As shoppers resolve to eat more healthfully during the new year, they’ll likely be looking for tasty accompaniments for the salads, fruits and vegetables that they’ll be incorporating into their diets.
Capitalize on increased sales of bagged salads and other healthful fare at this time of year by highlighting a variety of dips and dressings.
“The category has just exploded over the last few years,” says Gene Versteeg, produce buyer and merchandiser for Market of Choice, a group of eight stores based in Eugene, Ore.
click image to zoomPamela RiemenschneiderVersteeg stocks a variety of dressings from such major suppliers as Litehouse and Marie’s. He offers several vinaigrettes and classics such as ranch and Thousand Island as well as organic dressings.
He also features some gourmet dressings from River House in Pacific City, Ore.
“Price is not an issue” for the locally made dressings made from premium ingredients, he says. A 12-ounce bottle sells for up to $7.99.
“(Shoppers) see the freshness of it,” he says.
At Market of Choice, Versteeg merchandises dressings across the top of the bagged salad case. Six or seven years ago, he started out with about 4 feet and now has displays that reach 20 feet.
Still, he says he constantly evaluates sales to determine the best sellers and deletes the slow movers.
“The new fad is the yogurt-based dressings,” he says, such as those offered by Marie’s and Bolthouse Farms.
Versteeg also has noticed a trend to more healthful dressings, especially vinaigrettes.
“We don’t sell very much Thousand Island anymore,” he says.
The stores also feature a wide range of Litehouse dips along with several locally made dips, which he merchandises in the value-added section with vegetable trays, bagged baby carrots and broccoli and cauliflower florets.
Best-selling dips are jalapeno ranch and homestyle ranch.
Versteeg typically features one dip or one dressing in his two-week ad.
Sid’s IGA Market in Seaview, Wash., features about nine kinds of Litehouse dressings, says Robert Smith, produce manager.
The rotation changes periodically, but blue cheese remains the top seller by far, he says. Ranch and Thousand Island are other favorites.
Sid’s features dressings on ad about once a month.
The store displays them on two 4-foot shelves in a refrigerated case on a salad wall about 12 feet from the bulk lettuce display.
For health-conscious shoppers, Smith offers light ranch and light blue cheese offerings.