As part of the introduction for Open Nature™, a delicious, 100 percent natural line of high-quality foods available exclusively at Safeway, Inc. (NYSE:SWY - News), a picnic table spanning the length of a football field was created by Safeway and set the Guinness World Record for Longest Picnic Table this past Saturday, on National Picnic Day. Determined by a Guinness World Records® Official, the record was set at 12:45 p.m. PST on June 18, 2011 with the table measuring a total of 305-feet. In the midst of the excitement, Food Network Chef Tyler Florence demonstrated recipes for picnic guests using Safeway's Open Nature 100 percent natural line of high-quality foods.
"It was astounding to see so many people come together around a single table to enjoy a meal made with our Open Nature products," said Mike Minasi, president of marketing for Safeway. "Our customers have been asking for a natural product line and Safeway delivered, setting a very high standard for what natural should mean—100 percent natural, 100 percent real. We are so proud to roll this new brand out to our shoppers and we knew that a giant picnic on National Picnic Day was the perfect way to do it."
Given that the word "natural" is not regulated by the FDA, the term's inclusion on food packaging has left many consumers skeptical of the claim. Safeway recognized this growing concern and developed the Open Nature product line to provide their customers with great-tasting products made with ingredients from natural sources, containing nothing artificial. Open Nature features an expansive line of products across multiple categories with a promise of everyday low prices so that shoppers can add natural foods to every meal without breaking the budget.
With several published recipe books that emphasize the importance of home-cooked, nourishing meals, celebrity chef Tyler Florence was an ideal fit for the Open Nature picnic. Florence, a longtime Safeway shopper, used a variety of Open Nature products to create the recipes he prepared onsite. He also enjoyed mingling with guests and posing for photos.
"With the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, hundreds of smiling guests, and the World's Longest Picnic Table covered with mouth-watering food, I was definitely in my element," said Florence, a Food Network chef and successful restaurateur. "Bringing people together around a delicious meal is a true passion of mine so it was an honor and joy to take part in this special event."
Guests at the National Picnic Day event included Safeway shoppers, employees, San Francisco Bay Area bloggers and others who won a seat at the table through an @Safeway #OpenNature Re-Tweet-to-Win contest on Twitter and through a separate sweepstakes on Safeway's Facebook page the week before the event.
"I can't think of a better way to kick off summer than with a record-breaking picnic," said Guinness World Records Record Manager Kimberly Partrick. "After measuring the 305-foot table that set the record for the World's Longest Picnic Table, I was happy to sit down and enjoy an all-natural, delicious meal."
Consumers can now find a wide variety of Open Nature items exclusively at Safeway stores, and additional Open Nature products will be launched throughout 2011.
By the Numbers
305 feet was the measured length of the World's Longest Picnic Table, which is 5 feet longer than a football field and equivalent to 38 standard picnic tables
7,176 feet of FSC Certified Douglas Fir wood and 1,032 bolts were used to construct the table
It took 4 people 10 days to build the World's Longest Picnic Table
The World's Longest Picnic Table weighs more than 11,304 lbs
This table breaks the previous Guinness World Record (248 feet, 2 inches) set in New Orleans, October 2009
405 people sat around the World's Longest Picnic Table at one time
For more information about Open Nature, go to www.safeway.com.
Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America, based on sales. The company operates 1,694 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $41.1 billion in 2010. The company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY. The Open Nature line is an addition to Safeway's portfolio of health and wellness brands, joining O Organics™ and Eating Right®.
About Tyler Florence
Tyler Florence is a local chef who has hosted and appeared on many national shows, including Tyler's Ultimate, which currently airs on The Food Network. His shared passion with Safeway for quality food made him the ideal chef to prepare the offerings at the National Picnic Day event.