Value, convenience draw attention of garlic and herb marketers

11/03/2009 04:37:12 PM
Abbie Stutzer

Garlic and herb industry specialists predict that retail and foodservice sectors will be interested in co-marketing, value and convenience products this year.

Louis Hymel, director of purchasing and marketing of Spice World Inc., Orlando, Fla., said there's been a slight shift in garlic foodservice consumption.

"Foodservice operators have tightened their belts and are looking for value."

"Everyday low price programs and pricing the garlic by the each versus by the pound works well," said Patsy Ross, vice president of marketing for Christopher Ranch, Gilroy, Calif.

Some in the industry are beginning to see chefs use convenient garlic products to save time.

"Peeled garlic has changed the restaurant industry's use of garlic. Twenty years ago, chefs and kitchen help would spend hours cracking and peeling garlic to use in recipes. Today most restaurants use whole peeled garlic, saving labor. They use more garlic in their menus now because of the convenience of peeled garlic," said John Duffus, director of sales and marketing for The Garlic Co., Bakersfield, Calif.

Hymel said new product trends also seem to be leaning towards convenience products.

"People are always looking for convenience along with time saving value-added items. We pack and process many different varieties and sizes of fresh, peeled, ready-to-use jar garlic, such as minced, chopped, roasted, marinated, pickled, ginger and pesto. Our ready-to-use jar garlic brings value in many ways to the consumer," Hymel said.

Co-marketing is a big promotion that will be used in the industry this year as well.

Proper store placement of garlic and herbs is important when co-marketing with other products.

Ross said she recommends retailers place fresh garlic around tomatoes or avocados.

Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Frieda's Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif., said she thinks garlic and onion displays are important but secondary displays near tomatoes and basil also are important.

Andrew Walsh, president and owner of Vida Fresh, Vernon, Calif., said he thinks cross-marketing herb blends in the meat department could drive sales.

Camilo Penalosa, vice president and partner of Infinite Herbs and Specialties, Everett, Mass., said the company is pushing to cross merchandise garlic with seafood products, and with basil, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes.

Special events and unique recipes are helping garlic's popularity, too.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival Association has played host to the Gilroy Garlic Festival for 31 years.

Christopher Ranch, LJB Farms, ConAgra Foods, and LANE Enterprises are involved with the festival, said Kristen Carr, president of the 2009 Gilroy Garlic Festival.

While this year's garlic festival had three cooking events, including a recipe presentation, the most anticipated competition for this year's festival was the Garlic Showdown on July 26.

Four Northern California chefs, including Jamie Lauren, who was featured on cable television's "Top Chef," participated in an Iron Chef-like competition. The host was Fabio Vivani from Bravo television network's "Top Chef" series.

Carr said everyone was excited to see Fabio and try unique garlic recipes.



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