SMALLER BRANDS USE NOVEL PATHS TO SHELF SPACE

How does a small importer with an extensive line of genuine imported Italian pasta and condiments gain a toehold on American store shelves? International Food & Gourmet Products, San Francisco, has one creative answer.It pays $75 or $100 per month to "rent" space for its 3-foot or 4-foot metal Metro Racks under a novel six-month program. Rack sizes can vary according to need, but the retailer can

How does a small importer with an extensive line of genuine imported Italian pasta and condiments gain a toehold on American store shelves? International Food & Gourmet Products, San Francisco, has one creative answer.

It pays $75 or $100 per month to "rent" space for its 3-foot or 4-foot metal Metro Racks under a novel six-month program. Rack sizes can vary according to need, but the retailer can obtain a complete range of condiments, sauces, Italian wine vinegars, pasta products, olive oils and olives under the Cucina Italiana brand from this one source.

This program has proven to be especially appealing to independent retailers who would not otherwise be interested, or able, to merchandise a whole range of Italian products like this in their stores. IFGP also provides strong point of sale support, a customized initial set-up, coordinated shelf talkers and recipe cards, demo support, and advertising and coupon support.

RiceTec Inc., Alvin, Texas, marketer of Texmati brand rice, took dual branding to new heights when it introduced Chef's Originals, a collection of original rice dishes created by some of the best-known chefs in the world, including Paul Prudhomme and Mark Miller.

The packages are in bright, earthy colors with the appropriate, recognizable logo from the chef involved. This dual branding should help this well accepted cooperative rice brand along even further in market penetration and consumer acceptance.

An extremely interesting new line of salad dressing claims to be the first gourmet brand with braille labels. This in itself should aid the merchandising activity of this new line and offers some enormous possibilities for expansion in the future.

The Carmela's Gourmet brand from Monterey, Calif., offers Vinaigrette Authentique and Balsamic Vinaigrette in 12.5 ounce bottles with a braille identification.

Lately, other manufacturers seeking access to supermarket shelves are trying to build followings on the Internet. The Antique Mall and Crown Restaurant in Indianola, Miss., is one, marketing its Catfish Pate and other delicacies on the new Farmers Market at Net City. Check out its web site at [email protected]

Brazos Country Foods, Bryan, Texas., is one of the charter members of ProductZoo, an electronic version of a shopping mall. It shows prospective customers products in a forum that allows them to place their orders through the Internet.

It is designed with the latest Netscape technology, including a credit card security system that protects the privacy of Internet shoppers. It offers colorful graphics and photographs, quick response times and a "shopping cart" for ease of shopping. Brazos is an extensive line of salsas, dips and sauces, all featuring foods with "Texas style."