Sampling Day a Win-Win for All
When planning first-time events, there is a certain amount of anxiety that builds. Second-guessing ourselves, “will the idea work?” and “did we give folks enough time?” Well, worry no more, the results are in from our first-ever Whole Grain Sampling Day and it was a success by every measure! So much so, that we just had to share some of the wonderful stories we heard.
Jennifer Ignacio, Nutrition Communications Manager at Compass Group, shared, “…the feedback we have received on the sampling as a whole was very positive and we are looking forward to participating again next year.” From the chef at their Piscataway, New Jersey location, we heard “Our daily sales were increased by $250 and our salad bar participation went up 5%. We (reached) 192 customers with our sampling.” From their Uniontown, Ohio location, the report was, “Customers loved the recipes!”
Compass Dining Center in Piscataway, NJ features a grain tasting bar and information about whole grains from the WGC website. (Image courtesy of Compass Group)
At our local event, the WGC and Oldways Teammates donned bright yellow “Every Day is Whole Grains Day” T-shirts and traveled the city by Boston Duck Boat. Passersby were delighted to be handed freebies of whole grain snacks to try on the spot and a couple of products to cook at home. One of the many comments heard was “I had no idea whole grains could be this delicious!”
The WGC and Oldways Staff hands out samples and coupons to Boston University students between classes. (Image courtesy of Muffintown)
Our friends at Verizon went all out in their corporate cafes nationwide. With wellness and foodservice staff working together, they created a festive party atmosphere with balloons and tasting stations around the room. Instead of the usual lunch time fare, attendees enjoyed the fun, tasting the samples and asking questions about whole grains. Every location reported back about their success.
In the supermarkets where dietitians organized sampling events, consumers were excited to try new products. Kym Wroble, RD, LD at Hy-Vee in Iowa City told us, “(Customers) really liked everything—surprised whole grains could taste good. Most didn’t know what products labeled ‘whole grain’ consisted of or what they were.” Amber Jaeger, MS, RD, LD at Hy-Vee in Dubuque, Iowa reported, “We did 2 demos with a barley fruit salad that went over well in addition to a quinoa salad. Both recipes went over well and we sold out of both barley and quinoa in the HealthMarket.”
Chef Ryan Conklin, at Rex Healthcare in North Carolina, organized a very successful tasting in the cafeteria with chefs and one of the dietitians on staff answering questions, saying “how great it was to see people trying something new, and walk away craving more.”
Rex Healthcare Dietitian Angie Perrou shares whole grain health benefits while Chef John Steven Longe scoops samples of the quinoa and black barley salads. (Image courtesy of Rex Healthcare)
You can bet that after hearing all of these comments we went ahead and confirmed dates to make it an annual event. Go ahead and mark the first Wednesday in April as Whole Grain Sampling Day – that’s April 3rd on your 2013 calendar. You won’t want to miss it. (Karen)