Halloween Displays Increase Snack Sales
By Ann Przybyla Wilkes
SFA VP of Communications
The top winners in the 2004 annual Snack Food Association and U.S. Potato Board Halloween Display Contest had snack sale increases from 5% to 75% over the previous year. Not only did consumers spend more on snacks from the winners’ displays, overall spending for Halloween went up in 2004.
The National Retail Federation 2004 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch for NRF, found that Halloween spending in 2004 was estimated to reach $3.12 billion, up from $2.96 billion the previous year. The survey, which polled 7,680 consumers, was conducted from Aug. 31 through Sept. 8, 2004.
The survey also found that more than 69% of people ages 18-34 years old planned to celebrate Halloween. More than half of 18-24-year-olds will dress in costume (54.1%) and throw or attend a party (50.6%), while most consumers 55-plus will hand out treats (82.7%).
“Young adults aren’t willing to relinquish a holiday they grew up enjoying,” said Phil Rist, vice president of strategy for BIGresearch. “Halloween remains one of the only days where society gives adults permission to act like kids again.”
As Halloween parties became more prevalent, SFA and USPB initiated the Halloween Display Contest to alert consumers to the role that snacks can play in their Halloween celebrations. The displays also encourage consumers to hand out savory snacks to trick-or-treaters.
This year’s judges were Elizabethe Bogart, vice president, Strategic Industry Initiatives, National Association of Convenience Stores, and Robert Pignato, vice president of marketing, membership & industry affairs for the American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA). They awarded prizes in “Multipack/Single Serve,” “Large Bag Potato Chip — Large Display,” “Large Bag Potato Chips — Small Display,” and “All Snacks” categories. Winners of first, second, third and fourth place received $2,500, $1,000, $750 and $500, respectively. In addition, there were 20 awards of $300 for honorable mentions. The prizes were split equally between the SFA member company route salesperson and their retail partner.
To encourage maximum participation in the contest, 20 SFA route salesperson’s names were randomly drawn. Each of these route salespeople received $100.
The third most popular Halloween costume for kids in 2004 was a witch (following Spiderman and a princess). Many of the entries into the SFA/USPB Halloween Display contest took advantage of the popularity of witches. In the “Large Bag Potato Chips — Small Display” category, both first- and third-place displays included a witch or a witch’s brew. First-place winner, Frito-Lay’s Chad Christel and his retail partner, Cleveland, Wis.-based Bonde’s Quik Mart’s Amy Kapelka, included a ghost and a large cardboard cutout of a character with colorful hair, in addition to a witch.
Graveyards were popular themes in the contest as well. First-place winner in the “Large Bag Potato Chip — Large Display” category, Golden Flake’s Jonathan Vandiver, built a graveyard that included a sign stating, “From the dead they’ll awake for the taste of Golden Flake.” His retail partner was Michael Nelson, Foodland Plus, Sheffield, Ala.
The first-place winner in the “All Snacks” category featured a skeleton with blinking lights peering out from behind a door in a graveyard, while holding a bag of Utz’s potato chips. Behind the skeleton was a huge sign that stated, “Do you have hungry skeletons in your closet? Let Utz feed them.” When customers walked past the front of the display, a motion sensor activated the song “Monster Mash.” The winners were Utz’s Brent S. Zockoll and West Ocean City, Md.-based Superfresh’s Sonny Hock.
Paul Sweeney, Snyder’s of Hanover, was awarded first place in the “Multipack/Single Serve” category for a display he built at a Target in Strongsville, Ohio. The 12-ft. display was themed, “Little Block of Horrors!”
There will be another opportunity to win cash prizes in the 2005 Routing for Dollars Sales Display Contest, which will take place in February. Be sure to take part. The contest will include the themes, “Snack Fit, Choose Balance,” “February is National Snack Food Month,” and “Super Bowl.” Additional prizes will be available for including canned dips in the displays. Contact SFA for details.