VIDALIA, Ga. — The Vidalia Onion Committee has chosen a Boise, Idaho, consumer and Albertsons shopper as the winner in its Sweet Onion Trivia contest.
The committee awarded JoAnne Johnson, who said she usually does her food shopping at an Alberstons near her home, an all-expenses-paid trip for four to historic Savannah, Ga.
Contestants took the trivia quiz online on the Vidalia Onion Committee's website, and then — based on the number of questions they answered correctly — received chances to enter a drawing for the grand-prize trip.
“We had 6,500 entries, more than we had expected,” said Wendy Brannen, the organization's executive director. “And, the way the entry form was set up, we tracked information that proves our marketing is working with consumers.
“We have a record of who found out about the contest and from where. People from all over the country entered the contest, and we see that our in-store POS campaign, consumer magazine ads, and newspaper editorials are driving consumers to stores and to vidaliaonion.org.”
While consumers took the quiz online, many of them were alerted about the contest in supermarket produce departments. Indeed, an attractive poster was used by many retailers as part of their Vidalia onion displays. The poster, on a parchment-type background, showed a photo of a Vidalia onion farmer and, in another shot, historic buildings in Savannah.
The poster carried this message: “If it says ‘Vidalia,' you know it's the original sweet onion from Georgia. Test your Vidalia Knowledge to win a trip to Savannah, Ga. Enter to win at vidaliaonion.org.”
Brannen explained that the quiz, in a playful way, educated consumers about the story of the Vidalia onion.
“The more consumers learn about Vidalias, the more likely they are to buy them,” she said.
The POS materials, which included posters, price cards and trivia game card tear-off pads, were sent out to 40 chains, large and small, across the country.
Grand prize winner Johnson told SN she had never tasted a Vidalia onion until she bought some during the summer at her neighborhood Albertsons.
“I thought they were delicious. I wanted to find out more about them, so I went online,” Johnson said.
“Until I tasted one of those Vidalias, I had thought an onion was an onion,” adding that she looks for them now in her supermarket.
“We like them on sandwiches, and I use them in cooking, too. I've found they're a great addition to shepherd's pie, one of our favorite comfort foods.”
Johnson said she's excited about the trip to Savannah, especially since she has “read a lot about the history of the city and its beautiful old buildings.”