Food Lion looks to make ‘every cent count’ for customers

TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Programming, from MVP loyalty to a program that alleviates food insecurity, has been critical to providing a positive customer experience.
  • The company has invested in populating its site with budget-friendly meal recipes — which includes the option for customer star ratings
  • Private-brand products have also helped

High grocery 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 employs a multi-pronged strategy “to ease the strain its neighbors may be feeling” 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 to hold true,” said Gene Faller, vice president of category management at Food Lion. “We work hard to ensure that every cent counts for our customers by providing them with easy solutions to save on buying groceries and making the most out of their food once they’re home.”

Although serving up savings is nothing new for Food Lion, whose 1,100-plus store footprint stretches across 10 Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states, its value formula carries extra relevance these days. The food-at-home Consumer Price Index for August climbed 13.5% year over year, surpassing the 13.1% rise in July and marking the biggest 12-month gain since the period through March 1979.

Components of Food Lion’s value proposition include the following:

  • Everyday savings: Food Lion customers can check out weekly specials on its website and sign up to receive weekly flyer emails. Customers receive exclusive, low pricing on essentials, weekly sales and savings events from Buy 2, Get 1 offers to ‘Dollar Days’ and private label budget-friendly brand alternatives.
  • MVP loyalty program: The grocer encourages shoppers to sign up for its MVP loyalty program, enabling them to earn rewards, access digital coupons and receive exclusive pricing. Customers who choose to shop online earn monthly Shop & Earn rewards on products they already buy, receive those digital coupons monthly and track their savings with My Wallet
  • Store brands: Food Lion has added more private-brand products in categories across the store. Store brands are consistently lower in price than national brands, but Food Lion takes it a step further with a “Double Your Money Back Guarantee” on its products.
  • Affordable recipes: “After purchasing groceries, we’re making sure shoppers know how to make the most of them,” Faller said. The company offers affordable meal recipes, like those for under $10 dinners. Budget-friendly meals recently posted on Food Lion’s website — and rated 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 busy families looking for easy ways to save, whether it entails weekly sales, special savings events or other initiatives, according to Faller.

“Our customers have always been price conscious, and this remains especially true today,” he said. We place great emphasis on listening to our customers and understanding what is important to them. Food Lion has a 60-plus year heritage of offering fresh, high-quality products at low prices, and we know our neighbors are counting on us more than ever to continue to provide this.”

Another important component of the supermarket chain’s effort to put food on the table is its Food Lion Feeds program.

In 2014, Food Lion launched Food Lion Feeds, an initiative to “nourish 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 is also smack in the middle of one Food Lion Feeds program. Its annual Apple Bag campaign, in partnership with its customers, runs until Oct. 4. When customers purchase a specially marked gala apple bag or make a cash donation in-store or online, Food Lion is donating 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.

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