Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 39 of 159

that in 2010, more than 3.9 million women with children were blogging. And a recent report found that moms were more likely to visit other blogs to seek advice on both products and parenting issues. Retailers, from big-box giant Walmart to mid-size chains such as Raley's Family of Fine Stores, are harnessing this power by creating a community of mom "ambas- sadors" to blog about their stores and the products they sell. Ambassador programs are "a directed reach that can be more powerful, and much less expensive, than traditional advertis- ing," explains Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Mom Central Consulting. "The mom bloggers have a built-in audience that is looking for recommendations from other like-minded women." The Walmart Moms program, which includes 20 mom bloggers, was created as a way to represent the voice of all moms, and to have them share with readers the same challenges moms across the coun- try face—from juggling work and family to getting meals on the table and saving money. Bloggers are free to write about their experiences and challenges, and occasionally receive a product from Walmart to spread the word. Raley's Mom's World Panel engages nearly 800 moms to glean what the com- munity wants most from its grocery stores. Moms on the panel are asked for their opinions about products, ideas or advertis- ing; they provide feedback on new products that are tested at home and offer thoughts on how shopping can be made more mom- friendly. They also can participate in a Mom Along, where moms walk through a store with a Raley's executive to tell them what they think. The company uses social media such as Twitter (@RaleysMomPanel) to send daily messages to the mom community. "Blogging provides a robust review of products that will stay online indefinitely," DeBroff says. "What we have seen is that moms have hijacked the conversation away from the brand, and have taken it into their own hands. Word of mouth from a trusted source goes a long way." Whether tapping into the mommy blogging network, offering food trucks for easy access or creating new delivery options, what all of these innovations and trends have in com- mon is that they are addressing consumers' needs for convenience, value and foods they can trust. |SFM| Laura Everage is a freelance writer specializing in food. Winter Fancy Food Show Booth 3822 38 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com

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