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NAM contest underway

In a program quite similar to last year, the 2006 National Apple Month retail display contest got underway Sept. 1 and will run through the end of November. The contest is open to all retailers in the United States as well as to all military commissaries in this country and abroad, according to NAM Director Kay Rentzel.

Sponsors for the program, conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Apple Association, are T. Marzetti, with its well-known Caramel Apple Dips and Apple Crisp, and the National Peanut Board, which represents the domestic peanut industry. Products from T. Marzetti and those of the National Peanut Board producers provide excellent tie-in merchandising and are positioned to drive consumer impulse purchases, according to Ms. Rentzel.

Under the rules refined last year, National Apple Month will award three overall health communication prizes of $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place.

NAM will also award 25 prizes (with a top prize of $1,000 for first place) to large supermarkets -- defined as those with 10 or more registers -- and another 25 prizes (again with a top prize of $1,000 for first place) to small supermarkets -- defined as those with nine or fewer registers.

Five prizes will also be awarded to military commissaries, which compete separately from the retailers, as has been the case in previous years. The total amount to be awarded is now over $10,500.

But as any merchandiser knows, prize money is only one part of the NAM contest's draw. Retailers that build prize-winning displays boost their apple category sales not only during the time the display is up but for weeks and even months afterward.

Like last year, to underscore the important health attributes of one of America's favorite fruits, how the display conveys the healthy attributes that apples have will be a primary factor in judging that display. An independent panel of judges will select the winners in early January, said Ms. Rentzel, with the winners announced no later than Jan. 31.

National Apple Month, under the auspices of the U.S. Apple Association in Vienna, VA, celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. A 26-year veteran of the apple industry, Ms. Rentzel has directed the promotional program for more than nine years.

"We are extremely enthusiastic with the potential for the 2006 National Apple Month promotion to provide the retailer with your ticket to increased sales," she said.

For more information on the 2005 NAM Retail Display Contest, contact Ms. Rentzel at 717/432-0090.