KANSAS CITY – As supermarkets increase the focus on convenience with a variety of prepared and ready-to-eat meal solutions, spices and dressings are becoming a staple for the deli.
“Supermarkets have become a destination for more than just ‘grocery shopping,’ instead they have evolved significantly and are more convenience-focused, developing popular prepackaged take-away items from soups, salads and sandwiches to sushi and hot bars. “Said Deborah Sidney, Senior Brand Manager at Walden Farms based in Linden, New Jersey. “Consumers are looking for a wide variety of condiments / dressings offered in these areas to use and try new products; Ultimately, this increases customer loyalty and increases the test version and take-away shelf. ”
As the last year brought more consumers to home eating, the chilled salad dressings category posted the 52 weeks leading up to the 18th, said Chris Blanford, Sandpoint, vice president of Litehouse Foods in Idaho.
“This growth can be attributed to an increase in home meal consumption, with consumers using dressings for a variety of occasions throughout the day,” said Blanford. “There is an opportunity to cross goods throughout the store, including the deli where our dressings are a delicious combination with pizza, wings, sandwiches and more. Because of their versatility, our chilled dressings are ideal for cross-merchandising across different chilled retail departments. ”
Classic and ethnic flavors are taking over the word
As with many categories last year, classic and well-known flavors made up the largest share of the shopping basket in the spices and dressing segments last year. For Litehouse Foods, the Ranch, Blue Cheese and Caesar chilled dressings saw the largest increases in 2020.
At the end of last year Litehouse introduced two new flavors: Hatch Chile Ranch and Sesame Miso.
“Flavored Ranch Dressings, like the Jalapeno Ranch and our new Hatch Chile Ranch, are top performers in the chilled salad dressing category, meeting consumer demand for a classic taste with a twist,” said Blanford. “Asian flavors have seen growth of almost 10% in the natural spices, dressings and marinades category (Technomic 2018 & 2019 l SPINS Total US Attribute Study May 2020). We developed Sesame Miso to offer consumers a versatile product in trendy flavors that can be used in many ways, including as a dip for pot stickers and spring rolls or as a marinade for salmon and chicken. ”
For Walden Farms, Sidney said that Thousand Island, Honey Dijon, Ranch, Raspberry Vinaigrette, and Chipotle Ranch are among the top-selling dressings. The Original and Thick & Spicy Barbecue Sauces from Walden Farms are also top sellers for consumers looking for a strong taste.
“Walden Farms Dressings go perfectly with sandwich types like Thousand Island or Russian for a Reuben, Bacon Ranch or Creamy Bacon tastes delicious on a turkey sandwich or wrap and our balsamic vinaigrette tastes delicious on a grilled chicken sandwich with roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella, “said Sidney. “When it comes to ready meals, Walden Farms Honey Dijon, Blue Cheese and Ranch go well with wings and chicken nuggets and are ideal for raw food platters.”
Focus on healthy things
In the aftermath of the pandemic, Sidney said Walden Farms is seeing strong product sales as people return to their routines, focus on their health and wellness goals, and lose any extra weight they may have gained during the lockdown.
“Both vegan and keto friendly options along with carbohydrate-free and calorie-free attributes seem to have gained more appeal with consumers over the past year as they continue to achieve their health and wellness goals through lifestyle diet trends and look for better options. ” She said.
Walden Farms offers a full range of specialty spices and nutritional enhancers that are free from artificial flavors and colors and made from real vegetables, fruit fibers and ingredients. With zero calories, zero net carbohydrates, zero sugar and zero fat, the dressings appeal to all types of consumers – those who do not want to waste their calories on high-fat dressings and spices, or who follow a vegan, gluten-free or ketogenic diet. They also resonate with people who lead healthy lifestyles or are trying to control their weight or control diabetes.
Blanford noted that consumers are increasingly looking for products with claims like “no added sugar” and “no additives or artificial preservatives” which has spurred the release of Litehouse’s latest products:
- Vegetable dressings, dips and mayos from Green Garden that are GMO-free, vegan and gluten-free.
- Litehouse Purely Balanced – a chilled Greek yogurt-based salad dressing that, with 45 calories per serving, 0g added sugar, and no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners, is an ideal choice for consumers trying to meet specific nutritional needs and high quality.
Blanford encourages retailers to cross-merchandize to provide healthy meal ideas to customers.
“Being able to show versatility and uses can help increase purchase intent. Retailers should consider creating a second display as a one-stop shop that combines condiments or dressings with other related products, ”he said. “For example, designing a date night display at home with dressings, fresh produce, a protein, and a dessert can help inspire ideas and increase the cup size.”