Tito’s Brings Shelf Stable Jalapenos, Peppers And Pickles To Vending And Micro Markets

Tito's SnacksTito’s, a manufacturer of single-serve, portion pack jalapenos, peppers and jumbo dill pickles, recently entered the vending channel, having exhibited at this year’s National Automatic Merchandising Association show in Las Vegas.

The products are certified kosher, gluten-free, zero fat, zero carbs and low-calorie and have a one-year shelf life with no refrigeration required.

“Vending is one of our newest channels,” said Chris Snider, president. “That was driven both by having some demand from vending customers, and also the ability to fulfill orders through Vistar.” In addition to selling through distributors, the company direct ships to customers using couriers.

Most of the orders from the NAMA show have been for pickles, particularly those without brine in the bag, he said.

“It’s a really clean product, especially for people who are operating vending machines, say  within a DMV,” he said. “Where the product’s going to be consumed on the premise, everybody likes the pickles without brine because it’s a lot less mess.”

“Most of the vending guys that have put a pickle in their machine before, if they had juice with the pickle, they had incidents with that juice,” he said.

“All of our pickle and pepper products are pickled, which is the oldest form of preservation,” Snider said. “We don’t package it with juice in the bag, which is unique, but we do a nitrogen flush, so it’s a modified atmosphere in the package is 95.9 percent nitrogen so the product doesn’t oxidize, and it’ll stop the fermentation.”

“We are the only company that packages a jumbo dill pickle in a pouch without juice in the bag that’s shelf stable,” he said. “It’s something that vending operators get excited about because most of them are not inclined to put a pickle that might contain six ounces of salt water in every package in their machines.”

Most operators put the products in ambient vending machines, but some are putting them in refrigerated vendors.

“The product does tend to sell a little bit better cold, especially in the hot climate, but also, they end up in refrigerated machines due to the fact that our hot jalapenos are being merchandised besides sandwiches or other refrigerated items,” he said.

“It is different than a lot of the other ambient items in that it is a low calorie snack, it’s kosher, it’s gluten-free, it has a lot of healthier elements and can be differentiated easily from candy and chips,” Snider said.

The jalapenos are all grown in Mexico while the cucumbers are primarily grown in Texas. “But we pull from other regions as well to maintain a year-round supply, such as California and Washington State,” he said.

“We’re also unique in that we do a lot of the processing close to the field in which these products are grown,” he said. “Our products are naturally fermented, so they never get cooked and they never get any kind of thermal processing.”

There are two brining stations in Texas, one in Mexico and one in California, where the products are brined and shipped to the main facility in New Braunfels, Texas for final packing.

Products are distributed through Vistar along with major convenience store distributors such as McLane Co. Inc., Core-Mark and regional players.

“We are in most of the Vistar warehouses, but not all,” he said.

The suggested retail price in vending and micro markets for jalapeno peppers, a 1-ounce package and a condiment to go with sandwiches and microwaveable burritos, is 35 cents to 50 cents, he said, while for jumbo dill pickles, the recommended price is $2 to $2.50.

The company is currently working with Canteen to place jalapenos in micro markets, he said.

The company also carries a line of shelf-stable, 5-ounce beef sausages with a 9-month shelf life which Vistar stocks.

For more information visit htttps://texastitos.com/

By Roger Stewart, Editor

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