Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1090132

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Page 85 of 87

Consumers, whether young or old, consistently opt for spe- cialty food for its taste, quality, ethnic experience, and peace of mind, said David Lockwood, director of Mintel Consulting, during the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show's Research Roundtable: Fresh Trends from the State of the Specialty Food Industry. But when it comes to young consumers in particular, panelists made clear that distinct opportunities exist. Boding well for Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Kaune's Neighborhood Market, said its co-owner Cheryl Pick Sommer, is the fact that hers is a small and local business, which is important to young consumers. "Other generations talked the talk about these things matter- ing to them, but didn't live it," she said. "IGens and millennials are willing to live it." Kaune's, which is over 100 years old, caters to shoppers with a full-service chopped salad bar which has contributed to a 12 percent increase in year over year sales of prepared foods, accord- ing to Sommer. "Part of its success is attributed to giving younger generations a choice. They think it's cleaner than self-service. In many cases these consumers are only coming in for one meal and a snack so there is room for growth." Beth Haley, vice president of vendor relations for DPI Specialty Foods, also noted that perimeter departments are its biggest source of growth with refrigerated dips and nut- and plant-based foods growing in popularity along with sparkling water. "We constantly need to look to what's next," to appeal to the preferences of today's shopper, said Haley, who finds inspiration on the exhibit f loor of the Fancy Food Shows and in restaurant menus. Jay Marshall, executive chef for Sysco San Francisco, said that the distinct preferences of younger Americans may be bringing a new set of labor challenges. "The lack of qualified workers is hurting the industry," he said. "There are simply fewer people going into the back-of-the-house, and it's going to be a big problem in the next 10 years. Foodservice is being squeezed to provide a quality product with less people." Sommer agreed that recruitment hurdles need to be scaled. "The grocery business is not necessarily a sexy business," she said. "It's a lot of hard work, repetition, and it can be monotonous. Many from the i-generation, as well as millennials, are what I call impatiently ambitious, and our challenge is to find ways to keep them engaged from a task perspective, promote them fast enough for their liking, and pay them enough to keep them satisfied." James Mellgren is a Berkeley, Calif.-based freelancer. Julie Gallagher is managing editor of Specialty Food Magazine. SPRING 2019 83 industry trends Panelists: Next Generation Presents Challenges, Opportunities BY JAMES MELLGREN AND JULIE GALLAGHER

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