Jewel-Osco and Fresh Farms Launch Innovative Event; Scott Bennett, Dave Watson, and Charly Molina Comment

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Tue. July 11th, 2023 - by Melissa De Leon Chavez

CHICAGO, IL - I’ve finally made the connection between P.T. Barnam and Willie Wonka—two eye-catching performers, top hats ready, with something surprising in their fantasy-constructed factories, how could I have missed it before? The link struck me when I received a photo from Jewel-Osco’s Scott Bennett of one of the several Albertsons-parented stores promoting Candy grapes in partnership with Fresh Farms.

The retailer’s call to consumers came in the form of fun, loud colors of the famed candy man with a full storefront banner in the carnival style of America’s greatest showman, with matching displays in-store.

Scott Bennett, Produce Sales and Merchandising Manager, Jewel-Osco“We have a cool event going here on Candy grapes,” Scott, Produce Sales and Merchandising Manager, shared with me before embarking on a multi-city tour to oversee the promotion himself. “Two growers came into town from family-owned Fresh Farms in Mexico to join me for tours around Chicago. We wanted to take a standout approach for this standout product line.”

A line comprised of Cotton Candy (they really taste like cotton candy); Candy Hearts (believe it or not, they will steal your heart); Candy Dreams (this is what dreams are made of); and Candy Snaps (snap into something extraordinary), each grape holds its own singular spot in the sweet lineup.

Dave Watson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Fresh Farms“Scott and I worked during the past year with his team and ours to put together this promotion. The goal was simple: Sell more grapes by introducing the Candy varieties so that it would be impossible to miss them at the store display,” Dave Watson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Fresh Farms, relayed. “Scott and his Jewel-Osco team have demonstrated the desire to innovate in the store and bring these opportunities to light in the past. Space, labor, shrink, and competitive products are at a premium to allocate resourcefully.”

Scott echoed this sentiment, pointing out the biggest reason to promote Candy grapes with Fresh Farms is to enhance the category with an additional bag or two in shopping carts.

Jewel-Osco and Fresh Farms teamed up to promote the grower’s Candy grapes line, which includes Cotton Candy, Candy Hearts, Candy Dreams, and Candy Snaps

“It was an event to build awareness of these outstanding grapes and really Taste to Believe,” Scott added. “We want others to follow what we are doing here and improve the Fresh Farms’ Candy grape consumption across the country. If other retailers follow, we will grow the grape category together and build that excitement when the season starts, just like Honeycrisp apples 20 years ago.”

The singular move by the Jewel-Osco and Fresh Farms teams is one that made both the stores and the supply shine harmoniously—I am sure there were hundreds of double-takes on the busy streets of Chicago as many wondered what the focus, then the fuss, was all about. The approach, reminiscent of New York City’s Times Square in its marketing tactic, was a stellar one in promoting impulse purchases, I have no doubt, paid dividends.


“The Taste to Believe campaign by Fresh Farms and Jewel-Osco aims to authentically connect with more consumers by injecting fun into the promotion of Candy grapes,” Charly Molina, Creative Director at Fresh Farms, explained. “By emphasizing extraordinary flavors and creating visually appealing experiences, we can drive awareness and demand for the category. This strategic approach maximizes the grape category business while building lasting connections. Fresh Farms recognizes the tremendous potential of Candy grapes and is committed to elevating their prominence in the market.”

This is not a small accomplishment in a busy metropolitan like Chicago. I remember discussing with Scott a few years back the unique challenges and benefits of the city’s food arena: The competition is high and constant. As a result, those in the ring are the best at what they do. For the consumer, it means no tolerance for anything below premium quality. For the purveyors, it is a consistent reflection of their ability to meet—neigh, exceed—that expectation.

​​“You can sell anything in every store in Chicago, you just have to be willing to try something different,” Scott told me back then, a comment that came to mind with each photo of the selling strategy now launching Candy grapes to Chicago street-side fame.

“Thankfully for us, the Jewel-Osco team were willing and eager to take the step and demonstrate how it can be done successfully. We hope we have made some customers for life now!” Dave concluded, reminding me, Taste to Believe.

The event built awareness of the Candy grapes line for shoppers to truly ‘Taste to Believe,’ nurturing awareness and excitement while encouraging impulse purchases

In addition to the attention-grabbing displays inside and outside Jewel-Osco grocery stores, the team-up also hit the digital world, spanning from influencer sponsored videos to widely circulated spots like the popular Muck Rack.

As Scott Bennett and team promised, Chicagoland will have a new fresh produce “fun food.” They will build it, and consumers will come.

These are tactics that celebrate the elevated attention and investment into branding as well as product quality our industry has seen in recent years, and we are here for it.

Jewel-Osco Fresh Farms