What marketing strategy works best for herbs and garlic in retail stores?

Answers to that question vary, but the general tenor is common: Feed the consumer ideas about how to use the products.

That’s a major undercurrent of the retail strategy at Coosemans D.C., based in Jessup, Md., said Lolo Mengel, co-owner and general manager.

“Provide the customer with cooking ideas,” she said.

“We’re providing recipes, and we’ll be coming out with an interactive display where they have different pack sizes and varieties that makes their meal planning a lot easier.”

Avoiding complications is crucial, Mengel said.

“Most shoppers are looking to run in and grab something and go home and prepare it and at a price point that’s more attractive,” she said.

“We can do that.”

There are numerous ways to get the customer thinking about how to use herbs, said Camilo Penalosa, vice president of business development and partner with Miami-based Infinite Herbs and Specialties LLC.

“Displays is one thing, cross-merchandising is another. Recipes is another one,” Penalosa said.

“We put out recipes with pictures on most of our recipes.”

The company has freshened up its website, where visitors can find a growing list of recipes and their nutritional values, Penalosa said.

“We’re inviting people to go there because people are looking to eat healthy,” he said.

“We also include in our website more videos on how to store herbs, because that’s one thing people are concerned bout. Those are promotional materials we’re doing to help our consumers.”

Setting up a garlic center works for retailers, said Patsy Ross, vice president of marketing for Gilroy, Calif.-based Christopher Ranch.

“It has lots of types of garlic product,” Ross said. “We have chopped in jars, peeled, in pesto, etc.”
Product placement is another important tool, Ross added.

“The other thing in the bulk garlic is I don’t think it makes it on consumers’ shopping lists. It’s more a last-minute decision, so we find if it’s merchandised next to tomatoes and/or avocados, it really stands out,” she said.

“That will help those impulse purchases.”

Pricing strategies can determine sales, as well, Ross said.

“Pricing the garlic by the each instead of the pound is kind of perceived better value,” she said.

Retailers also can combine varieties in one display, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations for World Variety Produce Inc., Los Angeles.

“In terms of a typical set, your dominant space is your conventional garlic and organic, and a hook profit strip with elephant and profit strip of black and highly specialized varietals,” Schueller said.

Cross-merchandising is another effective strategy, Schueller said.

“It’s often a garlic, spinach and onion display, with potatoes, as well,” he said.

Specialty garlic varieties, like black garlic and elephant garlic, would complement that kind of display, Schueller said.

“Elephant and black garlic has similar demographic to the consumer who wants pearl and shallots and boiler onions. That’s where you’d see it,” he said.