Sabra Dipping Co.
Issue Spring 10
It’s not always easy to find healthy snacks at the grocery store. As you stroll through the aisles, scanning your options, it is rather simple to grab something with a lack of freshness and nutritional value and toss it in the cart. Sabra Dipping Co. is trying to change that.
Offering several product lines of Mediterranean-style dips and spreads, Sabra believes it provides a great option for consumers looking for a healthy snack with great taste. “We have product features that are very much relevant to consumer trends at the moment,” Chief Marketing Officer Rodrigo Troni says. “Most are looking for a product that truly is authentic, fresh and healthy.”
Sabra says more Americans are turning to Mediterranean dishes, and so the company offers more than 26 Mediterranean spreads and dips nationwide. In addition, its products contain no trans fat or cholesterol. However, just because Sabra foods are healthy, doesn’t mean the company skims on taste. “We always keep in mind that the key reason for consumers to purchase our products is fantastic taste,” Troni asserts. “That is what Sabra is all about. We understand that taste is paramount.”
Troni emphasizes that the company has a relentless focus on the customer. “We place a significant amount of importance on truly trying to connect with consumers, understanding their lifestyle and making sure that our product fits very well with that lifestyle,” he explains.
“As leaders in the refrigerated spread category, it is important to behave like a leader,” Troni continues. “It is all about partnering with customers and continually driving to understand consumer trends – staying on top of what customer needs are.”
Sabra offers a wealth of different product flavors and sizes, including 12 styles of hummus, Troni notes. However, the company does not stop there. It also has a product line called Mediterranean Garden Varieties that features a slew of salads and spreads such as salsas, sautéed vegetables, Moroccan matbucha, babaganoush and Italian caponata. It gives consumers a selection of seven-, 10-, 14- and 23-ounce serving sizes, which it says makes its products perfect for any setting. It also offers its “Sabra To-Go” individual servings.
Troni points out that the company constantly works to develop new products through an innovation pipeline. He notes that Sabra is driven by a combination of opportunities in the market, consumer trends and customer deli needs. If these are brought together, he claims that the company gets an understanding of what would be a great offering for the public.
At Sabra, sales and marketing are joined at the hip. This allows the company to understand what customers desire in the deli or refrigerated sections of grocery stores, Troni explains, adding that the sales and marketing team constantly shares new product ideas with customers to gain feedback.
Troni confirms that Sabra is working to add to its product lines. “We do have some further innovations in terms of variety to allow consumers to enjoy the versatility of hummus,” he says.
What Sabra is About
Based in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., Sabra was founded in 1986 as Sabra – Blue & White Foods. Building on its healthy and tasty reputations, the company rebranded, which increased consumer interest. It says this brought Sabra into the mainstream; gaining shelf space and market share in leading supermarket chains and wholesale stores.
In 2005, Strauss Group, an international food and beverage company from Israel, purchased a majority share in Sabra. Strauss Group formed a joint-venture partnership in March 2008 with PepsiCo, which operates Sabra.
Sabra credits using authentic, fresh ingredients for making its products taste delicious and bringing success to the company. For its hummus, the company uses chickpeas that are not pasteurized or from a can, along with real Mediterranean tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds. The company also imports Mediterranean herbs and spices for its products.
According to Troni, Sabra distributes its products to 70 percent of the grocery stores in the country. He says the company wants to ensure that consumers will have a variety in the fast-growing category of hummus and Mediterranean-style foods. Although Sabra has received awards from tastemakers such as Refrigerated & Frozen Foods Retailer, its focus is not on gaining industry praise.
“We just focus on consumers, and if that translates to great praise from companies and industry bodies, then we welcome that, but our focus is on doing a great job for consumers and customers,” Troni says. “Sabra is well-positioned to continue growth and is in line with customer trends, giving them great products. We offer truly fresh and authentic great-tasting products, and that is what Sabra is really about.”