Friday, June 17, 2011
The Wisdom of the Crowd: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Wines Won 39 Medals in the L.A. International Wine Competition; Will it Motivate Your Purchase?
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's marketing and public relations people announced via a press release today that the 175-store fresh food and grocery chain has won 39 medals at the 72nd annual Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition for a variety of its proprietary brand wines.
The annual wine and spirits competition is part of the Los Angeles County Fair, which takes place September 3-October 2 this year. An olive oil tasting and judging is also conducted in conjunction with the annual wine competition.
The wine competition judging took place in May. The competition's officials announced the winners June 7.
Among the wines Fresh & Easy won medals for (18 out of the 39 medals) were its new line of proprietary or private brand California wines, which we wrote about in this March 8, 2011 story: Tesco's Fresh & Easy ♥'s California With 27 New Varieties of Proprietary Brand Wines From the Golden State. The new California wines were introduced in the stores in March.
You can see which Fresh & Easy wine brands and varieties won medals here, along with viewing all of the award-winning wine brands and varieties from others. The competition also has a Facebook page here.
El Segundo, California-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is one of just a few food and grocery retailers that enter its private or proprietary brand wines in this and other competitions.
The pioneering grocer in doing so is another Southern California-based chain - Trader Joe's - which has been entering its various private brand wines in the Los Angeles and other competitions, often winning first place in on or more varietal categories, for many years.
It's important to note, however, that not many U.S. grocery and mass merchandise chains offer a moderate-to-extensive assortment of private brand wines (many have a value brand though), although that's beginning to change. As such, there's not much in the way of proprietary brand wine for the majority of grocers to enter in these competitions at present, even if they wanted to.
Tesco-owned Fresh & Easy followed Trader Joe's lead in entering various wine competitions, starting in 2007, and has to date won 275 medals overall.
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market also promotes wine regularly in its 175 stores in California, Nevada and Arizona and attempts to use the category, particularly its private brand wines, as a leader in terms of hoping it is a lure to bring shoppers into its stores.
We've written extensively about the wine category at Tesco's Fresh & Easy (and other grocers), including its participation in various wine competitions, along with merchandising, marketing and promotional aspects.
[You can read our stories by clicking on the following links: Fresh and Easy proprietary wines, Fresh and Easy wine, wine awards, wine merchandising, California wine competitions, wine awards, Fresh Easy wine category review, The Big Kahuna brand wine, wine marketing, wine promotions, liquor wine beer categories, alcoholic beverage sales-merchandising, wine retailing, Charles Shaw Wines, Mike Samii, Trader Joe's, Robert Parker, Beverages and More.]
As we noted earlier, the majority of U.S. food retailers don't offer much in the way of private brand wines.
Trader Joe's and Fresh & Easy have the most extensive proprietary wine programs we're aware of among U.S. grocers and mass merchandise chains, although as noted numerous big chains like Costco, Walmart and even regional grocers like Save Mart Supermarkets in California offer a value-based (think Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck) proprietary brand wine. Fresh & Easy's value brand is called the The Big Kahuna.
Fresh Easy's parent, United Kingdom-based Tesco, has long had a proprietary brand wine program in operation and offers numerous own brand varieties in its stores in the UK particularly, but also at its stores elsewhere in Europe and in Asia.
What interests us about these wine competitions as they pertain to grocers like Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Trader Joe's and others, is if winning medals at the events has any influence on shopper purchases of the winning wines in the stores.
This question is important because the primary reason wine-makers and marketers enter their wines in competitions is to sell more of it. Secondarily is the prestige of winning - or what some folks (not us of course) might even call the "snob appeal factor."
The Wisdom of the Crowd: Reader Questions
Since Fresh & Easy Buzz has some of the smartest and most-inquisitive readers on the planet, we thought we would put the question to you.
So here's the question: Does a wine brand/variety winning a medal (Gold, Silver, Bronze and the like) at a well-known wine competition influence your decision to purchase it?
Further, will you be motivated to try and buy any of the 39 Fresh & Easy proprietary brand wines - there will be signs on the wines at the shelf in the stores designating them as "medal winners" and you can see the various wines from Fresh & Easy that won here - because a given wine won a medal at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition?
Share your response and opinion with your fellow readers using the "comments" link below. Just click it and tell us what you think.