Instore - June 2018 - 16
Today's consumers have a more sophisticated palate and are more
inclined to explore different foods and flavors, says Lorenz.
"This has been fueled by the integration of cultures and backgrounds
in the U.S., which has resulted in a growing number of specialty
food companies and brands on the market," he says. "From the La
Panzanella perspective, we are taking our Mini Croccantini and new
Oat Thins cracker sampling to another level of sophistication. Instead
of offering a demo program with only a cheese partner, we will often
add a fruit puree and present a cheese and fruit combination. This
pairing often surprises and delights the shopper and encourages them
to purchase multiple items and categories within the deli or store."
La Panzanella's new Oat Thins line was developed with flavor in mind
on multiple fronts with the company focusing on the cracker as a
vehicle to carry the cheeses and other deli items, Lorenz says. "But we
also gave them a rich enough flavor to be enjoyed on their own."
The company landed on three flavor options: Toasted Oat, a base flavor
that pairs well with anything; Rosemary, its No. 2 selling flavor; and
Roasted Garlic, its fastest-growing flavor. "We knew we needed at least
three flavors to launch. Enough to give retail buyers a choice as well
as providing shoppers with a nice variety," Lorenz says. "As we moved
down the development funnel, we kept coming back to flavors that we
have had success with in our Croccantini line."
Several of the new Crunchmaster products focus on intriguing flavors,
like the Chile Pasilla Multi-Seed Crackers, made with real pasillas,
which are sweet, smoky peppers from Oaxaca, Mexico's culinary
center. The new Tuscan Peasant Crackers in Fire Roasted Tomato
Basil flavor are billed as crunchy, robust baked crackers with a flavor
inspired by old-world recipes.
"We also look at ingredient and flavor trends when we develop new
products. We know that 'flavor' is a powerful tool to drive cracker sales
(Mintel 2016 Cracker Report) and that millennials
are looking for more flavors, especially sweet,
savory, and spicy," Holman says. "Coconut
is a hot ingredient and flavor profile, with
almost 5,000 new food and beverage products being introduced in the last three
years with coconut as an ingredient
Intriguing flavors, like pasilla pepper,
are a big part of Crunchmaster's new
Best merchandising practices
"Ideally, our Croccantini crackers and the new
line of Gluten-Free Oat Thins are merchandised above or below the cheese cases," says
La Panzanella's Steve Lorenz. "This location reminds shoppers to grab some tasty
crackers to complement the cheeses and
charcuterie they are purchasing. It also makes
it convenient for the deli manager and team
16 * JUNE 2018 * instore
to suggestive sell items that help the customer
create a nice cheese board. Lastly, it creates a
good location for us to set up sampling tables
so that shoppers can experience the flavors and
textures first hand."
Kim Holman with TH Foods agrees while
offering some additional advice.
"New pairings are always fun, like mixing
sweet with savory, or adding some heat to a
classic cheese and cracker stack, but offering
consumers a better-for-you version of classic
pairings is always a win," she says.
Lorenz says solid secondary locations can
include shippers on racks, which provide great
displays in the deli near other complementary
items like hummus or cured meats.
"Many times, when we are cross-promoting with
a cheese brand and a winery, we will secure
secondary displays in the wine department
to suggestive sell ways for the shopper to put
together special-occasion entertaining options,"
LA PANZANELLA, ©NEILLOCKHART - STOCK.ADOBE.COM
Driving sales isn't necessarily rocket science
when it comes to crackers: they need to be
placed near cheeses, dips, spreads and other
foods that pair well.