NECTAR SELECTIONS JUICED UP FOR HISPANICS

MIAMI -- Many retailers in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods are using an expanded offering of canned fruit nectars to sweeten their juice aisle sales.Manufacturers are courting Hispanic consumers by expanding their nectar offerings to include more tropical varieties -- like guanabana -- that are unheard of in many supermarket aisles. And astute retailers in Hispanic neighborhoods have been adding these

MIAMI -- Many retailers in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods are using an expanded offering of canned fruit nectars to sweeten their juice aisle sales.

Manufacturers are courting Hispanic consumers by expanding their nectar offerings to include more tropical varieties -- like guanabana -- that are unheard of in many supermarket aisles. And astute retailers in Hispanic neighborhoods have been adding these products in a variety of package sizes and advertising them to draw shoppers.

For example, Winn-Dixie Stores in this market recently featured the 11.5-ounce cans of Libby's nectars as a two-for-$1 "Power Buy," vs. its regular price of 68 cents per can. Shoppers buying 10 cans received a Catalina Checkout Coupon for $1 off on their next Winn-Dixie shopping excursion.

Winn-Dixie had 17 stockkeeping units of canned nectars lining its shelves in 11.5-ounce single cans, 5.5-ounce six-packs and 46-ounce cans. In addition to the ubiquitous peach, apricot and pear, Winn-Dixie stocked more exotic tropical varieties, including banana, mango, guanabana, papaya and guava.

Officials at Winn-Dixie could not be reached for comment.

By comparison, Sedano's Supermarket, a local Hispanic-oriented chain, was selling the Libby's cans at two for $1.19.

"We find that the primary audience of the nectars is Hispanic, but both of our brands have a very broad appeal. The strawberry-banana, apricot, banana, papaya, peach and pear are enormously popular," said Terri Haywood, communications manager at Nestle Beverage Co., Glendale, Calif., which manufactures the Libby's and Kern's brands.

Other leading nectar brands include Mistic, Goya, Sun, Knudsen and Looza.

Libby's is primarily sold in the East and Midwest, while Kern's is available in the West and Texas.

In addition to cans and cartons, Nestle offers Kern's nectars in quart glass bottles and 46-ounce plastic bottles. The company is also planning to make available a 46-ounce plastic bottle version of Nestle nectars.

According to Information Resources Inc., Chicago, the bottled nectar arena is one of the fastest-growing segments of the juice aisle. For the 52 weeks ended March 29, 1998, dollar sales jumped 42.3% to $12.2 million, while unit sales skyrocketed 87.3% to 8.9 million units.

Sales figures on canned nectars were not available.