Salad Toppers

Merchandising brings context to consumers and salad toppings are a great example of that, according to Cassi Shindelblower, retail marketing director of Westlake, CA-based Fresh Gourmet Company.

“I don’t think the majority of shoppers are following a strict recipe when they build a salad,” says Shindelblower. “When they come into the store at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, they’re trying to think of what to make for dinner and trying to think of what components go together on a salad.”

“That’s why we try and create the tie-ins with Avocados from Mexico and NatureSweet tomatoes -— they’re intuitive things but we’re just reminding consumers to put together the ingredients they already know and love.”

She highlights the success of Avocados from Mexico’s salad hub, which include tie-ins, recipes and a “gamification” area where you could play with different ingredients to build your own salad.

Other salad tie-ins selling well at Fresh Gourmet have been its Parmesan and Asiago cheese crisps.

“They’re a really high-flavor great salad topping, and there are a lot of real intuitive pairings with the Parmesan on the Caesar salad, for example,” she says. “They’ve got a about a year-long shelf life. Because they’ve been baked and they’re crispy, they don’t need to be refrigerated.”

“It doubles as a snack in many cases — they’re also delicious on things like baked potatoes.”

David Sasuga, owner of Fresh Origins, San Marcos, CA, says herb, flower and fruit crystals are well suited for salads and other items in the fresh produce section.

“They are ideal salad toppers and add flavor, color and crunch,” he says.

They can be sprinkled on a fruit and vegetable-based smoothie.”

Paul Laubscher, director of marketing with Calbee North America, based in Fairfield, CA, says his team has received so much consumer enthusiasm for using Harvest Snaps’ snack crisps on salads that they recently developed and are launching ‘Salad Toppers Green Pea Crisps’ in 2019.

“The early account acceptance, going into the autumn account call season, has been extremely positive, and consumers rave about having a gluten-free, vegetable-based alternative to croutons made with bread,” says Laubscher.

“Harvest Snaps can play a key role in bringing several produce brands together to solve consumer needs and grow the department,” he says. “An example of this was a joint salad promotion where five brands joined together to provide a salad meal solution consisting of lettuce, tomatoes, salad dressing, bratwurst and Harvest Snaps.”