an aisle stack with signs on it. It was on sale between Easter and the week after Easter. It sold very well," he said, adding that volume appears to remain on the upswing.

In addition to awarding tickets to the store manager, Ireland also distributed 100 general admission tickets free to other Laneco employees.