RICHMOND, Va. -- Ukrop's Super Markets has added a fresh merchandising twist with a display of refrigerated, herb salad dressings set alongside 15 to 20 facings of fresh herbs in its produce departments.
The chain already gives refrigerated salad dressings -- like Marzetti's, Marie's, Lighthouse, Walden Farms, Naturally Fresh and Rene's -- a huge presence in produce with an 8-foot by 8-foot, multideck display in its larger stores. That planogram sits alongside a long run of packaged salads. But this newest addition to the refrigerated dressings collection gets a place of its own, 12 feet down the aisle, next to the herbs. That's to underscore the dressings' "herbiness," officials said.
"We sell a lot of salads and a lot of herbs, Shenandoah Growers' herbs, and this is Shenandoah's newest item. We've put it with their herbs to draw name recognition. We have a lot of upscale clientele, [so] the herb set is a destination in our produce departments," said Lee Arthur, produce director at the 28-unit Ukrop's.
A facing of each of the three fresh-herb dressings -- basil/balsamic/sundried tomato; parsley/sage/rosemary; and dill -- gives the herb display itself a boost, he added.
"We decided to take on the dressings because our customers know their herbs which are grown in the area. The dressings, too, are made locally, and they carry the 'Virginia's Finest' logo. They also taste good. The herb flavor just explodes," Arthur said.
Customers were given a chance to try them last month when Ukrop's launched the dressings. Associates offered samples of a salad mix adorned with the dressings, and customers gave them good reviews.
The 12-ounce, bottled products, retailing for $3.99 at Ukrop's, will be featured on ad this summer at a discounted price. Each week, the chain features a different brand of refrigerated salad dressing in its ad next to salads.
"We really believe in refrigerated dressings because we relate to 'fresh.' We want people to buy their dressings in the produce department," Arthur said, adding that sales of the dressings are meeting his expectations.
"All the refrigerated dressings get off to a slow start, but then customers try them and incremental sales begin to build."
Meanwhile, officials at the Harrisonburg, Va.-based Shenandoah Growers pointed out that Ukrop's is the first grocery chain to roll out the product.
"We're happy to be able to introduce our new product through Ukrop's. It seemed like a natural since they're a local chain and we're local company," said a spokeswoman.