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Holy Salsa 3/8 No, Make That Spanish Kosher Salsa

August 23, 1991

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Looking for a little something to slather on that grilled chicken breast tonight? Your choices just expanded by 124.

That’s how many new condiments burst onto the market in July, when a record-breaking 1,837 new products were introduced for sale in supermarkets and gourmet, health food and drug stores. Most were foods, and most of the foods were gourmet.

Eleven new kinds of salsa made a debut - including some odd multiethnic combinations such as Spanish Verde Kosher Salsa.

Who’s supposed to buy all this new stuff? Experts say that ubiquitous American creature: the well-traveled, health-conscious yuppie.

But these are the 1990s, and there’s a recession on. So the items are aimed at folks who can’t afford a new car, but are still willing to plunk down $6 for a jar of pickles.

″We had thought going into this year with war and recession that new products would drop,″ said Lynn Dornblaser, publisher of New Product News, which has been tracking the introduction of new items every month for more than 26 years.

″I think it has to do with better-educated, younger people taking more time to look at the labels and see that they are more healthy for them,″ said Michael Schlosser of Simon David gourmet food stores in Dallas. ″Most of the gourmet products are natural products.″

It’s increased travel, said Marvin Krauss, marketing director of Gourmet magazine. ″People travel to France. People travel to Italy. They are exposed to new ingredients that they come home and start looking for.″

″These (new products) were ideas that have been in the pipeline and happened to hit the market this year,″ he said. ″It’s the influence of the 1980s coming to fruition in the 1990s.″

Adrienne Ash, president of A.R. Ash and Associates Inc. in Tucson, Ariz., which mkes nothing but salsa - spicy Mexican tomato sauce - agreed that the yuppies of the 1980s played a part. People saw a market and developed products for a more sophisticated palate, she said.

It also represents a glitzy outgrowth of health food consciousness that started in the 1960s, she said. ″People are looking for a finer quality product and are willing to pay a little bit more to find it.″

Dornblaser said the kinds of food products introduced this year show manufacturers are aiming for the adventuresome eaters often found among educated people in their 20s and 30s. Gourmet condiments like Chili from Hell mix and Habanero Products from Hell were new last month.

Family Secrets’ Secret Mustards, Papa Joe Costa Rican Red Pepper Sauce, Zingers Hot Pickles and Pepper Pizazz Pepper Jelly are a few others.

The publisher also said ethnic combinations are proliferating.

″We always see Italian and Oriental foods, but we’re seeing more Thai and Indian cuisine this year,″ Dornblaser said in a telephone interview from her Chicago office.

Dornblaser predicted that European ethnic bakery items like the new Aunt Gussie’s Cream Cheese Rugulah, Cantatti’s and La Tempesta’s Biscotti or Titterington’s Scones will soon become as mainstream croissants and bagels.

She also noted the growth of unusual meats like buffalo, venison, Arctic musk ox and fig and pinenut sausage. There are lots of ″in″ spices right now that are showing up in many brands of sausage, she said.

The products unleashed in July pushed the total number of products for the year to 9,246, or 17 percent more than last year at this time.

But Dornblaser said that in general, supermarket trade shows are featuring fewer new food items while gourmet and health food shows expand.

″My theory is that everybody has to eat and everybody is looking for something different,″ said Ash, who added a new salsa to her line last month. ″But did you say there were 11 new kinds of salsa? That’s just unbelievable.″

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