“Taking Pickles Out of the Afterthought Aisle”

From the NY Times:


THE typical habitat for the Vlasic brand character, the stork, is of course in the pickle aisle, where he perches on the labels of kosher dills and sweet gherkins. But Monday he began migrating to other sections of supermarkets, too. 

One of Vlasic’s in-store ads. Marketing to shoppers is expected to increase in the next few years, according to one survey.Shoppers picking up ground beef, for example, encounter the stork on in-store shelf ads near the meat section, where a speech balloon near his ample beak says, “Pro tip: Serve your burgers with a Vlasic pickle. Amateur tip: Don’t.” In another ad near the hamburger buns, he says, “Having a cookout? I suggest Vlasic pickles. Not having a cookout? Same suggestion.” And on an ad on shopping carts, he says, “Can a burger be considered perfect without a Vlasic pickle? Short answer: No. Long answer: Noooooooooooo.”

The in-store ads are a primary focus of a new campaign for the brand by BBDO New York, part of the BBDO Worldwide division of the Omnicom Group.

About 80 percent of pickles consumed in American homes accompany a hamburger or other sandwich, but only 3 percent of all sandwiches consumed are served with pickles, according to marketing research by the brand.

“Pickles are one of those things that everyone kind of has a jar in their refrigerator behind the milk and orange juice, and I think the biggest thing is just people forgetting about pickles,” said Tim Bayne, a senior vice president and creative director at BBDO.

The best time to remind people about pickles, Mr. Bayne continued, is during barbecue season, when pickle consumption is highest — but not as high as Vlasic would like.

“When people are shopping for a barbecue, attack them in the meat aisle where they’re buying ground beef or attack them in the bread aisle where they’re buying buns,” Mr. Bayne said of the approach, which also includes ads in the cheese section. (“On burgers, any kind of cheese will do. But any kind of pickle won’t.”)

Along with shelves and grocery carts, vinyl ads also will appear on supermarket floors, while displays near the pickles themselves will dispense coupons and recipes.

Vlasic, a brand of the Pinnacle Foods Group, spent $7.9 million on advertising in 2009 and $8.4 million in 2010, according to the Kantar Media unit of WPP. Eric Hintz, vice president for marketing at Pinnacle, declined to reveal the exact cost of the new campaign, but said marketing expenditures in 2011 would increase by double digits over last year.

Shopper marketing, which takes place primarily in stores through efforts like fanciful end-aisle displays, coupon distribution and product sampling, now increasingly includes efforts to influence consumers when they are compiling lists online or with smartphone grocery-list apps.

According to a recent survey by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Booz & Company, a management consulting firm, 55 percent of brands plan to increase spending on shopper marketing by more then 5 percent annually over the next three years, which is more than those intending to increase spending on social media (52 percent), Internet advertising (41 percent), print media (14 percent) or television (7 percent).

During the economic downturn, shoppers have become increasingly likely to use a shopping list, with 64 percent compiling lists, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a market research firm. But while shoppers may use a list to set budgetary boundaries, they are not immune to in-store entreaties from brands. Among list-makers, only 14 percent list specific brands to buy, compared with 45 percent who just list categories, like coffee or toothpaste.

“The recession has honed everyone’s skills” and shoppers have become more deliberate, said Jim Lucas, executive vice president for global retail insight and strategy at DraftFCB in Chicago, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies. What shoppers, who these days also are dining more frequently at home, often put on lists are center plate items like, say, a chicken breast or a steak, and they then may be open to suggestions for recipes and side dishes, Mr. Lucas said.

For example, to promote its soy and teriyaki sauces, Kikkoman, a DraftFCB client, dispenses recipes for marinades (and coupons) from a shelf display in the meat section during grilling season and places turkey brining recipes in the poultry section before Thanksgiving.

Condiments like soy sauce, as well as pickles, often are in center aisles in supermarkets, where only about 20 percent of shoppers tend to turn, compared with about 60 percent who cruise the produce or deli aisles on the perimeter, said Mr. Lucas. The object of in-store promotions is “to drive more aisle turn-in,” he said.

In an in-store Valentine’s Day promotion to encourage using M&M’s in recipes, the Mars brand recently placed displays in the bakery aisle at supermarkets with cupcake recipes featuring the candies. Like Vlasic, the campaign was handled by BBDO New York.

Along with in-store advertising, which will run through September, the new Vlasic campaign includes recent ads in print magazines including People and Dash, and on Web sites including FoodNetwork.com and AllRecipes.com. Those ads also will feature the stork declaring that hamburgers are incomplete without pickles, along with a new tagline for the brand, “Bring on the bite.”

That slogan is meant to refer not just to the crunchiness of the pickles, but also to the character of the stork, which first appeared in television commercials in 1974 and was modeled largely after Groucho Marx (“Vlasic is the best tasting pickle I ever hoid.”), with the character holding the pickle as if it were a cigar.

“The voice has a bite to it, and that’s what our campaign is all about,” said Mr. Bayne, of BBDO.

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Enter: The Pickleback

Although no one is sure where the Pickleback came from, the actual term Pickleback was introduced by New York bartender Reggie Cunningham in 2007.  In his original recipe, Cunningham used a shot of Old Crow bourbon and a shot of spicy pickle brine from a jar of McClure’s spicy dills.  This unique drink sensation is picking up speed at “trendy” bars in cities across the country and is even receiving national press attention. The added benefit…pickle juice is an age-old remedy for the hangover.

McClure’s now packages their brine specifically for this purpose and the world is a better place for it. For those that prefer vodka as their spirit of choice, McClure’s even sells a Bloody Mary mix made with tomato paste and fresh pressed cucumber that stars their spicy pickle brine.

Traditional Pickle Back Recipe:

  • 1 shot bourbon
  • 1/2 to 1 shot Mclure’s Pickle brine (well shaken)
  • Drink the bourbon and wait 3 seconds before chasing it with the brine.

Variations: Jameson Irish Whiskey can be substituted for the bourbon. Also, try using the brine from your favorite jar of pickles, just make sure to shake the jar well before pouring your chaser.

To ensure a comprehensive review of the Pickleback, it was necessary for me to complete multiple tastings.  In honor of St. Patrick’s Day next week, and because I prefer whiskey, I used Jameson as my base liquor.

  • The first shot hit me like a slap in the face and left my lips puckered and face contorted for a full 60 seconds. The flavor profile that was left was of pickle brine only, no hint of whiskey remained.
  • For the second shot, I knew what to expect and braced myself for impact. I also reduced the amount of brine to half a shot. The flavors of the two ingredients melded more with this attempt and left a softer taste in my mouth.
  • With the third tasting,  I shook the jar extra well to better incorporate the bits of dill and red pepper flakes floating in the brine. I also let the whiskey sit and develop a nice burn in my mouth before I chased it with the brine shot. The shot instantly removed the burn, and the salty vinegar mixed with the warm whiskey left a great aftertaste.
  • For the fourth shot I makesure to pourtt the vrime ksnt a glkee og fbakllb tjgbje2jhg  zzzxv bbbbbbbbb bzzsssss sssx
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Did you know…America was named after a pickle salesman?

It’s true, Amerigo Vespucci—for whom this country was named—was a pickle peddler. As a chandler, it was his business to sell sails,ropes, and other supplies to sailing ships. This included the scurvy remedy, vitamin-c rich pickled vegetables.

In 1492 more than Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Vespucci made sure that The Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria were well outfitted with  these crunchy treats.

Pickling vegetables not only improves their flavor, it can also make them more nutritious and easier to digest. During fermentation, bacteria produce vitamins as they digest vegetable matter.

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“Pickle Juice” can even melt snow…

See the full story here: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/29/winter-dill-emma-bergen-county-n-j-turns-to-pickle-juice-to-melt-snow/

by Nick Carbone

If there ever was a sign that we’ve had more than enough snow this winter, here it is.

Bergen County, New Jersey administrators found themselves in quite a pickle this winter. With their plowing budget quickly running dry, they’ve come up with a juicy solution.

Bergen County is just across the Hudson from New York – and despite being among the wealthiest counties in the nation, this winter has busted their budget for snow removal. Road salt comes at a hefty premium, and being only halfway through winter, they’ve invested in a new, and much cheaper, snow melter: pickle juice. (See pictures of snowstorms hitting the east coast — again.)

While it’s unclear if the mixture ever once contained the delectable deli snack, it’s a green salty liquid that executives say melts snow and ice just as well as solid salt. And the price can’t be beat: the briny mixture costs just 7 cents a gallon, compared to $63 a ton for salt. Quick math works the pickle juice out to roughly $16 per ton, a substantial savings (though commenters on CBS’s story seem to think the math is a bit more complicated).

“We actually pre-spray the properties, the sidewalks, the parking lots as a preventative before the snow is uncontrollable,” Bergen County Public Works Director Joe Crifasi told CBS. Bergen County has already used up $3 million of its $4 million snow budget, so hopefully the salty mixture can help them trudge through the rest of winter.

And with all the delis in New Jersey, we’re sure they’ll have no shortage of their secret snow-melting weapon.

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Poor man’s martini or just plain delicious?

Pickle Martini

pickle martini

Pickle Martini

2 oz gin
1 tbsp dry vermouth
2 tbsp pickle juice
1 sweet pickle

Add liquid ingredients to a martini shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with sweet pickle

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Pickles aren’t just for eating. They also fight for justice!

Pickle jar, customers help subdue robber in store

By Georgia Pabst of the Journal Sentinel

Jan. 5, 2011

An armed man who tried to rob the L&A Food Market at 2631 W. Vliet St. and fired a shot Tuesday afternoon found himself in a bit of a pickle, police said Wednesday.

Lugman Asad said he was in the back of the store eating his lunch about 2:50 p.m. when he came out and saw a man with a gun to the head of his son, Wisam, the store owner.

He said he grabbed the gun from the man who then fired a shot. But three or four customers were in the store at the time and they jumped on the suspect.

One customer hit the man with a pickle jar, police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said.

The man was arrested at the scene, she said.

source: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/112946244.html

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A whole new way to eat sandwich-cut pickles

Pickled Stuffed Meatloaf

2 eggs
1/2 cup flavored dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup minced onions
1 teaspoon each dried oregano and basil
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef
4 slices mozzarella cheese
6 sliced-lengthwise-for-sandwiches dill pickles
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tomato, sliced
Pickled Stuffed Meatloaf

Pickled Stuffed Meatloaf

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat together eggs, breadcrumbs, milk, onions, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Add ground beef and combine. Place half of ground beef mixture into bottom of roasting pan and mild loaf approximately 3 inches wide and 7 inches long. Fold 2 slices cheese in half and lay lengthwise down center of loaf.


Top with 3 pickles, mushrooms, tomato slices and remaining pickles. Fold remaining slices of cheese in half and place on top of pickles.Mold remaining meat mixture on top, making sure all stuffing is covered on all sides, as well as top. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 40 to 50 more minutes, or until meat is no longer pink on the inside. 

Per serving: Calories 551; fat 39g; saturated fat 16g; cholesterol 203mg; carbohydrate 13g; sodium 1,538 mg; protein 36g.

Recipe courtesy of Pickle Packers International
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America Loves Pickles!

Americans consume more than 9 pounds of pickles per person annually. More than 67 percent of all households eat pickles, purchasing pickles every 53 days.

source: Pickle Packers International

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