SALINAS, Calif. — The Nunes Co. is trying something new with its promotions this spring: free.

The Salinas-based company is collaborating with salad dressing brand Marie’s to promote romaine hearts and iceberg, said Matt Seeley, vice president of marketing.

“It’s a great opportunity and time for us to do this,” Seeley said.

With the Marie’s/Foxy lettuce promotion, the consumer receives $1 off the purchase price when buying both items, Seeley said.

The company also is running programs with retailers “where we will place an (instantly redeemable coupon) on bags of Foxy romaine hearts, good for one free head of Foxy lettuce or Foxy celery,” Seeley said.

The free aspect of the promotion is new, Seeley said, because the company usually caps its discounts at about 50 cents depending on the product.
A well-organized promotion can double the volume of leafy greens moving through retailers and would help keep people buying lettuces at a time when consumers are watching all their expenses, Seeley said.

President Tom Nunes Jr., said the company is careful when planning the free promotion because of the millions of dollars it has invested to promote its Foxy brand.

Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc., also is starting a promotion in May online and in retail stores.

Dole will be promoting its mandarin oranges with 55 cents- or $1-off coupons, along with discounts for Fresh Gourmet croutons, Athenos’ feta cheese, and Marie’s dressing, said Robert Hall, associate brand manager.