Hitting with hydration
By Seth Mendelson
Drinkware products are hot and grocery retailers are poised to take advantage. Tabletops Unlimited (TTU) has spent the last 30 years building its reputation and business by selling its tabletop and housewares products through retailers such as specialty housewares stores and department stores. Now the Carson, Calif.-based company is making its first foray into the supermarket industry. Under a licensing agreement with the Dr Pepper/Snapple Group, TTU is set to introduce a number of drinkware hydration products into supermarkets. It is the first of what TTU officials say will be the introduction of a number of Dr Pepper/Snapple Group products designed for sale at supermarkets and other mass retail outlets. The first products hitting store shelves, perhaps as early as February, will be a 20-ounce double-walled BPA-free acrylic tumbler (suggested retail price of $5.99) and a 2-quart double wall BPA-free acrylic ice bucket (suggested retail price of $14.99). The collection will include multiple art designs for each Dr Pepper/Snapple Group brand: 7-Up, Dr Pepper, A&W and Crush; and include current and vintage artwork. “We look at grocery and drugstores as the next frontier for our company,” says Dar Molayem, CMO and co-owner. “In the past we did not feel that we had the right product for supermarkets. Now, with our license agreement with the Dr Pepper/Snapple Group we have the chance to approach supermarket retailers and sell them on these products with the perfect partner. We think these products are ideal for the grocery industry for two reasons; the hydration category is the hottest and fastest growing in housewares and the licensed brands have a fan base that are hard core. Consumers love these brands and have a deep connection with them.” The reason for this optimism may have to do with the strong sale of beverage products at supermarkets and the many cross-merchandising opportunities available throughout the store with the category. To help retailers, TTU has created a number of different merchandising options such as low profile PDQ trays and various sizes of floor displays. “We think it is a very powerful merchandising combination. The PDQ trays can be put anywhere in the store, on shelf or by the register,” says Molayem. “The floor displays give retailers the opportunity to create a highly-visible selling tool without taking away any shelf space.” Rami Izadyar, corporate brand manager for TTU, adds that floor displays can also be customized for retailers with their own specific assortment. “We can also put together customized pallet programs in either full-, half- or quarter-pallet configurations for retailers if they want. Our products offer an incremental sale for retailers and we want to give them every tool to be successful,” she says. Izadyar says that TTU’s long history of dealing with retailers should help with its entry into the supermarket industry. The privately held company has long worked with retailers that have space restrictions and with the need to create strong turns. “We have built-in merchandising capabilities and we understand what supermarket retailers need,” she says. “We have spent the last two years talking to grocery retailers, we have listened and adjusted our offering and merchandising options to fit their needs, we feel we have a winning combination now and a much better understanding of what they need from us to be successful.” She adds that the deal with Dr Pepper is “just the tip of the iceberg” as far as products to be introduced into grocery stores. Besides its well-known soda products from Dr Pepper/Snapple Group, TTU has also acquired the rights for Snapple, Hawaiian Punch, Schweppes and Motts.