COMPTON, Calif. -- Ralphs Grocery Co. here is promoting a new line of El Torito brand grocery products, named after the restaurant chain.
The packaged-goods line, a joint venture of El Torito Restaurants, Irvine, Calif., and Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn., is being tested in the southern California market and may be rolled out nationally if it is successful, according to Jeffrey Grev, group product manager for new products at Hormel.
According to Grev, the line made its debut at Ralphs late last month, and El Torito products were featured on the front page of the chain's in-store circular. The circular, good from May 19 to June 1, had cents-off coupons on El Torito salsas, sauces, sweet-corn mixes and salad dressings.
A customer who bought five El Torito products received a Ralphs club checkout coupon for $5 off a dinner check of $25 or more at any El Torito restaurant. Ralphs was unavailable for comment.
Barney Acselrod, marketing manager at Lucky Stores, southern California division, Buena Park, said restaurant-brand products often do well in retail stores. "There's not a lot of history behind it, but we have had success with Claim Jumper barbecue sauce," said Acselrod. "We'll be getting El Torito products in about a month, and I think they'll do well."
El Torito products are also in Vons stores, based in Arcadia. Within one or two months, all southern California chains are expected to have the new grocery line, including Stater Bros. Markets, Colton; Certified Grocers of California, Los Angeles; Save Mart, Modesto, and Safeway, Pleasanton. "We've been building our brand through a variety of venues for more than 45 years," said Joe Herrera, senior vice president of marketing for El Torito. "We are confident that our relationship with Hormel will only enhance our brand identity and ultimately drive sales at both the retail and restaurant level."
Hormel has packaged some of the most popular El Torito items, including salsas; salad dressings; enchilada sauces; fajita, taco and guacamole seasoning mixes, and sweet corn mix.
The packages feature recipes and have a suggested retail ranging from 99 cents to $3.69. The launch is supported by a $4 million Hormel advertising campaign.
Grev said El Torito was being positioned as a premium brand and was launched in southern California because restaurant branding has been most successful there.