CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Locally produced grocery items are finding their way onto center store shelves across the country. To call attention to these distinctive items, Harris Teeter here, six Safeway stores in Humboldt County, Calif., and the Eureka, Calif.-based Food Mart are promoting local manufacturers' products.
During a recent week-long campaign, Harris Teeter promoted 14 dry grocery items, including Mt. Olive pickles, which sold for $1.99 a 16-ounce jar; several different varieties of White House Apple Sauce, 89 cents for a 23- to 24-ounce jar, and Harris Teeter Clover Honey, $4.49 for a 36-ounce jar.
"Harris Teeter is proud to feature these products that are produced right here in North Carolina," an ad in its circular read.
The effort was part of "Goodness Grows in North Carolina," a 10-year-old marketing program sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. About 500 companies, half of which are dry grocery processors and manufacturers, participated in this year's program.
In California, a marketing organization called Humboldt Harvest helps keep retailers abreast of products offered from local manufacturers.
Currently, the organization's membership includes 73 businesses, ranging from small organic food companies to large retailers such as the Issaquah, Wash.-based Price-Costco.
"They are a bunch of individual manufacturers whose expertise is in the manufacturing of the product, not the selling of the product," said Peter Vellutini, buyer at Food Mart.
Products from California manufacturers are regularly featured at six Humboldt County Safeway stores and three Food Marts, but the retailers heavily promote the products during the month of October, Humboldt Harvest Month. All Humboldt Harvest products are identified with shelf talkers and featured in demos.
Participating Safeway stores include Humboldt Harvest products in their advertisements during October, but usually carry about 20 Humboldt Harvest products throughout the year, according to Mark Baldwin, store manager of a Safeway store in Arcata, Calif.
"In Safeway, you don't usually see a lot of unique items compared to other stores," said Baldwin. Offering the locally produced items, Baldwin added, can only help a retailer's image in the community.
"We enjoy this program," said Ruth Kinzey, corporate communications manager at Harris Teeter. "We've had feedback from customers who appreciate the variety of products being offered."
Throughout North Carolina, other retailers, including Hannaford Bros., Piggly Wiggly and Food Lion, are promoting the state's grocery items.
In California, some smaller retailers are beginning to feature Humboldt Harvest products. Wildberries Marketplace, a natural- foods store in Arcata, Calif., carries every item represented by Humboldt Harvest, according to Del Cole, manager. "They're all local products, and they do wonderfully," Cole said.