EDISON, NJ — Allegiance Retail Services LLC held its annual Holiday Food Show Thursday, July 16, at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center, here, with fresh produce companies extremely well represented.
At this year's show there were 275 vendors "representing every department in the store," said Vic Savanello, director of produce and floral at Allegiance, a retailer-owner cooperative headquartered in Iselin, NJ. "And there's a very big produce representation. And all our members attend under all the different banners."
In addition to all the vendors, about 500 people were expected to attend the show.
The Defense Commissary Agency brightened its stores this season in a mango display contest sponsored by the National Mango Board. The NMB partnered with Bush’s Black Beans for this contest, using the theme “Mango and Black Bean Fiesta!” The contest received an impressive number of entries with over 150 participating stores, which reported a 32 percent increase in mango movement over the previous year.
The mango contest took place from May 4-17 and was open to the 179 DeCA stores in the United States and Puerto Rico.The contest encouraged stores to build creative, eye-catching mango displays to engage and educate shoppers while moving mango volume.
A high-graphic mango bin was provided to use as the centerpiece of their displays. Point-of-sale materials were also provided to the stores, which incorporated mango cutting, selection and nutrition messages, plus easy recipe ideas for shoppers, including a mango and black bean salsa recipe. Stores were also able to use their own props and utilize their creativity to build the catchy displays.
Stores were divided into five groups based on store sales. Three winning stores in each group were awarded commissary gift cards that can be used as giveaways to shoppers. Although DeCA employees are not able to accept prizes, they are thrilled to receive these gift cards to help their local military families.
Entries were judged based on creativity, education, shopability and the presentation of both the mangos and Bush’s Black Beans in the display. “We value our relationship with DeCA and the great opportunity this contest provides to increase awareness of mangos. It helps inspire shoppers incorporate mangos in their dishes and educates them on how delicious and versatile this fruit is,” Rachel Muñoz, director of marketing at NMB, said in a press release. “This contest is such a great way to pump up mango sales and create excitement around mangos just in time for the summer months.”
Operated by the DeCA, commissaries provide groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families on military bases. Authorized customers purchase goods at cost plus a 5 percent surcharge, which covers the cost of maintaining and renovating commissaries. This enables military personnel to save an average of 30 percent or more on groceries when compared to commercial prices.
With the unprecedented early cherry harvest, supplies are falling abruptly and retailers will now have missing sales dollars unless they fill the void with alternatives.
“Historically, mid-July to mid-August are some of the most productive weeks for cherries — averaging over $3,000 per store per week," Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing at CMI, said in a press release."With severely limited volume, cherry dollars will probably fall to less than 50 percent of the historical average. That’s a shortfall of $1,500 per store per week that won’t be filled by cherries. Being aggressive about lining up promotions with alternative products that resonate with consumers can help offset this loss.”
The company suggested that imported KIKU brand apples and Ambrosia apples can fill this void for many retailers this season. Last year, during the summer selling season, sales of imported Ambrosia and KIKU peaked between July 15 and Aug. 10. This year they will be available all the way up until the domestic crop is harvested.
Following the lead of a very successful domestic Ambrosia and KIKU crop, Robb Myers, director of imports for CMI, planned an aggressive approach for this import season.
“These two premium apples have been such strong contenders during the fall and winter months, and we’re excited to bring in volume supplies for the late summer months for the first time,” Myers said in the release. "This allows sales momentum to continue for these high-performing apples all the way up until the Domestic crop begins again in the fall."
Bob Mast, president of CMI, explained what a large victory it is to have finally grown these two great programs to this capacity. “These exclusive apples and their new late summer availability will help energize apple sales during a period where slowed movement is typically experienced. We are entering unchartered territory as an industry, with the ability to add incremental sales on a category that has not had any new life injected into it over the summer. For years, all that was available during the later summer months were Reds, Goldens, Grannies and imported Gala,” said Mast.
Mast said that according to scan data results, the key to implementing any successful promotion starts with pricing. “Top performing retailers use price points to encourage trial, typically at $1.49 a pound on promotion and $1.79-1.99 a pound every day,” he said. “Along with pricing, display size and/or secondary displays are key.”
Key Food Stores Co-operative Inc., a chain of more than 180 independently owned and operated grocery stores, announced the grand opening of its first Windsor Farms Market location in Brooklyn, NY. To celebrate, Windsor Farms Market is hosting a grand opening celebration on Monday, July 20.
“The community asked for a grocery solution and we’re here to deliver,” John Durante, vice president of business development, said in a press release. “It’s so exciting to open our doors to the Windsor Terrace community. None of this would be possible without the support of the community, former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and all the local officials.”
With a wide variety of fresh produce, Windsor Farms Market customers are sure to enjoy a selection of both organic and non-organic products. The store will also offer customers a full deli department with prepared foods, compliments of their on-site chefs. They can also expect to find a bakery boasting fresh goods, baked from scratch on the premises. Windsor Farms Market has a fresh seafood department with sushi options for shoppers to choose from.
Key Food executives — including Dean Janeway, chief executive officer; George Knobloch, chief operating officer; Chet Koby, vice president of strategic planning; and John Durante, vice president of business development — as well as elected officials will be in attendance for the grand opening. The celebration will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony as well as food sampling from a variety of vendors.
Mann Packing is celebrating all things veggie at the PMA Foodservice Expo this year with the theme Viva La Veggies — a party on your plate.
Mann’s Veggie Power Blend will be one of the new items featured at the show. The blend features several on-trend ingredients, including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, kale, radicchio and golden beets, in various cuts. The product delivers an explosion of color along with a variety of textures that can be used in several applications.
“The Mann team continues to innovate time- and labor-saving delicious fresh products for our foodservice customers and this is a great place to showcase everything we do,” Gina Nucci, director of foodservice marketing, said in a press release. “We want to liven up the booth and have a little fun at the show — it’s all about surprise and having a good time.”
Mann will also introduce its special variety of jumbo kohlrabi. This larger variety delivers higher yields of useable product than current smaller bunching types, while maintaining great flavor and texture. Kohlrabi is part of the Brassica Oleracea family and is considered a cousin of broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts.
Mann’s booth will have copies of the “Chef’s Guide to Kohlrabi” in its expo booth (No. 139) so attendees can catch the #kohlrabicraze.
Also, Chef Brian Copp, sous chef at Montrio Bistro in Monterey, CA, will serve samples of Jumbo Kohlrabi and Mann’s Veggie Power Blend. The jumbo kohlrabi recipe is a finalist in the PMA Foodservice Sensory Experience contest; Mann’s entries won the contest in previous years.
Mann will share highlights from its latest vegetable trends research report conducted by Technomic. Last year, the company shared results of a similar study around consumer satisfaction with lettuce at foodservice.