Joni Drost says she doesn't often buy Made in Michigan products at Meijer because of the higher prices.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- If you're on the lookout for Made in Michigan foods, Meijer now offers 55 new varieties in all of its 102 stores across the state. This is a jump from where the grocery chain started last year, with 49 Michigan products in just 33 stores.
Three different varieties of family-made spaghetti sauce caught the attention of shopper Lauren Van Keulen's. The sauces are all made in the state but cost more than the national brands. "I would purchase this," Van Keulen tells WZZM 13, pointing to a $5 jar. "I would go for it-- one time, give it a shot."
She does what most shoppers do, considers the prices of similar items. "That's pretty steep, even though I believe in supporting Michigan products," says Van Keulen.
This is the dilemma many customers seem to grapple with while encountering 55 new Michigan specialty foods, like zesty asparagus guacamole, cherry salsa, coffee caramel corn, and Michigan maple barbecue sauce.
Joni Drost, a mother of four doesn't look twice at the Made in Michigan shelf. She says when she's in Meijer, she's in 'mom mode.' "When I'm looking to buy jelly: Smuckers," says Drost. "This is something I would get on a treat level," she says of the locally made alternative.
Alpine Meijer store director Larry Levin says that's the purpose. "People are very cost-conscious, but again, these are specialty items." Levin says if Meijer's marketing tactics work, the new Made in Michigan products will move off the shelves. Last year, 33 stores carrying 49 products generated a $400,000 economic impact to the area.
"And this year we expect well over $900,000," says Levin.
Meijer hopes to hit that goal by reaching customers who want to try items like chips and jams made in their home state.
All 55 products will be on the shelf for a year, then based on their success, Meijer will decide if they'll go companywide with them, in all 200 stores in five states. So far, Levin is seeing the most interest in the salsas, chips, and barbecue sauces.