BOSTON -- Frozen food gets more than its fair share of attention at a new Star Market in this city's Allston section.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based chain has about 120 freezer doors in the department, which spans a full aisle and winds partially down another in an area just off the center of the superstore. Two huge color photos of breakfast foods, juices, dinners, entrees and desserts hang in the section, promoting frozen food as a key meal option.
Products throughout the department were pitched via cardboard signs, which were on nearly every door. They promoted price specials and product quality, urged shoppers to bring a specific item home or try a new product, and suggested ways to use an item.
For example, signs in the dinner section said, "Marie Callender's: Tastes Like It's Right From A Restaurant" and "Stouffer's: A Quick Meal With A Home Taste To It." Some signs on vegetable doors read, "Add Something Extra To Your Rice With Green Giant Accents" and "Feeding A Family? Try The Max Pack Vegetables." A sign in the snack section said, "Having A Party? Try Our Barney's Hors D'Oeuvres."
Store-brand items were spotlighted with signs and shelf tags. On one vegetable door, for instance, a sign read, "Star Vegetables: A Great Side Dish." Another in the potatoes area said, "Buying The Star Brand Saves You Money." A sign on the whipped toppings door asked shoppers to compare the Star brand to Cool Whip, which were displayed next to each other. Multicolor tags saying "Star Brand" identified store-brand items.
The department's brightly lit doors framed well-stocked shelves. Product packaging was exploited by standing most items up, making them more eye-catching. Round cartons of ice cream rested on angled shelves with their lids facing out, which allowed automatic facing replacement as well as easy brand and flavor identification. Whipped toppings were positioned similarly, seated on narrow racks inside the case, providing a visual cue.
Extra-wide aisle space let customers open doors without blocking passers-by. Prominent flag signs marked off product categories and made them easy to locate, although a couple shopping the section said the myriad of products made it difficult to find specific items.
On SN's visit to the store, 36 doors were devoted to the ice cream category, nine of which were for novelties. Other big sections included dinners and entrees (18 doors) and vegetables (15 doors). Breakfast foods, primarily waffles, received significant space as well, occupying more than a half-dozen doors.
Two glass-door end cases at one end of the aisle showcased various price-reduced items. A grocery shelf unit near the ice cream doors tied-in a selection of cones. Officials at Star were not available for comment.