Page 48 - December2018
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As one of the largest onion and potato shippers in the country, with four packing facilities in Idaho and growing operations across the country, Wada Farms works closely with buyers, as category partners. “We’re data- driven,” says Kevin Stanger, president of Wada Farms. “We have data available in all the cate- gories we deal with. We can take data to the retailers on their marketplace,” he explains. “We can show them what’s going on in the regions and their stores and what’s missing. We look at the varieties, packaging, all the way down to the pricing.”
According to Stanger, some retailers will share their data to utilize all that category management entails, and some won’t. “ ere is the old standby category management, which is ‘we want you to watch our potatoes and then send us a load when we need them,’ ” he chuckles.
 e Idaho Potato Commission is a check-o , industry-funded program, with international representation and category management  eld representatives who work with retailers to maximize pro ts in the potato category.
Nielsen data is provided for all markets, and the reps provide general observations. “We work with retailers two times per year, and our  eld people are armed with ad data to target the retailers’ needs in managing the category,” says Pemsler.
Weis Markets, based in Sunbury, PA, operates 205 stores in the Mid-Atlantic region. Stringham says the chain uses produce specialists in the  eld to employ scan data and market demographics for each depart- ment. “We have strong relationships with our suppliers in both these commodities,” he says, adding that Weis has developed a system of communication with its grower/packer part- ners that assists in managing categories.
Having a built-in consulting and strategy partner gives Wada Farms a big boost in assisting its customers. Sister company Cate- gory Partners provides a variety of data anal- ysis services on an ongoing basis for retailers. “ e trained sta  can provide state-of-the-art forecasting, as well as assist with promotion scheduling and price analysis,” says Stanger.
Shuman Produce in Reidsville, GA, also helps its customers target its markets. “Our sales team has Nielsen data in hand when they visit our retailers,” says James. “Shuman’s  eld sta  talks to retailers about their current sales and how to boost sales going forward. “We  nd our retail category managers respon- sive and interested in the information we’re providing,” she adds. pb

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