U.S. CHAINS PROMOTE OKTOBERFEST

NEW YORK -- Brands of German food and drink took center stage last month around the country in several supermarkets that took part in Oktoberfest '95.The promotion coincided with the world-famous celebration in Munich, Germany. The in-store marketing included cooking demonstrations and samples of German groceries and beverages. The retailers taking part included Tops Markets, Wegmans Food Markets

NEW YORK -- Brands of German food and drink took center stage last month around the country in several supermarkets that took part in Oktoberfest '95.

The promotion coincided with the world-famous celebration in Munich, Germany. The in-store marketing included cooking demonstrations and samples of German groceries and beverages. The retailers taking part included Tops Markets, Wegmans Food Markets and Food Emporium in the Northeast; Harris Teeter and Bruno's in the South, and Bristol Farms and Mrs. Gooch's Whole Food Markets on the West Coast. The event was sponsored by the German Agricultural Marketing Board-CMA, which is the umbrella marketing organization in North America for the agricultural, food and beverage industries of Germany. "Demographers project that some 25% of the American people are of German descent. But you don't have to be German to celebrate Oktoberfest -- or select imported German food products," said Brigitte Rothlisberger, marketing director for the agricultural board.

"What's new," she said, "is that German products have gone mainstream. Savvy supermarkets are including them in cross-merchandising promotions all year. With broad appeal, these items are easy to merchandise, sample and sell."

The products included in the promotion were imported German sauerkraut, pickles and mustard; muesli and whole oats cereals; Bavarian cheese, and German beer.