Tyson and Kroger Influence Frozen Sales


Sales of Tyson Foods' Grilled & Ready chicken were struggling as part of a total decline in foot traffic within the frozen department at Kroger stores. So the brand and retailer set out to develop a program that would drive awareness and trial by touting the product's convenience.

“We’re seeing at Kroger across the board, and also at other places, that there’s a lot of movement in the perimeter and less movement down frozen aisles," Valerie Grant, shopper marketing account supervisor at IN Marketing told P2PI. "We’re thinking on a daily basis how we can get people to find the great products in the center store.”

Grant combined data from Tyson and Kroger's 84.51° subsidiary to create a target demographic for the program – families across all of the retailer's banners who were looking for better-for-you but still tasty food and were sometimes frustrated by planning for mealtime.

“We looked for opportunities to come up with something unique and different that would influence them,” Tyson Kroger team shopper marketing manager Kelly Stock told P2PI.

They enlisted Irvington, NY-based influencer marketing company Ripple Street to organize house party events on Oct. 20 with hosts introducing the brand to their friends. Ripple Street community members were chosen based on the results of a survey of their demographics and attitude towards cooking, plus pictures they took of the product in Kroger stores.

“We were getting a lot of people to go to the store in advance of selecting them to be hosts," Ripple Street senior director of sales Joe Epner told P2PI. "We look at their social activity and we take all those components, put them in our algorithm and select the best of the best.”

The partners selected 200 hosts from a list of almost 5,000 Kroger shoppers and sent them a "party pack" that included recipe ideas, giveaways, games and props for photos. Some hosts also came up with their own recipes and shared them through Ripple Street along with pictures of the event or images showing what they did with time saved from cooking with the Grilled & Ready chicken.

“We looked at this product and the key benefits of it," Grant said. "The insight that we really used was 'if you could get 20 minutes back in your day from dinner time what would you do?' We asked the question of the applicants, and they almost all said they’d do something fun. It was all about taking the stress and frustration out of meal time.”

This is the first Kroger-specific program Tyson has run with Ripple Street, and the effort allowed the partners to collect data on hosts, applicants, registered guests and other community members who expressed interest in the brand.

“As a result of the program, we now have a community of almost 5,000 Tyson consumers who shop at Kroger we can go back to and continue the engagement,” Epner said.

Along with the social engagement, Tyson promoted the product through targeted digital offers on Kroger websites and the retailer's new boosted search and "Start My Cart" options. The latter provides a reminder to e-commerce shoppers who have previously purchased the brand. Tyson also had a booth at Kroger's Wellness Festival, which ran from Oct. 4-7 in Cincinnati.

Success will be measured based on reach, engagement and sales, and Tyson is working with Foresight to measure the program's efficiency based on those metrics.

“Post-purchase and post-program we’ll watch these shoppers for 13 weeks and see if they come back and buy the product," Stock said.