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Idaho Potato Commission and H-E-B spice up produce sales with sweepstakes

by | July 09, 2009
H.E. Butt Grocery Co. stores teamed up with Idaho potatoes and Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blends to spice up its produce sales in March. The San Antonio, TX-based grocery chain pumped up produce purchases at its Texas locations with a New Orleans Cooking Adventure sweepstakes.

The monthlong promotion enticed H-E-B customers to add flavor to their fare, specifically Idaho potatoes, with product discounts and a chance to win a New Orleans Cooking Adventure, which included a trip to New Orleans and a private cooking lesson from famed Chef Paul Prudhomme.

"Product tie-ins top our list of successful ways to power up produce sales," Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail-international for the Idaho Potato Commission, said in a press release. "And H-E-B gets it. Pairing two premium brands entices purchases from consumers loyal to each product as well as new consumers looking for innovative, yet affordable, meal options."

The supermarket chain promoted the sweepstakes with freestanding Magic Seasoning Blends product displays near Idaho potato bins in all its more than 300 Texas stores. In addition to providing contest entry forms, H-E-B attracted purchases with special savings on Idaho potatoes and Magic Seasoning Blends, a new Idaho potato salad recipe card developed exclusively for H-E-B by Chef Prudhomme, and a cooking demo by the master of Cajun cuisine at two San Antonio locations.

Chef Prudhomme personally greeted and cooked for H-E-B customers in San Antonio. Shoppers lined up to taste his specialty Idaho potato dish seasoned with Magic Seasoning Blends.

"H-E-B customers were surprised to see celebrity Chef Paul Prudhomme in their local grocery store," Larry Whiteside, Midwest promotion director for the Idaho Potato Commission, said in the release. "Word of Chef Prudhomme's appearance drew quite the crowd in the H-E-B produce department, contributing directly to purchases of Idaho potatoes and Magic Seasoning Blends."

Thousands of H-E-B customers submitted entry forms via mail and on-line at for a chance to win the grand prize New Orleans Cooking Adventure (valued at $4,490). In the end, Katy, TX, resident Rita Acuna won roundtrip coach air transportation for two people to New Orleans, one hotel room for two nights at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, ground transfers between airport and hotel in New Orleans, dinner at K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, and the private cooking lesson with Chef Prudhomme.