The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and Tajín International want to heat summer citrus sales with a spicy retail sampling and promotional program.

Tajín sampling program spices up Chilean citrus salesThey partnered on a program last summer with two retailers — Northgate Markets and Jon’s International Marketplace — both of which have a large Latino customer base.

“We were both happy with the lift during the demonstrations and for a couple of weeks after that,” said Eric Patrick, U.S. business development manager for Guadalahara, Mexico-based Tajín International.

Based on the sampling program’s overwhelming success, the association and Tajín hope to expand it to more retailers this summer, said Karen Brux, association managing director based in San Carlos, Calif.

Details are still being worked out, Patrick said.

Tajín, a chili powder-based seasoning available in a handful of different flavors, has been popular among Hispanic customers and in retailers with core Hispanic customers for more than a decade, he said.

“They grew up with the brand and the thought of putting seasoning on their produce items,” he said.

But recently the idea of mixing savory seasonings with produce items has gone more mainstream.

“It’s a kind of popular flavor profile with the sweet and savory,” Patrick said. Current food trends have made the combination appealing to a wider range of consumers, he said.

During last summer’s samplings, customers were able to taste Chilean citrus with and without the seasoning, creating more of an interactive experience than just receiving a slice of fruit, he said.

“They were asked what they liked better — with or without Tajín — and it created more of a dynamic experience,” Patrick said.

He also credited the demonstration teams for their background knowledge of the products and their strong customer service.