Bringing premium dips and spreads out from center-store and spotlighting them in the fresh perimeter is a great way to add variety and value to a number of perimeter departments.
Delphos, Ohio-based Lakeview Farms has almost the entire fresh perimeter covered. The company’s products can be found in the deli, produce, seafood and bakery departments as well as in center-store dairy.
Lakeview’s product assortment includes hummus, salsa, traditional dips, queso and seafood dips and salads.
Through acquisitions and organic growth and innovation, the company’s product mix has changed and grown dramatically over the 30+ years since Lakeview Farms was established, said Greg Klein, chief marketing officer.
Lakeview’s deli lineup currently has the most wide-ranging brand and product selection, with brands including Rojo’s, Tribe, Farmstand, La Mexicana and Fresh Creations brands.
And the recent purchase of Perimeter Brands will only make that lineup stronger, Klein said.
“We can now offer a broader product selection, with leading brands in the fresh salsa category, along with hummus and Mediterranean inspired dips, traditional deli dips, Hispanic inspired dips, layered dips and much more,” he said.
When it comes to trends, the dips/spreads category is seeing growth in plant-based products and other niche items like protein-added dips and queso, Klein said.
In all of those segments, Lakeview Farms is providing innovative new products, such as Rojo’s Cantina Dips, Rojo’s Queso and Fresh Creations Cauliflower Dips, he said.
New deli innovation from Lakeview, meanwhile, include the Rojo’s Cantina Dips (protein added), Tribe Mezze Dips (Mediterranean inspired Feta, Tzatziki and Layered Dips) and Fresh Creations Cauliflower Dips.
Made with beef and white chicken, Cantina Dips make the perfect snack with tortilla chips or a delicious meal in a burrito, said Eloise Cabral, marketing director for the Rojo’s brand.
“Protein-inspired dips have become increasingly popular with consumers,” she said. “Inspired by favorite Mexican dishes, Rojo’s Cantina Dips are delicious hot or cold.”
Cantina Dips come in a microwaveable 10-ounce container in three authentic Mexican flavor combinations:
- Chicken Fajita Dip – diced chicken, cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, roasted red peppers, green bell peppers and spices
- Beef Taco Dip – chopped beef, cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes and spices
- Chicken Enchilada Verde Dip – diced chicken, Neufchatel cheese, sour cream, tomatillos, cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, jalapenos, green chiles, and spices
A guac for every occasion
Having different sized options for every occasion allows Wholly Guacamole, a brand owned by Saginaw, Texas-based MegaMex Foods, to be a part of people’s everyday activities, said Damon Manak, Wholly Guacamole brand manager.
“Whether it’s a 15-ounce bowl for a gathering, 7.5-ounce for a family taco night or a 2-ounce mini to add to your salad at lunch or to an after-school snack, we have options for every occasion,” Manak said.
Wholly Guacamole’s flavor and format offerings also give consumers a variety of ways to enjoy the company’s products, he added.
From ready-to-go Classic and Spicy guacamoles and layered dips to its 100% Hass Avocado diced and smashed avocado, consumers can decide if they want to dip a chip and start enjoying or create their own personalized dips or spreads with an avocado that’s ripe and ready to use when they need it.
“Consumers can side-step the daily pain points that come with fresh fruit without compromising taste, quality or added preservatives,” Manak said. “Our new innovations are 100% avocado, including our diced products and smashed minis, and expand our offerings from the dip category to a new segment, the avocado lover.”
Usage occasions and frequency differ, so offering a single ingredient product in various portions and textures allows for new opportunity and segments, he added.
The evolution of the Wholly Guacamole has been in the direction of more convenient options for on-the-go and individual snacking. The company’s Wholly Guacamole Minis are a prime example.
“We understand that consumers need snack options that are viable,” Manak said. “Minis can be included in a lunch box or eaten right out of the package leaving no room for leftovers.”
The company has also seen a growing trend in larger pack formats, which provide more value to the consumer. In 2020, Wholly Guacamole transitioned its packaging from tray to bowls to better align with consumer trends. The bowls, Manak said, provide consumers a better eating experience as the perfect format for hosting gatherings along with a lid for those who need to save some for later.
Between produce and deli — the two fresh perimeter departments where Wholly Guacamole products are primarily found (some are also in dairy or Mexican specialty areas) — the deli is actually bigger in terms of overall category sales, as consumers are willing to pay a higher premium for guacamole, Manak said.
The deli target audience is more those focused on dips for gatherings, whereas the produce audience for Wholly Guacamole gravitates more to health, he added.
Avocados can be tricky to peel and prepare (and, before that, to figure out when they’re ripe), and Wholly prides itself on taking those potential hurdles out of the way for consumers, Manak said.
“We offer prepared and packaged options for guacamole and avocado lovers who want convenient, ripe avocado at the ready. We’ve pioneered the use of high-pressure processing (HPP) in the guacamole and avocado space because it allows us to provide convenience without compromising taste or adding preservatives.”
Wholly Guacamole celebrated National Guacamole Day Sept. 16 by launching a limited time “Don’t Hit Guac Bottom” subscription box, which was designed to equip guacamole fans and enthusiasts in the United States with ample supply for six months.
Each month, the “Don’t Hit Guac Bottom” box features a combination of different flavor varieties within the company’s portfolio along with unique recipe cards.
“The campaign gives fans a way to not only engage in the annual food holiday, but also be prepared for upcoming key-avocado moments such as Better Breakfast Month, tailgating season, holiday entertaining, New Year New You and the big game, without worry,” Manak said.
Fans were also given the chance to win one of five free boxes through a partnership with avocado lover and mom extraordinaire, Danielle Lucia Schaffer of City Girl Gone Mom.
Staying on trend
Rhome, Texas-based Fresh Innovations LLC, owner of the Yo Quiero! brand, has changed its mix over the years to keep on top of trends and provide consumers what they crave, said Jay Alley, owner and vice president of sales.
In 2021, Yo Quiero! capitalized on the popularity of avocado toast with its new all-natural, 100% Hass avocado mash.
“So far, it is doing very well in stores,” Alley said. “And we’re getting rave reviews. Consumers love the 2-ounce mini cups, which are perfect for toast, sandwiches and salads.”
Given the continued soaring demand for avocados, look for other new avo-based products in the near future, Alley added.
Yo Quiero! markets its guacamole, salsa, queso and other dip products in both instore deli and fresh produce departments. In most cases, the produce department sells the fresh, store-made or branded products and the deli department sells some branded product, but the majority of items are private label.
With the growing popularity of plant-based items, Fresh Innovations has seen a growth within produce departments as stores have begun to create sections that include plant-based cheeses, meats, pastas and other products.
“Avocado, plant-based, and keto-friendly items are all the rage,” Alley said. “Luckily, Yo Quiero! products are all keto-friendly, and our guacamole and salsas are 100% plant based.”
Also new this year, Yo Quiero! was one of the participants in the Healthy Family Project’s all-digital Power Your Lunchbox initiative, which is aimed at getting kids to prepare their own lunches.
Traditionally, Power Your Lunchbox promotions are geared toward parents. This year’s promotion is all about empowering kids, including a superhero theme as part of the effort to get kids excited about preparing their own lunches.
The promotion includes tips on how parents can help by prepping fruits and vegetables, then placing them in the fridge for kids to take out the next day as they prepared their lunchboxes for school.