Survey Prompts Changes to Retail Promotions

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. Food City, Fiesta Mart and Sedano's are among the retailers participating in a new Unilever experiential-marketing effort targeting Hispanics. Live cooking competitions are slated to take place at all three retailers as part of the second annual Desafio del Sabor (The Flavor Challenge), a cooking competition that involves such Unilever brands as Knorr, Hellmann's, Lipton Tea

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — Food City, Fiesta Mart and Sedano's are among the retailers participating in a new Unilever experiential-marketing effort targeting Hispanics.

Live cooking competitions are slated to take place at all three retailers as part of the second annual Desafio del Sabor (The Flavor Challenge), a cooking competition that involves such Unilever brands as Knorr, Hellmann's, Lipton Tea and Ragu. At least one participating Unilever brand must be included in each recipe entered in the competition.

Unlike last year, when the competitions took place mostly at Hispanic festivals, this year's event will also include live challenges at supermarkets, including a Food City store in Chandler, Ariz., two Fiesta Marts in Houston and two Sedano's in Miami.

“We want to bring more excitement to the store so that we can really engage passersby,” Ivette Alvarez Santoro, Unilever's multicultural marketing senior brand manager, told SN. “It's like ‘American Idol’ at the retail level.”

The new focus on retail-based cookoffs comes in response to findings from “Winning the Hispanic Shopping Trip,” a Unilever study released last year that examined Hispanic shopping behavior. The study found that while Hispanics shop less frequently than the general market, they have more large, stock-up trips. The goal of the revamped “Desafio del Sabor” is to help retailers capture more of these trips.

The winners of each store event will be eligible to compete in a televised cookoff in December for a $25,000 prize and a chance to win $1 million. Last year, several thousand peopled entered the contest. The winner was Chicago resident Fernando Fuentes, who received $10,000 and a trip for four to a Latin music awards show. Fuentes' recipe will be featured in Unilever's upcoming recipe book, “Vive Mejor” (“Live Better”).

Unilever has made other marketing changes in response to “Winning the Hispanic Shopping Trip.” Among the results: 35% of all Hispanic shopping trips occur after 6 p.m., compared to just 18% for the general market. Just 18% of Hispanics shop in the morning, compared to 29% of general market consumers.

The findings prompted Unilever to shift the times of many retail-based Hispanic promotions from early afternoon to the evening.

“We're now there after 6 p.m.,” Alvarez Santoro said, adding that this will be the case for the Desafio del Sabor cooking challenges.

Alvarez Santoro said future marketing modifications may be made in response to the study.

“We have the insights, now we're executing them in how we go to market,” she said. “We want to do all we can to help retailers capture more of this market.”

In other Hispanic news, Unilever is launching new bilingual packaging for brands that over-index among Hispanics. Such changes affect both the front and back of the package, including the Nutrition Facts panel.

“Hispanics check and read labels, so we want to make sure we're delivering information to them in an understandable way,” she said.

Last year, it launched bilingual labels for several food brands, including Knorr and select Lipton tea flavors. It is now doing the same for Caress soap.