WCL: Chicago food businesses & how to save money without being an extreme couponer

Editor of Supermarketguru.com, Phil Lempert joins WCL to talk about some popular Chicago food brands as well as share some of his grocery shopping tips.


1. Take inventory of cupboard, refrigerator, freezer before you go - studies show on average we buy 4 items that we already had and didn't remember

2. Put kids in charge of coupons - give them the shopping list, coupon inserts etc and let them clip and go online (redplum.com, coupons.com) - give them a % of the savings as their allowance

3. DO NOT start your shopping trip in the produce dept - the colors and fragrances of the fruits & vegetables are like aromatherapy and put you in a better mood and you will shop longer and buy more - head to the center with the unemotional boxes and cans

4. Only about 60% of the time are products on the end of the aisle on sale - just because they are piled high doesn't mean they are on sale - check the sign

5. Shop the entire store - there are products - like cheese that are available in different departments at different prices - e.g., 60 day old Wisconsin sharp cheddar is in the cheese section, deli and dairy - the same product in different packaging will cost you 40% less in the dairy dept


ConAgra (home base is Omaha, Nebraska, but Marketing and Snack management is in Naperville)
ConAgra is currently 1 of America's largest food companies with approximately 25,000 employees nationwide and was founded in 1919. ConAgra was the first major food company back in 2009, to commit to reducing sodium across its entire product line by 20% by 2015 and the same year removed high fructose corn syrup from its Hunt's Ketchup products. Its products are found in 97% of American homes and includes: Chef Boyardee, Eagle, Banquet, Healthy Choice, Marie Callender's, Act II Popcorn, Orville Redenbacher and Swiss Miss.

Rubschlager Baking Corp (3220 West Grand Avenue, Chicago)
Fred Rubschlager founded the Rubschlager Baking Corporation in Chicago in 1913 as a neighborhood, full-line bakery and is still a family-owned business, distribution throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Best-known for their Cocktail Breads, Rubschlager has converted the company's entire bread product line to a 100% Whole Grain formulation.

Ferrara Pan Candy Company (2200 West Taylor Street, Chicago)
Best known for its mouth-puckering Lemonhead candies (500 million every year), Ferrara makes such other familiar treats as Red Hots, Jaw Busters, Boston Baked Beans, and Atomic FireBalls. Panned candies, so-called because they are made in a rotating pan, are the company's specialty; but it also makes chocolate confections under the Ferrara name, also with Black Forest Gummies. Ferrara started out in business making the pastel-colored sugar-coated almonds served at Italian weddings and expanded to serve the candy appetites of not just newlyweds, but kids (of all ages). Salvatore Ferrara came to America from Nola, Italy in 1900 and founded Ferrara Pan Candy Company in 1908 in Chicago, Illinois.

Bay's English Muffins (1026 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago)
In 1933, George W. Bay opened a bakery in Chicago's downtown Loop district selling English muffins with orange marmalade. Using the original recipe his English grandmother brought to this country in the 1800s, George Bay made English muffins by the dozen in brown paper bags. In the early 1970s, McDonald's introduced the highly successful Egg McMuffin - a delicious Canadian-style bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on a toasted Bays English Muffin. Bays continues operating as a family business and adhering to the authentic, original recipe. Bays maintains its standard of excellence using only Hawaiian cane sugar, Minnesota spring wheat and whole milk, Wisconsin AA butter, and potato flour and are sold in the refrigerated dairy case.

Tootsie Roll Industries (7401 South Cicero Avenue, Chicago)
Tootsie Roll was introduced in 1896, and the Chicago-based company has grown to become one of the country's largest candy companies selling in more than 75 countries. Sold at a penny apiece and affectionately named after Leo Hirshfield's five-year old daughter, Clara, whose nickname was "Tootsie." Strongly adhering to Hirshfield's original recipe, Tootsie Roll Industries today produces more than 62 million Tootsie Roll candies each day, the majority from its Chicago headquarters. Building on the success of Tootsie Roll and its early offspring (the company launched Tootsie Pops, the world's number one-selling lollipop, in 1931), the company has expanded over the years and now includes 22 of the world's favorite candy brands within its confectionery lineup.

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Wrigley is moving its global headquarters from 410 N. Michigan Ave. to its $45 million research and development center on Chicago's Goose Island.)
William Wrigley Jr. came to Chicago from Philadelphia in the spring of 1891. He was 29 years old, had $32 in his pocket and unlimited enthusiasm and energy. He also had great talent as a salesman and started by selling his dad's Wrigley's Scouring Soap. He then moved on to realize that chewing gum was the product with the potential he had been looking for, so he began marketing it under his own name. His first two brands were called Lotta and Vassar. Juicy Fruit® gum came next in 1893, and Wrigley's Spearmint® was introduced later that same year. Wrigley was one of the pioneers in the use of advertising to promote the sale of branded merchandise and now has operations in more than 40 countries and distributes its world-famous brands in more than 180 countries.

Nabisco (7300 South Kedzie Avenue, Chicago)
Is all about cookies and snacks and a is a subsidiary of Kraft Foods. Nabisco's plant in Chicago , a 1,800,000-square-foot (167,000 m2) production facility at 7300 S. Kedzie Avenue, is the largest bakery in the world, employing more than 1,500 workers and turning out some 320 million pounds of snack foods annually. Its products include Chips Ahoy! , Fig Newtons, Mallomars, Oreos, Ritz Crackers, Teddy Grahams, Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Social Tea , Nutter Butter , Peek Freans, Chicken in a Biskit, used for the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and Venezuela as well as other parts of South America.

Morton Salt (1357 North Elston Avenue, Chicago)
In 1848, Morton Salt had its beginning in Chicago and is North America's leading producer and marketer of salt for home, water conditioning, industrial, agricultural and highway use. The company was the first to develop a salt that would be free-flowing even in damp weather. In 1911, a little girl with an umbrella and her now-famous slogan, "When It Rains It Pours," were created to promote this new product in a national consumer advertising campaign. The Morton Umbrella Girl and slogan first appeared on the blue package of table salt in 1914.

Quaker Oatmeal (555 W Monroe St, Chicago)
Was founded in 1901 by the merger of four oat mills. Although it is popularly believed that the man on the box is Province of Pennsylvania founder, namesake and Quaker William Penn, the company states that "The 'Quaker man' is not an actual person", but is instead a generic representation of a "man dressed in Quaker garb". The man has also been mistaken for Benjamin Franklin. The Quaker Man was America's first registered trademark for a breakfast cereal, his registration taking place on September 4th, 1877 and was the first food product to carry a health claim - to lower cholesterol.

About Phil Lempert
Phil Lempert is a Television & Radio News Reporter/ Newspaper Columnist/ Author/ Consumerologist/ Food Marketing Expert and can predict the future -and then help businesses and consumers understand it. For more than 25 years, Lempert, an expert analyst on consumer behavior, marketing trends, new products and the changing retail landscape, has identified and explained impending trends to consumers and some of the most prestigious companies worldwide. Known as The Supermarket Guru, Lempert is a distinguished author and speaker who alerts customers and business leaders to impending corporate and consumer trends, and empowers them to make educated purchasing and marketing decisions.

His website, www.supermarketguru.com , is now one of the leading food and health resources on the Internet, visited by more than 9 million people each year. It offers thorough food ratings, analyzes trends in food marketing and retail, and features health advice, unique recipes, nutrition analysis, allergy alerts and many other resources to help consumers understand their food, health, lifestyle and shopping options.