Spar News

FILL-UP WITH FROZEN  - Frozen Food Age, vol.51 No.11

As the number of gas pumps at the supermarket continues to skyrocket, so do the promotional opportunities for suppliers in H.E.B and Tom Thumb stores in Texas, Meijer stores in the Midwest and Stop & Shop stores in the Northeast. These retailers feature frozen food brands like Eggo, which offers shoppers $1.25 in free gas with the purchase of two 16-count boxes of waffles, as well as Kellogg's meatless Morningstar brand.

These offers, and others like them, were put together by the Centego Fuel Rewards Program, which rewards consumers with free gas for meeting minimum purchase requirements on specially marked consumer goods products. Shelf execution was handled by The SPAR Group, an international third-party merchandising services company.

The programs aren't limited to only stores with pumps. When a customer pays for their groceries at checkout, they receive a voucher for the free gas. The vouchers are then redeemable at participating gas stations, whether at an on-site fuel station or at a partnering off-site station.

The job of keeping the Fuel Rewards shelf signs up-to-date can be daunting. In some cases, as many as 800 different products in one grocery store require Fuel rewards signs. In recent H.E.B, Tom Thumb, Meijer and Stop & Shop programs, SPAR's Merchandising Specialists ended up calling on more than 450 stores during each four week program cycle to check tag appearance, remove old tags and install new ones. Categories serviced within the store include: dry goods, health and beauty, center store and frozen areas, including coffin-style freezers and closed door freezer units.

The frozen section presented numerous compliance challenges. Fuel Rewards' original tags could not withstand the frigid temperatures. Alternative hanging methods, including plastic sleeves and clips have since rectified that challenge. According to Centego, SPAR merchandisers have been instrumental in ensuring that the life of tags in the frozen food section is lengthened.

As a result of the properly maintained shelf tags, shopping brochures and Fuel Rewards banners erected in-store and at the station, shoppers purchase more products and receive free gasoline as a reward for their purchase behavior. Free gas voucher redemption rates consistently average 20% nationally, 10 times higher than standard coupons or FSIs. In 2002, Fuel Rewards consumers earned $16 million in free gas savings. That same year, the program touched more than 25 million shoppers.

To learn more about SPAR and its unmatched retail merchandising programs, call (800)314-SPAR(7727), email or check