Skinnier dips

Sales of healthier dip options such as guacamole and hummus are on the rise.

By Craig Levitt

Whether used for chips or vegetables, a party just isn’t a party without an array of attractive dips.

Today consumers have more dip choices than ever before and healthy options like guacamole and hummus are joining salsa, and sour cream-based dips as party favorites. Industry observers say the trend towards health and wellness along with consumers’ willingness to experiment with ethnic cuisines has helped spur growth in the dip category.

“Consumers are finally getting that avocadoes are good for them,” says Tracey Altman, vice president, marketing for Saginaw, Texas-based Fresherized Foods, makers of Wholly Guacamole and Wholly Salsa. “For us, whether it is our guacamole or our salsa, consumers can use either as a spread instead of mayo or ranch dressing. We have got at least 20 vitamins and minerals, no additives or preservatives, so when consumers look for alternatives, this is a great change.”

Now that Wholly Guacamole has reached mainstream, over the next two years Fresh­erized is going to be focusing on ways to expand usage for the product. “Usage is big for us,” says Altman. “We position ourselves with consumers as a snack, not just a dip. We can be a topper or an ingredient in a larger dish. There are a lot of new opportunities.”

Hummus dips are also gaining in popularity. Observers estimate that hummus dip sales have increased more than 20% in the last year. Like guacamole, manufacturers are positioning hummus as an everyday snack as well as a party platter option.
“Consumers are eating small meals more frequently throughout the day and hummus is a terrific option,” says Mary Beth Cowardin, senior marketing manager, produce dips for T. Marzetti Co., based in Columbus, Ohio. “As a result people’s perceptions of dips are shifting. We meet these consumer needs with dip products such as our Hummus Veggie Dip.”

Cowardin adds that consumers continue to look for high-protein snack options. To meet that need T. Marzertti recently launched a line of Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dips. Flavors available include Cucumber Dill Feta, Garden Herb Ranch, Spinach Artichoke, Chipotle Cheese and Salsa Cilantro.

Future Foods Brands, based in Carrollton, Texas, has rebranded and repackaged its Santa Barbara Bay dips. The line is now sold in 100% recyclable and BPA-free microwavable and dishwasher-safe oval containers.

“Consumers and retailers are really taking to our new look,” says Emily Alfano, senior marketing manager for Future Food Brands. “Because the containers are reusable, stackable and appear more modern, we’ re finding that people save them after the product is gone.”

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