TOP TAKE AWAY
- Programming, from MVP loyalty to a program that alleviates food insecurity, has been critical to delivering a positive customer experience
- The company has invested in populating its site with budget-friendly meal recipes, including the customer star ratings option
- Private label products also helped
High supermarket prices apparently aren’t going away anytime soon, and Food Lion wants to help its customers do something about it — in more ways than one.
The Salisbury, NC-based grocer, part of Ahold Delhaize USA, said it is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy “to ease the pressure its neighbors may feel” in these inflationary times. Initiatives range from daily savings and personalized offers to wallet-friendly own brands and meal options.
“Our mission has always been to provide customers with fresh and affordable groceries, and this sentiment continues,” said Gene Faller, vice president of category management at Food Lion. “We work hard to make sure every cent counts for our customers by providing them with simple solutions to save on grocery shopping and get the most out of their food once they get home.”
While serving up savings is nothing new for Food Lion, whose 1,100-plus store footprint spans 10 states in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, the value formula is especially relevant today. The food-at-home consumer price index for August rose 13.5% year over year, surpassing the 13.1% increase in July and marking the largest 12-month increase since the period through March 1979.
Elements of Food Lion’s value proposition include:
- Daily Savings: Food Lion customers can check out weekly specials on its website and sign up to receive weekly flyer emails. Customers receive exclusive, low prices on essentials, weekly sales and savings events from Buy 2, Get 1 offers to ‘Dollar Days’ and budget-friendly private label brand alternatives
- MVP loyalty program: The grocer is encouraging shoppers to sign up for its MVP loyalty program, which allows them to earn rewards, access digital coupons and receive exclusive prizes. Customers who choose to shop online earn monthly Shop & Earn rewards for products they already purchase, receive those digital coupons monthly, and track their savings with My Wallet
- Store brands: Food Lion has added more private label products in in-store categories. Store brands are consistently lower in price than national brands, but Food Lion goes one step further with a “Double Your Money Back Guarantee” on its products
- Affordable recipes: “After buying groceries, we make sure customers know how to make the most of them,” Faller said. The company offers affordable meal recipes, such as those for under $10 dinners. Budget-friendly meals recently posted on Food Lion’s website — and reviewed by website visitors — include Cheesy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta, Easy Chicken Tacos, Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew, Corn Dog Cups, and Mini Southern Tomato Pies
Customer feedback also plays a key role in Food Lion’s efforts to help families looking for easy ways to save, whether through weekly sales, special savings events or other initiatives, Faller said.
“Our customers have always been price conscious, and this is especially true today,” he said. “We place a lot of emphasis on listening to our customers and understanding what is important to them. Food Lion has a history of more than 60 years of providing high quality fresh produce at low prices, and we know that our neighbors are counting on us more than ever to continue providing this.”
Another important part of the supermarket chain’s efforts to put food on the table is the Food Lion Feeds program.
In 2014, Food Lion launched Food Lion Feeds, an initiative to “feed our neighbors and help alleviate food insecurity in the communities we serve,” Faller said. He added that over the course of nearly eight years, Food Lion Feeds has donated approximately 970 million meals to local food banks and feeding agencies with help from its customers and partners, including Feeding America, Operation Homefront, No Kid Hungry and the American Red Cross. .
The Ahold Delhaize banner also sits right in the middle of one Food Lion Feeds program. The annual Apple Bag campaign, in partnership with its customers, runs until October 4. When customers purchase a specially marked gala apple bag or make a cash donation in-store or online, Food Lion donates five meals to Feeding America’s local food banks. This year, Faller said, they are already on track to donate at least 1 million meals.