Chain Builds a Food Pyramid as Marketing Tool

RPCS, a multi-banner independent, has created the Food Pyramid banner for the nine Albertsons stores it acquired in Oklahoma and plans to use the government's food pyramid program for healthy eating as part of its promotional strategy. The name reflects a trend that we're bringing to the retail level for the first time, Nicole Taylor, the chain's marketing director, told

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — RPCS, a multi-banner independent based here, has created the Food Pyramid banner for the nine Albertsons stores it acquired in Oklahoma and plans to use the government's food pyramid program for healthy eating as part of its promotional strategy.

“The name reflects a trend that we're bringing to the retail level for the first time,” Nicole Taylor, the chain's marketing director, told SN.

“Everyone is familiar with the government's food pyramid, so it made sense to bring the concept to the retail level by offering customers everything they need in a big food store while giving them helpful information about making healthy choices for their families,” she said. “And it lends itself to many future marketing opportunities.”

The store name came first, Taylor noted, “but as we were looking for point-of-sale materials, we discovered the government's Take a Peak program, which encourages individuals to develop their own personal nutrition guidelines based on age, height, weight and level of physical activity.”

Accordingly, Food Pyramid is making kiosks available in each store to give customers the opportunity to get a personal program they can follow to achieve better health, Taylor said. Although the kiosks are already in place, the program will kick off in the fall when the chain installs printers, she added.

Aisle markers and shelf tags will be color-coded to help people locate specific categories in their personal food pyramid, Taylor explained.

There will also be educational signs throughout the store, she said. “We'll put less emphasis on merchandising and more on education, including nutritional information, recipes and keys to healthier lifestyles — though we'll also offer ice cream and cupcakes and the full array of products in a full-service supermarket.”

“Take a Peak, pun intended, is an in-store program aimed at bringing the government's recommendations for healthy eating into the everyday lives of Americans by reaching them at the point of decision, in their local supermarket, and by helping them move a step closer to eating the way the U.S. dietary guidelines recommend,” Taylor said.

RPCS operates 43 supermarkets, including 33 in Missouri, nine in Oklahoma and one in Arkansas. It operates 14 Price Cutters, 10 Price Cutter Plus stores, eight Rameys and one Smitty's in Missouri; the nine Food Pyramids in Oklahoma; and a single Save-A-Lot in Arkansas.

RPCS acquired the nine Albertsons in Oklahoma in mid-June. Stores range from 50,000 to 65,000 square feet — larger than the chain's average of 46,000 square feet, Erick Taylor, president and chief executive officer, told SN.

The Food Pyramid stores will carry 80,000 SKUs — about 20,000 more than the chain average, he noted — with expanded offerings of natural and organic foods, international foods and specialty foods; a wider selection of prepared meals in the delicatessen sections; and the introduction of sushi.

The stores also are replacing Select beef with USDA Choice and Prime, he said, and there are plans to begin offering $3 prescriptions through the in-store pharmacies and to add Starbucks counters.

To emphasize the break from the stores' former ownership, RPCS lowered more than 10,000 prices in Center Store, HBC and GM, and left the Albertsons shelf tags in place with the old, higher prices for comparison.