54 FEBRUARY 2018 WINSIGHT GROCERY BUSINESS
Highlighting Health Claims Hits Home
Undoubtedly, cross-merchandising and promoting peppers is fruitless if shoppers are unfamiliar with the various
pepper types. “Educating the shoppers on the different
varieties is important,” says Alex Jackson Berkley, senior
sales manager at Frieda’s Specialty Produce, based in
Los Alamitos, Calif. Last year, the company expanded its
fresh pepper program to new growing partners in multiple
growing regions to offer a year-round supply of several
varieties, including serrano, red fresno, de arbol, shishito,
Manzano and ghost peppers. It also provides retailers
with informative material to educate its shoppers. “
Frieda’s clamshell program offers information on the flavor
profile, heat level and usage so shoppers understand the
difference between the different varieties,” Berkley says.
But heat and exotic flavor profiles aren’t the only qualities shoppers seek from spicy produce. Consumers are
increasingly focused on special diets and fresh items as
interest in health and wellness continues to rise, according
to a report by Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts titled
Fresh Produce: U. S. Market Trends and Opportunities.
“People who come to the produce department are
immediately looking for a healthier food group,” says
Myers of Willy’s. Diet and superfood claims are boost-
ing produce gains, and fresh peppers are abundant in
little-known nutrients and health benefits. “Red peppers
are full of vitamin B, and one cup of bell peppers [is] 157%
of all your vitamin C and E for the day.”
Low in fat and a natural antioxidant, all pepper varieties
are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic
acid and fiber, according to WebMD—and hot peppers have
potential to boost metabolism and even suppress appetite.
To complement vibrant displays and cross-merchandising strategies, retailers can provide educational resources
and recipe ideas in-store and online to call out peppers’
health benefits to target shoppers seeking out the latest
plant-based diet trends. Albertsons Cos., for instance,
recently highlighted a recipe for a roasted cauliflower and
red pepper soup on its website and social media channels,
with health-conscious consumers and New Year’s resolution seekers at top of mind.
A Taste for Adventure
While health and wellness trends continue to drive sales
in the produce department, the nation’s ever-growing
Hispanic population can also be attributed to the rising
popularity of hot peppers, as this demographic is more
profitable than total U.S. shoppers, according to research
from Acosta and Univision Communications Inc. The
sixth edition of The Why Behind The Buy: U.S. Hispanic
Shopper study found that Hispanics shop more frequently
across all grocery trip types, and those with children spend
over $150 more yearly than total U. S. shoppers.
Retailers are increasingly tapping into the Hispanic
grocery sector. Albertsons Cos., for example, recently
acquired an equity stake in Garland, Texas-based Latino
grocery chain El Rancho Supermercado to specifically
cater to this demographic, while conventional grocers are
spicing up their produce aisles with authentic Hispanic
pepper varieties such as chipotle, jalapeno and poblano.
But let’s not forget multicultural consumers—the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, responsible for
92% of population growth from 2000 to 2014, according
to Nielsen. African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic consumers are not only influencing grocery product
categories, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but also
the taste preferences of non-Hispanic white consumers
and society overall, which has increased consumers’ taste
for spicy foods.
“People love that,” says Myers of Willy’s. “They
want to try new things and experience different
types of cultures in their foods now.” Adventurous
millennials, in particular, continue to seek new, ethnic flavors and hot peppers. Chili pepper consumption grew 5% annually from 2011 to 2016, according
to the Packaged Facts report, and jalapenos gained
more mainstream appeal due to not only the growing Hispanic population, but also an expanded
interest in Mexican and South American cuisine.
Thus, it’s safe to say, peppers will continue to be
smokin’ hot for the foreseeable future.
Growth of hot cherry
peppers sales in the
52 weeks ending
Oct. 28, 2017.
Source: Nielsen FreshFacts
We often cross-merchandise peppers
in our meat departments with everyday
meal solutions in mind, in addition to
holiday-driven displays.” —Jannah Jablonowski, Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle has
from bulk to