ShopRite: Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Puglia province of Italy, ShopRite's Extra Virgin Olive Oil caused quite a stir among the PLMA focus group panel, with judges applauding its taste/value equation.
"It had the aromatic qualities of an extra virgin olive oil and had a premium taste to it, especially since the price was $6," said Bret Thorn, assistant editor at Nation's Restaurant News and PLMA panel judge. "It still had some of those appealing kind of grassy qualities that olive oil is supposed to have but often cheap olive oil doesn't or is limited in," he added.
The one-liter bottle, which is tall and rectangular with a square base, complements ShopRite's other imported, premium store-branded items, which include a roasted pepper from Greece and a Panatone from Italy, according to Karen Meleta, corporate communications, Wakefern Food Corp., owner of the ShopRite banner. The product regularly retails for $5.99.
Taking about eight to 12 months to develop, the olive oil was rolled out last year and promoted at $3.99 per bottle with a $2 off savings through the ShopRite Price Plus shopper loyalty card. It is merchandised within the retailer's olive oil set.
"Extra virgin olive oil is one of the fastest-growing segments in the olive oil category," said Meleta. "Part of the reason is, it's the good fat, so there's an appeal to customers that are looking for the taste profile of extra virgin olive oil, as well as the health benefits of it."
Whole Foods: 365 Fresh Organic Blue Cheese Dressing
Whole Foods Market's 365 Fresh Organic Blue Cheese Dressing is made with aged organic blue cheese, expeller-pressed organic soy oil, organic apple cider vinegar, cracked black peppercorns and a hint of garlic. Certified organic by Quality Assurance International, a 12-ounce bottle sells for about $2.98. In keeping with the requirements Whole Foods places on all its private-label products, the dressing's labeling contains new allergen information statements for dairy, peanuts and tree nuts, and the product's manufacturer used only ingredients derived from non-genetically engineered crops. "Everything about it seemed very natural," said Richard Gerstman, chairman of Interbrand U.S. and a PLMA judge, referring to the product's look and taste. "I consider [package design an] important part of selling foods. The taste was good; we tried [it] on crackers and it worked well with the crackers," Gerstman said.
According to the retailer, all of its organic salad dressings are made in small batches and refrigerated to keep flavors fresh. Other flavors in the Fresh Organic line include balsamic vinaigrette, caesar, ginger, miso, ranch, sesame goddess and wasabi.