Harris Teeter launching new program to highlight local products
- Harris Teeter is spotlighting brands with local connections in its new chain-wide HT Home Town program, according to Progressive Grocer. The goal is to highlight 33 brands already on store shelves, which consumers may not know are produced within the Matthews, N.C.-based grocer’s footprint.
- A recent Concentric study found 77% of Harris Teeter shoppers would be more likely to buy an item if they knew that it had been produced locally. However, many consumers weren’t aware that Harris Teeter already offers a large number of local brands.
- Products that are featured in the ‘Home Town’ program include Cheerwine, Krispy Kreme, Duke’s Mayonnaise, Mt. Olive and House-Autry Mills.
Harris Teeter is far from the first grocer to try to leverage the growing power of local products and ingredients, but they are going about the promotion in a unique way. While Texas grocer H-E-B has engaged the public to find up-and-coming local food and beverage products to add to its in-house portfolio, Harris Teeter is simply pointing out that they already have local brands on the shelves.
Consumers are increasingly interested in buying local and/or organic food. The local products market is projected to hit $20 billion by 2020, making this a logical category for grocers to focus on as they look to protect themselves from Amazon and other online retailers looking to grab market share. When the Concentric study asked shoppers why they were more likely to buy a product if it was produced locally, consumers responded with comments like: “Local brands feel exclusive to my area,” and “These brands create jobs and economic growth in my area.”
Consumers clearly like to buy local products, but what exactly is ‘local?’ It’s not a legally defined term, so it’s up to individual retailers to create that definition. For Wegmans, it means within 100 miles of a store. Others consider ‘local’ to be anything created within state lines. For the Harris Teeter Home Town program, it’s anywhere in the grocer’s footprint, which includes locations in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, Florida and Washington, D.C.
Harris Teeter Home Town brand Sabra hummus and spreads are produced in Richmond, Virginia, but that might not feel very local to a shopper in Georgia, Florida or even Washington, D.C. a 109-mile drive away from the city. Just as a consumer would feel increased loyalty to a grocery store if they thought that chain was supporting their local community, that same shopper could be turned off if they felt hoodwinked by a marketing gray area.
It shouldn’t be difficult for Harris Teeter to stock the local items they’re highlighting, as they’re already in the blueprint for store shelves. In addition, the products listed for inclusion in the Home Town program are largely processed items that have an extended shelf life. If Harris Teeter wanted to focus on drastically increasing the amount of locally produced fresh produce they offer, they would face new challenges of sourcing, delivery and meeting consumer demand.
Grocery chains looking to increase their inventory of locally produced products have some resources to turn to if they don’t have the staff or capitol to seek out their own local suppliers. Third-party companies such as aggregators and food hubs are able to handle the vetting and distribution for these retailers.
- Progressive Grocer Harris Teeter Highlights ‘Home Town’ Products