Published on April 9th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz


Fresh Cravings’ Jay Whitney On How The Company Started Making The Top-Selling Refrigerated Salsa

The number-one-selling refrigerated salsa at Walmart, Fresh Cravings’ products are not only made in the U.S.A. but are also produced using fresh ingredients. Part of FoodStory Brands — which is known to search the world to bring thoughtfully-curated and affordably-priced food and beverages to American tables — Fresh Cravings’ salsas are free of the nine major allergens, including milk, eggs, peanuts and soy. Its current store-sold varieties include Restaurant Style, Chunky, and Pico De Gallo.

I spoke with Jay Whitney, President of FoodStory Brands, on behalf of the Hype. Rather than looking at this Q&A-based article as a commercial or basic integrated marketing, I urge you to consider viewing it as how a company can make quality-oriented products that everyday people desire, all while growing steadily, having widespread distribution and projecting a positive public image without a celebrity endorser. More on Fresh Cravings can be found online at

"We’re big fans of salsa in my house, and this one is a game-changer." We are so thrilled to see how blogger @lifelilbrighter uses Fresh Cravings Salsa at home for her family and party guests.⠀ .⠀ These stuffed mini peppers are a perfect easy snack for game day or any day, and the salsa also stands on its own. As she says, "It’s an instant appetizer that you know will be a hit. This Fresh Cravings Salsa has brought a whole new level of flavor to my party spread!"⠀ .⠀ Click the link in our bio to see the recipe and learn how you can earn $1.00 back on your purchase of Fresh Cravings Salsa at @Walmart!⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #recipe #healthyeating #easyrecipe #foodideas #easycooking #foodblogger #blog #productreview #homemadefood #foodpic #mealprep #snacktime #momlife #nomnom #mealprepideas #mealinspo #cookinggram #lovecooking #realfood #eatfresh #healthyeats #feedfeed #bhgfood #buzzfeedfood #buzzfeast #walmart #walmartfinds #quickandeasy #salsa #freshcravings

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Fresh Cravings is the current category leader in refrigerated salsa. When did you know that you had something special?

Jay Whitney: Fresh Cravings has been the fastest growing brand in refrigerated salsa category and has become the number one brand in just three years since launching at Walmart. We are currently the category leader in refrigerated salsa at Walmart.

We knew we had something special before we even launched the Fresh Cravings Salsa brand because our brand mission was grounded in simple authenticity. It bothered us that the majority of the salsa sold in this country is cooked or pasteurized and sold in glass jars in the dry grocery aisles at more expensive prices. Cooked salsa tastes soft and dull. Salsa is meant to be made with fresh tomatoes and vegetables in small batches with crisp textures, vibrant colors, bold flavor and high-quality nutrients. We wanted to give consumers the promise of delicious, homemade salsa.

With this mission in mind, Fresh Cravings Salsa launched in the fresh produce section of Walmart in the spring of 2015 in only 900 stores — less than 25% of Walmart total stores. We had immediate success by outpacing all sales benchmarks and were expanded within the first 12 months to full distribution in over 4,000+ Walmart stores nationwide. Inside our first 18 months, we were the category leader in refrigerated salsa at the world’s largest retailer. Fresh Cravings Salsa achieved this by helping consumers nationwide enjoy salsa as its intended to be….fresh, authentic and amazing taste.

So what specifically makes Fresh Cravings different from other brands, in your opinion? Is it the ingredients?

Jay Whitney: Great question… First, Fresh Cravings is made in southern California right next to the biggest produce farms in North America. Fresh tomatoes and vegetables really matter and that is just the start. We also buy our produce on the open market and this allows us to choose the best produce at any moment and send back the produce that doesn’t meet our specifications. Bigger salsa makers buy produce only under contracts and have to take what their fields provide for better or worse.

Fresh Cravings Salsa is also different because it’s never cooked, pasteurized or over-processed like major national brands. We use fresh tomatoes and vegetables in all our small batch recipes. And yes, some refrigerated brands cook their salsa and hot fill and seal the product. Those brands are actually shelf stable salsa that are sold refrigerated. Other brands use all precooked ingredients and then just mix and pack like premade soups.

Have your products always been free of major allergens? Or is that something that evolved?

Jay Whitney: Yes, we have always been free of the major allergens. This was part of the original brand promise when we wanted to set a higher standard in the category for quality and product safety for our customers.

What is your favorite of the salsas available?

Jay Whitney: My personal favorite is Restaurant Style Hot as my family is big on heat! It’s actually quite a scene at my house when I break out a tub at the kitchen table around 7:30 PM. Literally within minutes, I’m surrounded by my wife and kids who are all getting in on the action. The showstopper for my sons and me is when we make a plate of nachos with melted cheese and dip them in the Restaurant Style Hot. We’ve been known to finish a full tub of salsa in less than 15 minutes — but we are all 6’3″ and up and very active!

In the coming months, what is coming up for Fresh Cravings?

Jay Whitney: We are rapidly expanding distribution to new customers all across the United States. We are also focused on growing our social community with over 35,000 followers, on Instagram and Facebook, which is the largest following of any refrigerated salsa brand of highly engaged salsa lovers nationwide. Without question, the best part of expanding distribution is hearing the stories of customers trying Fresh Cravings for the first time, with quotes like “never going back to jarred salsa” and “who knew salsa could be life-changing?”

When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?

Jay Whitney: I am a father of four kids that range in age from 10 to 18. My greatest enjoyment comes from spending time with my family no matter if it’s riding bikes, hiking the Arizona desert, or just hanging out at home. We have “unplugged” moments daily where we cut off the wifi and disengage from the digital world to be present, and I think I laugh the most during that part of the day.

Do you have a favorite restaurant near your office?

Jay Whitney: Yes, we love Salas Thai. We visit it at least twice a month.

Finally, Jay, any last words for the kids?

Jay Whitney: My generation grew up in the era of “big food” companies with over-processed foods that have unnecessary and “unknown” ingredients. My wife and I have worked very hard to change that culture in our household so that we empower our kids to strive for a healthy lifestyle, especially when it comes to eating. We are big advocates of fresh, healthy foods with simple ingredients without preaching. We especially lead by example.

As a parent, one of my favorite things to see is when my kids read ingredient labels without my prompting them. Or when they ask for healthy options at restaurants and at the grocery store. I believe our country’s young people have the opportunity to drive an incredible food revolution for real foods with real ingredients. This would be a beautiful legacy for generations to come.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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