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How Perimeter Brands Enhanced Its Business

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La Mexicana Salsa is produced in both East and West Coast production facilities. Manufacturing as close as possible to the source of fresh produce is a key component in making category leading salsas.

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The choice of a name is a critical step for a company. It can represent how that firm wants to be perceived by the market, and can make the important first impression on the end consumer. Perimeter Brands, a Riviera Beach, Fla.-based producer of refrigerated salsa and dips, was careful when it recently rebranded itself this year. Although the company had been long identified by the Italian Rose Garlic Products and La Mexicana salsa brands, it felt it was time for a change.

Today, “The name better reflects where we want to lead in terms of brand strength and product development — the store perimeter,” Chairman and CEO Angelo Fraggos explains. “We are all about fresh, produce-based products; the current emphasis being on salsa.”

The name fits the company’s strategy of having multiple brands, which now includes Tabla Fresca Farmstand. “It also allows for additional expansion of brands and categories as we grow in the future,” he adds.

At The Heart

In three short years, Perimeter Brands has accomplished the feat of becoming the No. 1 salsa producer in North America, Fraggos says. But the company did not reach this goal without doing some essential research. This found the company talking to consumers across the country and learning about what they wanted from their salsa. With this feedback, “We made changes to a number of product attributes, including brand positioning, graphics and formulation,” he recalls.

The company also held focus groups on its imagery and positioning. “We asked them why they liked our competition’s salsa, too,” Fraggos continues. “The approach was one of enhancement rather than reinvention.”

Perimeter Brands also used sensory evaluation to measure discrete product preferences among consumers, both in terms of taste and physical characteristics. “We really are the first company in the category to say, ‘We know you like this product, but what could make it better?’” he declares.

“You can always improve,” Fraggos states. “Continuous improvement is at the heart of our management philosophy.”

But Perimeter Brands made sure not to change the elements that worked for consumers, including its culinary approach to product development. Today, it continues to employ several associates with food science expertise, and professional chefs manage its research and development.

“You can always improve. Continuous improvement is at the heart of our management philosophy.”

According to Fraggos, this ensures that the company never loses sight of having strong flavors and balance in its products. “Salsa is a simple product in terms of ingredients,” he says.

“There are really three levers to play with: spice, dice and heat,” Fraggos says, adding that the company has optimized each one of these. “We also invested in two new production facilities and made sure we are producing the safest, highest-quality product possible.”

Going National

It is a good time for Perimeter Brands to be in the salsa business. Fraggos explains that many consumers are making the move from shelf-safe products to refrigerated salsas, thanks to their superior tastes.

This has driven Perimeter Brands to establish a national presence. Currently, “People across the country like our mild/medium products equally,” he says. “This is our national appeal.”

The company also has hired a seasoned sales force to cover the country and has invested in third-party data for fact-based selling. “[We are] working hard to be the thought leaders in an emerging category,” Fraggos says.

Although Perimeter Brands has come a long way in the last four years, he asserts that the company is actually just getting started. “We are so excited to have consumers and customers recognize the strength and quality of our products and adopt them into their merchandising and retail plans,” Fraggos states.

In addition, Perimeter Brands has a long tradition of foodservice product development. “There will be additional produce-based opportunities that spring from that side of our business as well,” he predicts.

“Innovation starts in the kitchens of restaurants, large and small, all over America,” Fraggos says. “Transitioning new flavors and eating experiences into consumer products is the name of the game. It is an exciting time in an exciting category.”

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