Inspiration & Insights: A Red Oval Partner Meeting Recap

Oct 18, 2023

Last week in Atlanta, representatives from over 25 different manufacturers joined the IGA team for our first CPG Red Oval Partnership meeting since before the pandemic. We had a great mix of attendees, including long-term Red Oval partners like Coca-Cola and Kimberly-Clark, new partners like Lipari Foods, Reser’s Fine Foods, and Hain Celestial, and potential partners like The American Egg Board.

Our two-day agenda was packed with insights, information, and robust discussion.

Day 1

Kicking things off was an inspiring talk from IGA CEO John Ross exploring today’s evolving grocery shoppers and how IGA has transformed to meet their needs. John highlighted that independents have a competitive advantage because shoppers trust their local retailers more than large, national chains. He also framed up the Red Oval program as helping manufacturers via a consultative planning approach that is proven to drive sales for CPG brands.

Next, as our gracious host for the event and and chairperson of the Red Oval Advisory Committee, Coca-Cola Company Senior Director of Sales for IGA Brad Morris welcomed the group, sharing how the Red Oval program is helping Coca-Cola grow their IGA business at a 2.5X faster rate than the overall market.

Three IGA retailers joined a panel discussion, sharing their perspectives and needs from CPG brands to succeed. Food Giant VP Retail Operations – North Division Sean Shulke reported, "IGA is strong with what they do, they’re good with what they do, and we’re fortunate to be aligned with them.”

Geissler's Supermarkets President & CEO Bob Rybick said Geissler's joined IGA for the “shared vision of community,” adding, “We fully utilize the digital ad and have been ‘all in’ since COVID. Now, I don’t know where we would be without IGA.”

Lastly, Houchens Food Group, Inc. Director of Brand Marketing Shannon Clark reported, “IGA gives us a seat at the table with CPGs that we wouldn’t usually have, even as a multi-store retailer.”

Michael La Kier (far left) moderates the retailer panel with Sean Shulke, Bob Rybick, and Shannon Clark.

Day One ended with a session sharing insights on how Fresh & CPG Partners can come together to win by emphasizing the "Local Equals Fresh" value proposition. Georgia Department of Agriculture Director of Marketing Matthew Kulinski shared our recent program with grower associations.

Day 2

The second day started with a session on “Building a Brand via Social Media” where Dan-O’s Seasoning VP Sales Tyler Watson shared insights into their award-winning and record-breaking social media strategy that has led to over 4 BILLION views. Despite this, they work with IGA and other retailers to convert interest into purchases at the cash register.

Then, the marketing team facilitated a session that shared how Red Oval partners have met – and exceeded – their business objectives with IGA marketing assets, featuring multiple case studies from Red Oval partners from Coca-Cola, Idahoan, and Nestlé Purina PetCare. Afterward, I previewed how IGA is approaching 2024 with renewed enthusiasm, improved data and reporting, an invigorated Family Meals Made Easy/Recipe Club program, and new seasonal occasion-based shopper programs.

Our event concluded with a roundtable discussion on how IGA can further support CPG brand success in the independent grocery retail channel and how IGA is committed to earning more significant investment from partners by delivering greater performance.

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