Southwest region invites retailers’ experiments in drawing consumers

01/04/2011 01:54:33 PM
Susie Cable

“That Hispanic demographic has a tendency to have a higher produce consumption rate than Caucasian consumers,” Reinauer said. “I think some smaller retail markets have always realized that, but now we’re seeing larger players starting to understand that.”

In June 2009, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. remodeled a Neighborhood Market in Phoenix and opened it as the chain’s second Supermercado de Walmart. The first Supermarcado opened in Houston earlier that year.

Bashas’ Food City Supermarkets is an Arizona chain that targets the same market. It features on its website the prickly pear cactus as a popular vegetable. The Phoenix Food City’s Dec. 15 weekly ad circular featured cilantro bunches priced at six for 96 cents, 3 pounds of limes for 99 cents, banana leaves for 99 cents a pound, green chilies at 3 pounds for 99 cents, and jicama priced at 4 pounds for $1.

The Kroger Co. opened its first Fry’s Mercado in 2006 in the Phoenix area, according to The Arizona Republic. Pro’s Ranch Markets, a California-based supermarket with what it calls a “Hispanic store concept,” opened in Phoenix in 2002, and has added stores to the area in six of the last eight years, according to its website.

As in many other North American markets, produce suppliers in the Southwest are now targeting marketing directly at consumers, said Jose Felix, partner in Delightful Quality Produce Co., Mesa, Ariz. Felix said his company uses several techniques to draw consumers’ interest and to familiarize them with Delightful’s products and labels.

Its main strategy is working with Beau MacMillan, chef at Elements restaurant at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain resort and spa, Paradise Valley, Ariz., to provide exclusive recipes to consumers through “Beau Mac’s Delightful Secrets” program. Delightful’s labels for its tomatoes are double sided, with a MacMillan-created recipe on the back of each. The recipe is created specifically for the type of tomato that the label is on.

“We’re trying to differentiate ourselves and the types of tomatoes that we’re selling,” Felix said.

Recipes are changed to reflect seasons or holidays, Felix said. He said he expects recipes to be available in the next few months on Delightful’s website, http://delightfulquality.com.

Delightful has a one-year contract with MacMillan to provide recipes. The contract started in about August, Felix said. The contract doesn’t specify the number of recipes to be provided.



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