Duda supports 'Sunday Supper' movement

Recipes made with ingredients from Duda Farm Fresh Foods took center stage at a brunch hosted July 19 at the Food & Wine Conference in Orlando, FL.

The Food & Wine Conference is part of the Sunday Supper Movement started by Isabel Laessig, better known as Family Foodie. The mission: To bring families together to share time and a meal together at least one day a week.FullSizeRender4Duda hosted a brunch featuring a popular family recipes on July 19.

Laessig held the first virtual Sunday Supper in January 2012 with eight bloggers, and since then the community and the notion has grown into a national movement. The Food & Wine Conference brings bloggers together with other food professionals to talk about opportunities for future collaboration when influencing families to spend time together using digital media marketing as a megaphone for encouragement and inspiration. Duda has been an active supporter of the conference from the beginning in 2012.

“As a sixth-generation farming family business, it is important to our company that we participate and support bloggers that are working to encourage American families to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like eating dinner together on a Sunday night,” Nichole Towell, director of marketing for Duda Farm Fresh Foods, said in a press release. “For us it is about enjoying healthy food with the people that are most important to you.  If we can be part of something this important, it is an honor and a pleasure.”

On July 19, Duda hosted a brunch featuring a popular family recipes such as greens with Dandy radishes, celery and citrus vinaigrette; fresh Dandy fruit skewers with clementines, grapefruit and oranges; and dessert made with Dandy Meyer lemon tarts.

“This movement has developed quite a following and we want our fresh ingredients to serve as an inspiration for bringing families together around the country,” Towell said.

Little Potato Co. launches 'Little Chef' program

The Little Potato Co. launched a new program to provide tools and tips to make it easier for parents to cook with their kids, sharing new and important skills while having fun together.

The program will include a growing collection of “Little Chef Approved” recipes featuring Creamer potatoes, and tips for cooking with kids of various ages at www.LittlePotatoes.com/LittleChef. The program will also be featured through Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and will invite parents and kids to share favorite recipes they create together.

Research has shown that food preparation and cooking skills affect both kids’ and teens’ food choices. When kids are exposed to fresh, unprocessed foods and learn to prepare them well, they are more likely to feel comfortable buying and cooking these foods as adults.

“Over almost 20 years in business, we’ve noticed that as people learn about our little Creamers and their nutritious goodness as a vegetable, the more likely they are to enjoy cooking with and sharing them," said Angela Santiago, chief executive officer and chief potato champion of The Little Potato Co., as well as a mother of four. "We think it’s important to help kids learn about cooking and delicious, healthy food ingredients early so they grow up with great eating habits, including our Creamers."

The program will expand this fall to offer Little Chefs and their families big opportunities to have fun cooking together, discover the colorful varieties of Creamers, share their cooking experience with others and win fabulous prizes.

The Little Potato Co. is also working on a few other surprises for fall and winter, including further refinements to its very popular packaging introduced last fall. They’re also working on a few twists and tweaks on their value-added Oven|Grill and Microwave Ready kits that bundle Creamers, specialized cooking trays and a variety of savory seasoning packs.

SuperValu could separate its Save-A-Lot business

SuperValu Inc. is exploring a separation of its Save-A-Lot business, and as part of that process it has begun preparations to allow for a possible spin-off of Save-A-Lot into a stand-alone, publicly traded company.supervase

“Save-A-Lot is a leading national hard discount retailer with over 1,300 total stores, comprised of approximately 430 corporate stores and approximately 900 stores operated by licensee owners, and we believe Save-A-Lot has significant growth potential," Sam Duncan, president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. "Over the last two-and-a-half years, Save-A-Lot has repositioned its brand, refocused its efforts on fresh produce and meat, and remerchandised its stores and product offerings to better appeal to a broader group of customers.

"Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to continuing to explore ways to maximize value for our shareholders," he said. "We believe a separation of our Save-A-Lot business could allow Save-A-Lot, our Independent Business and our Retail Food banners to better focus on their respective operations, and pursue strategies specific to their business characteristics and growth potentials, for the benefit of our shareholders, customers, licensees and employees.”

The news came alongside the announcement of the company's Q1 sales results for fiscal 2016.

First quarter net sales were $5.41 billion compared to $5.26 billion last year, an increase of $143 million or 2.7 percent. Save-A-Lot network identical store sales were positive 0.6 percent. Identical store sales for corporate stores within the Save-A-Lot network were positive 2.8 percent. Retail Food segment identical store sales were negative 0.3 percent. Total sales within the Independent Business segment increased 1.7 percent. Fees earned under transition services agreements in the first quarter were $64 million compared to $58 million last year.

"We delivered sales increases across all three business segments and managed our costs very well in this first quarter," Duncan said. "I'm pleased with our bottom line and ability to manage to these results in spite of softer sales at Save-A-Lot and in our Retail Food stores. We have plans in place and operationally we remain well positioned."

No specific timetable for a separation has been set and there can be no assurance that a separation of Save-A-Lot will be completed or that any other change in the company’s overall structure or business model will occur.

The consumer celebrated at PMA Foodservice educational session

It truly is all about the consumer.  At least that was the theme three speakers articulated during an educational session at the PMA Foodservice Conference held in Monterey, CA, this past weekend (July 24-26).

“It’s All About the Base: Meet Today’s Consumers” was the direction three experts took the crowd as they tried to explain various segments of the consumer population.  

Brent Walker, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of c2b solutions, introduced the audience to “psychographic marketing profiles.”  This concept categorizes consumers into five groups and notes that these psychological profile categories reveal that consumers have different motivations and respond to different stimuli. Knowing who your audience is and targeting them specifically with promotions they will respond to is key to marketing success. 

He said consumers in these various categories might engage in the same activity, but it is for different reasons and you must know that if you are to increase their participation.  For example, he said, both “balance seekers” and “willful endurers” over index in eating organic food, but they do it for different reasons.  “Willful endurers”, he said “distrust the man” so they seek unconventional alternatives.  “Balance seekers” are eating organic produce because they are open to new ideas and respond to marketing that seeks the “why” behind suggestions.  

Walker said both groups are engaging in the same activity but they need different messaging.  He indicated why messaging is so important earlier in his talk when he noted that target marketing is the key to success.  You need to know who is using your product and how to reach that group because market segmentation is at a very high level.  For example, he said that one-half of 1 percent of the population is responsible for 25 percent of all car rentals in the United States.  Reaching that tiny group would obviously be the goal of any car rental company.  

During this session, Brian Numainville of Retail Feedback Group reported on Generation Z, the kids who heavily influence their parents’ buying decisions, especially in the food category.  In the United States, this group is 68 million people strong and will represent 40 percent of consumer buying power within five years.  This group’s demographic is different than any before it.  About 17 percent of the G.I. generation (often called the Greatest Generation) was multiculturally diverse.  More than 50 percent of Generation Z are multicultural.  This is the first time that threshold has been reached.

This group already has $200 billion in spending power.  You might think you would know how to reach them, but Numainville said only 6 percent communicate via email while 63 percent use texting.  They clearly are responding to the digital revolution in different ways than their parents or even older brothers and sisters.  Another interesting fact:  88 percent of them like their parents.  They are very collaborative, get information from Google and peers before making a purchase, and 73 percent of them influence the dinner choices in their households.  And good for the produce industry, they want to eat more fresh, natural and organic food.  

To reach this group, Numainville said use digital media and be concise, unique and transparent.  They like to get their information in eight-second soundbites.

Stephanie Bazan, Avocados from Mexico’s Hispanic marketing director, analyzed the growing group she is focused on in her job.  She pays particular attention to the “Nueva Latina” (new Latin woman) who she said controls the buying decisions in the exploding Hispanic market.  

If Bazan is correct, you ignore the Hispanic population at your own peril as it is the fastest-growing demographic in the United States.  And Latina moms are growing at a much faster clip than any other group of woman having children.  She also noted that pockets of Hispanics are popping up in urban areas all over the country, not just on the coasts.  

The good thing for fresh produce marketers is Hispanics over index in fruit and vegetable consumption and even as they acculturate the last thing they give up is their food traditions.  Bazan said it is their connection to their traditions and they want to stay connected and keep their kids connected to their heritage.  She called the nueva Latina the “CEO of her household” and the “gatekeeper” to the family’s food consumption.  She said the Latina mom wants to strike a balance between healthy and convenience.  In fact, Hispanics are fueling most of the growth in the foodservice category, and more than 50 percent of the growth in the entire food category.  “If you are not targeting the Hispanic segment you are missing the boat,” she said.

Look around your restaurants, she added, if it is full this weekend, it is probably full with Hispanic families.  She said some of the keys to marketing to them are being family friendly and offering fresh products.  She said the Hispanic restaurant goer is willing to pay more for fresh food.  “Play up the freshness to appeal to this group,” she advised.

Indianapolis Fruit Co. hosts 28th annual golf outing and trade show

Indianapolis Fruit Co. hosted its 28th annual golf outing and trade show July 20 and 21. The event brings together the wholesale distributor’s valued retail partners and vendors.  The 2015 golf outing and trade show was one of Indianapolis Fruit Co.’s most actively attended events in company history with more than 600 total guests enjoying the two-day event.

The trade show took place at The Crane Bay Event Center in downtown Indianapolis.Golf Outing 2015 Pictures-22Marc Jones of Indianapolis Fruit, Clay Verkaik of Standard Market, John Cunningham of Indianapolis Fruit and Doug Edwards of Millers & Sons. At the entrance of the event center, guests were greeted with a red carpet leading to a custom Spiderman and Avengers-themed NASCAR, provided and sponsored by Sage Fruit. The inside of the event center was beautifully decorated with all colors of fresh produce and assortments of flower bouquets.

Indianapolis Fruit Co.’s vendor partners displayed and sampled their products during the showcase, and relished the opportunity to interact with retailers. Continuing to give back to the community, all fresh produce and products displayed during the event were donated to the Little Sisters Foundation.

“We look forward to the show every year," Anthony Bruce from Melissa’s Produce said in a press release. "Great occasion for face-to-face interaction and best place to show-and-tell new items or demonstrate other opportunities for the stores.Golf Outing 2015 Pictures-13Rick Breeden of Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co. with Antonia Mascari of Indianapolis Fruit. Really a fun and relaxed atmosphere with all the right people at one place."

“The Indy Fruit food show is one of our company’s favorite events each year," Kevin Steiner of Sage Fruit said in the release. "It brings together vendors, retailers, and the Indy Fruit team and provides a forum for us to develop our partnerships and grow sales together. The atmosphere over the couple of days is professional, but relaxed so it really provides an ideal environment to collaborate.”

On July 21, the golf outing was held at Eagle Creek Golf Course and hosted over 250 golfers in a Florida-style scramble tournament. The weather was perfect, yielding blue skies and warm sun. Following the golf outing, a dinner and award ceremony was held in the clubhouse. Trophies were awarded to first- through third-place finishers, including the winning team of the day, which finished with a score of -21.