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Wildcats Salsa Sales Are Hot

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
April 16, 2008

Good news travels.

In November, the university’s dining halls began serving New Hampshire Wildcats Salsa, a private label recipe made especially for UNH by Better than Fred's Salsa of Derry. Local Hannaford supermarkets offered the spicy sauce as well, as did Philbrick's Fresh Market in Portsmouth, Zeb's in North Conway and our own Durham Marketplace

Now, Market Basket grocery stores want in on the hot commodity.

The president of Market Basket recently learned that Hannaford stores were carrying the salsa and chips and decided his stores should, too. At 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, he called Better Than Fred’s owner Richard Leiter and ordered 100 cases of both, asking that they be delivered Saturday to six of his 30 stores.

Fortunately, Leiter had 150 cases of each in stock. And because that kind of distribution doesn’t happen over night, he then spent part of Saturday personally delivering the salsa and chips to the Market Basket stores.

“We are hoping that all Hannaford stores and all Market Baskets will soon be carrying these products,” says Dot Sheehan, senior associate athletic director/external affairs. “We are also confident that Stop and Shop and Shaws will soon come on board.”

A percentage of the proceeds from the salsa helps support 20 varsity men’s and women’s teams at UNH, where more than 300 student-athletes currently receive some form of scholarship assistance.

UNH Athletics got into the salsa business when Leiter contacted them after learning UConn had a similar program. After settling on a name and a logo, New Hampshire Wildcats Salsa replaced the sauce previously served in dining halls. Dining Services continues to order between 80 and 100 gallons every few weeks, an indication of how well received the salsa has been by students.

“This project is so exciting and we are proud that we seem to have a real winner on our hands,” Sheehan says.

The original recipe for Better Than Fred’s Salsa was created in 1996 by a high school student who thought he could make a better salsa than that sold at the local grocery store.

Wildcats salsa retails for around $3.99 for a 16-ounce jar. Locally it is available at the Wildcatessen and Durham Marketplace.

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