Supermarket Perimeter - November 2020 - 10

Locally grown corn
from Brentlinger
Farms is one of
Dorothy Lane
Market's top LTOs.

COVID, unfortunately, has definitely put a dent in
the retailer's use of LTOs, Mayhew said. For instance,
Dorothy Lane couldn't get its "million-dollar peaches"
from a grower in California flown in.
"Things have been restricted. We can't demo like we
used to. We can't do the cookouts we normally do. I'm
waiting like everybody else."

The online impact
Limited time offers in grocery retail were changed
forever by Amazon and other tech intrusions into
traditional retail, said Raj Shroff, principal at Columbus,
Ohio-based consultancy PINE Strategy & Design.
It's now second nature for people to check prices on
a given item and shop at multiple stores, depending on
who has the best offer. Continually fighting low-cost
wars has taken much of the shine off LTOs. Unless
you're Walmart, it's a battle that's hard to win.
"LTO has been table stakes for a long time, and I
don't see it changing," Shroff said. "You have to do it,
but it's hard. It's a key value indicator for shoppers, and
it's going to drive traffic, but it's tough in this day and
age to give up valuable margin to get those people
in there."
With LTOs not as valuable to grocers as in the past,
more and more are turning to investing in their own
store brands to generate new sales in the perimeter
and throughout the store, Shroff said.
Many grocers already have strong brands to build
store-brand programs around, he added. "They have
higher margins, and they can go in aggressively on
prices against established industry brands." Still, LTOs
aren't going anywhere, and Shroff said there are ways
to update them to make them more viable.
Historically, the same LTO was offered to everyone.
With technology, they can now be microtargeted
depending on a variety of demographic differences,
he said. Many retailers are still playing catch-up on the
technology, but they're getting there.
"They can now be more thoughtful about it, more
targeted, which is a much more effective use of dollars
than just blasting it out to everybody," he said. "I think
we'll start to see a lot more personalized offers."

"When we do something like that, we try to involve
every part of the store in it."
Other LTOs in the Dorothy Lane produce
departments include promotions for New Mexican
Hatch chiles, locally grown corn and morel
mushrooms, Mayhew said.
When Hatches are peaking, it's a "couple of
weekends party" at Dorothy Lane, Mayhew said.
In addition to selling them in bulk in the produce
department, stores incorporate Hatches into
cornbread, bratwurst, deli prepared dishes and other
foods throughout the store.
Seasonal corn from New Carlisle, Ohio-based
Brentlinger Farms is sold at Dorothy Lane from early
July to early- to mid-September. The grower and the
retailer have been doing it for 70 years, Mayhew said.
"People cannot wait until that corn comes around,"
she said. "People start asking for it in May, and we say,
'In Ohio, it's knee high by the fourth of July.'"
A few years ago, Dorothy Lane bought a corn
roaster. Now when the Brentlinger fresh corn deal is in
full swing, the retailer fires up the roaster in front of the
store and sells "street corn."
Locally grown morels, if Dorothy Lane can get them,
run as an LTO in early spring.
10 - NOVEMBER 2020

Neil Stern, a consultant with Chicago-based McMillan
Doolittle, said that traditionally, limited time offers have
been more common in foodservice. In recent years,
however, that's started to change.
It's growing in supermarkets as a way to drive
traffic and excitement," he said. "It creates reasons for
customers to come."
Limited time offers, Stern said, can be anything
around a holiday or a seasonal event driven by
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Supermarket Perimeter - November 2020

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