PUBLIX PUTS POPULAR ISB INTO ITS 'MEAL IDEA OF THE WEEK'

ATLANTA -- Publix Super Markets is using its high-profile, in-store bakery departments to bolster its "Meal Idea of the Week," recently using a Chocolate Overload cake as the dessert component of the week's featured items.In the circular for its ad week ending March 12, the chain described Chocolate Overload as "chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate from the Publix bakery." The popular item is not

ATLANTA -- Publix Super Markets is using its high-profile, in-store bakery departments to bolster its "Meal Idea of the Week," recently using a Chocolate Overload cake as the dessert component of the week's featured items.

In the circular for its ad week ending March 12, the chain described Chocolate Overload as "chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate from the Publix bakery." The popular item is not new, but its name is, a store-level source said. It used to be called Death by Chocolate. The cake is offered at a special price of $6.49 for a 26-ounce slab. That, the ad says, represents an "up-to-50-cents saving."

The Lakeland, Fla.-based chain, with more than 400 units across the Southeast, inaugurated the Meal Idea of the Week concept some time ago but has been giving it increasing attention. Indeed, in the circular, the meal idea was spotlighted on the cover, taking up at least two-thirds of the page. Meal components from different departments are brought together in ads and in a "meals case," and are all retailed at a special price. In-store signs tell customers they can realize up to an $11 savings if they purchase all the products.

In this instance, the suggested entree was top round steak sold as London broil. It was $2.99 a pound, creating a savings of up to $6.09 on a three-pound steak, the chain said. Fresh asparagus was the suggested side. Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits, and mushrooms -- whole and sliced -- were part of the ensemble. And a packet of Lawry's London broil marinade was offered free with the purchase of a package of the meat.

The ad shows a juicy-looking, sliced London broil, garnished with whole button mushrooms. A side dish of asparagus spears is also shown. The retail: $1.49 a pound. And the ad says, "Save up to $1.20 a pound." Chocolate Overload is shown as a very tall piece of layer cake with lots of filling and nuts on top.

On a visit to a Publix unit here, SN noted that the featured meal items were merchandised right at the front of the store. As customers turn right toward the store's familiar, made-to-order submarine sandwich counter, they are facing eight feet of self-service case showing off the items. Each of the following occupied two rows, front to back, in the low-profile case: round steak; packets of Lawry's marinade mix; refrigerated mashed potatoes; random-weight packages of sliced mushrooms and whole mushrooms; Pillsbury biscuits. Four rows of fresh asparagus in bunches, standing up, came next. Just around the corner, a four-foot case held a variety of single-serving desserts as well as larger hunks of cake, including Chocolate Overload.

A color photograph inside the ad circular shows a slice of the newly dubbed cake. Alongside it, this description: "A Chocoholic's Dream Come True. Now you can experience five heavenly kinds of chocolate in one dreamy dessert with our Publix Bakery Chocolate Overload. Award-winning Publix bakery decorators create it for you, using the finest ingredients. Two layers of moist chocolate cake. One entire layer of rich, gooey brownie. Between the layers, double-dutch fudge icing made from real cocoa beans. And to top it all off, a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, plus a tantalizing drizzle of melted chocolate. It's a chocoholic's fantasy come to life!"