Each year throughout July and August, the Winter Springs, Fla.-based National Watermelon Promotion Board hosts a Retail Display Contest to help retailers and commissaries in the United States and Canada boost watermelon sales.
Retailers showed a continued enthusiasm for the contest in its 11th year, with 170 contest entries this year — up 13% from the previous year.
The goal of each display was to highlight watermelon’s nutrition, value and versatility. Entries were judged on overall appearance, creativity, use of NWPB-provided point-of-sale materials, “shop-ability” and messaging. Of the retailers that reported to NWPB, sales year over year increased an average of 20% to 30%.
“Several of this year’s entries submitted more than displays,” Director of Retail Operations and International Marketing Juliemar Rosado said. “The retailers really created an experience for shoppers in store with activities like sampling and watermelon eating contests.”
The grand prize winner in the “Classic” category is Borderland Co-Op in Saskatchewan, Canada. The “Star-Spangled” watermelon grand prize winner is Buckland AFB Commissary in Aurora, Colo. While Borderland Co-Op impressed with cooking demos for four recipes incorporating watermelon, Buckland AFB went above and beyond by hosting a watermelon eating contest.
“Co-op Food Stores across Western Canada have jumped in with both feet when it comes to participating in the NWPB Watermelon Display Contest,” Federated Co-operatives Ltd. Produce Retail Operations Manager Nick Penry said. The creativity in displays put forth by our produce teams has generated excitement and enhanced the customer shopping experience, which increased sales volumes in participating locations. It has also resulted in several NWPB awards over the last few years. A great promotion.”
As grand prize winners, Borderland Co-Op and Buckland AFB will each receive $1,500 in prizes. Additional prizes awarded for both categories include $800 for second-place winners, $600 for third-place winners and $400 for fourth-place winners, respectively. Eight honorable mentions in each category were awarded $200 each.