Numerous grocers have recently rolled out back-to-school centered discounts and marketing initiatives that tie in with their core grocery offerings as well as evolving areas of their businesses like health, prepared foods and more.
According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, back-to-school sales this year are expected to hit an all-time high as families with children in elementary through high school are projected to spend nearly $900 on these essentials. This is approximately $25 more dollars than last year, which was also a record high.
Grocers’ initiatives mimic those employed by mass retailers like Target, which launched numerous back-to-school saving opportunities for shoppers this summer. Target Circle Teacher Appreciation gave educators a one-time 20% discount on their entire in-store or online shopping trip. Target Circle College Student Appreciation, which also gave a one-time 20% discount, allowed Target Circle members with a valid student ID to save on back-to-college essentials bought in-store or online. Both promotions ran from July 16 to Aug. 26.
While a number of grocers’ promotions do lower the cost of school supplies, they also discount prices of popular snack and lunch items for kids as well as offer support to customers with easy meal solutions, help with budgeting and provide health-focused solutions.
Kroger alone launched three back-to-school initiatives providing customers with pharmacy information, quick breakfast ideas and savings on more than 250 school items.
Here’s a look at how grocers are helping parents, teachers and students tackle the upcoming school year.
While food products are the obvious item for grocers to mark down ahead of the new school year, grocers have worked in discounts on classic school supplies, as well.
As part of its annual Twinn Week in early August, Winn-Dixie offered buy-one-get-one promotions on over 1,000 items, including breakfast items, “kid-favorite lunch products” and school supplies, according to the Florida-based grocer’s announcement.
Also in line with helping parents fill their kids’ lunch boxes, Save A Lot is promoting its private label goods, which can save shoppers up to 30% when they switch from national brands. In a recent announcement, the discount grocer stated shoppers can pack lunches with the “entire line-up of ten private label fan favorite snacks for less than $5.”
One of the promotions rolled out by Kroger includes more than 250 back-to-school items priced at $3 or less, per a July press release. The discounted items include well-known brands like Crayola, Elmer’s, Oxford, Paper Mate, Sharpie, Post-it and more.
But students aren’t the only ones headed back to school and in need of supplies. Meijer, for the third year in a row, announced a 15% discount on school and home office equipment for teachers. The grocer noted that teachers spend an average of $860 on school supplies out-of-pocket, so Meijer plans to continue to offer this coupon on school supplies for teachers until the end of the school year. Teachers can access the paper coupon by presenting a current school ID at their local store’s customer service desk.
A number of grocers are aiming to make family dinners easier on parents with the back-to-school season underway.
Wegmans’ Crave & Save menu of on-the-go meals includes fresh, packaged and made-to-order options for under $10. For a limited time, the grocer is lowering prices on select Crave & Save menu items, which are available in-store as well as for carryout, curbside pickup and delivery.
The Fresh Market also introduced easy meal solutions in the form of both ready-to-eat options as well as new meal kits. The specialty grocer’s The Party Meal deal running through Oct. 31 is aimed at entertaining. The $39.99 dollar meals require no re-heating and are available to order online for next-day pickup.
The Fresh Market also announced six new meal kits for two that are ready in 20 minutes or less, according to the announcement. The meals, which include chicken, steak, pork and fish dishes, were rolled out ahead of the fall school season.
Kroger Health, the healthcare division of Kroger, recently promoted three easy back-to-school breakfasts as well as grab-and-go options. The grocer’s Director of Nutrition and Registered Dietitian Taylor Newman suggested omelet bites, fruit-topped waffles and breakfast parfaits as quick meal solutions with ingredients all available at Kroger stores.
Focus on health and budgeting
Even when grocers aren’t launching promotions, they’re still looking to spread the word about how they can support shoppers at a time when many are still feeling the effects of inflation.
While Sam’s Club did not roll out discounts on back-to-school snack items, the Walmart banner did break down how seven multi-pack products can help shoppers save. “By stocking up … members can provide a month’s worth of school lunches for just an average of $1.50 per lunch,” the grocer said in a recent announcement.
Health is another area where grocers are determined to assist shoppers.
Kroger Health put out a press release “reminding and encouraging students and customers to get vaccinated ahead of the upcoming school year to protect against and prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” per an August press release. The Little Clinic, a Kroger banner of clinics, can provide numerous recommended vaccinations as well as wellness screenings, annual physicals, routine tests and other preventative healthcare services for all ages, according to the announcement.
Wegmans nutritionists, in a recent press release, also encouraged healthy, active lifestyles. The grocer suggested creating balanced meals using its Balanced Meals & Smart Snacking tool available on its website as well as the Wegmans Healthy Lunch Box Builder. The online resources offer shoppable lists and recipes, meal planning with kids and other nutrition information.