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quite familiar with.
This year, Goya Foods, based in Secaucus,
N.J., is celebrating 80 years of offering Latin
foods in the U.S. “As leaders of and experts
of Hispanic products from different countries, we believe Goya provides current and
new customers with a whole new and exciting
culinary experience,” says Joseph Perez, senior
vice president of Goya Foods.
While foods from around the globe carry
a certain allure, when
searching for meals,
consumers still hold to
the basic tenets of today’s
the desire to buy and eat
healthier foods. To that
end, Goya is working to
expand its healthy product line. It now offers
low sodium and organic
beans, quinoa and rices,
among other items.
To better help home chefs work healthier
Latin-inspired dishes into their repertoire,
Goya has also launched a MyPlate cookbook,
which features 30 healthy Latin recipes and
product highlights. Convenience is another
trend that time-starved consumers are looking for when it is time to eat. To meet that
need Goya has bulked up its frozen offerings.
Goya’s frozen line now includes traditional
products from the Dominican Republic, Peru,
Colombia and El Salvador.
Of course, the most popular Latin-based
foods remain Mexican. “El Monterey frozen
Mexican food fits into the current culinary
trends,” Cullen says. El Monterey items include
burritos, chimichangas, tamales, Signature
quesadillas, taquitos and the Signature breakfast line. “People continue to look for convenient foods that are not only easy to prepare,
but offer quality and great taste,” she says.
“El Monterey remains committed to meeting
those compelling consumer needs.”
Though not inherently ethnic, seafood often
pairs well with internationally-based sauces,
seasonings and marinades. Through independent company research studies, Beaver Street
Fisheries determined that consumers are looking for new and exciting flavor profiles in seafood offerings.
“Asian profiles are very robust and work
very well with seafood,” says Bluzette Carline,
director of marketing for Jacksonville, Fla.-
based Beaver Street Fisheries. “Therefore
through our extensive research we developed
what we feel will be a tasteful addition to a fro-
zen seafood item. We aim to create products
that deliver restaurant quality and flavors.
This new line does just that.”
It is no surprise that Beaver Street decided
to pair with Asian cuisine; industry observers
say consumers perceive Asian foods as fresh,
healthy, customizable and fusion-friendly.
While it pairs well with seafood, Asian cuisine
is also relatively popular on its own. According
to Chicago-based IRI, sales of Asian-style
foods are up nearly four percent at super-
markets, drugstores, mass merchants, mili-
tary commissaries, and select club and dollar
retail chains for the 52 weeks ended April 17.
Overall, sales reached $654.5 million.
Among the more popular segments of
Asian cuisine is the sauces category. Lee Kum
Kee, maker of Chinese sauces with U.S. headquarters in New York and Los Angeles, has
been introducing authentic Chinese sauces to
North America for more than 125 years. While
authentic Eastern flavors are en vogue, there is
also a large market for Americanized versions.
“We also tailor our flavors to fit Americans’
palate so that it is easier for locals to accept
the flavors,” says Elaine Thai, vice president
of marketing for Lee Kum Kee USA. “For
example, we launched a sriracha mayo in 2013,
which is a product marrying East, sriracha
chili sauce, and West, mayonnaise.”
The customizability of Asian food is not
only present on the manufacturer side; it car-
ries over to consumers’ kitchens as well. JSL
Foods is a maker of Asian noodles such as
Yakisoba and Udon. Wayne Nielsen, vice pres-
ident sales and marketing for the Los Angeles-
based company, says, “Noodles are a great fla-
vor carrier and are most often eaten with fresh
vegetables. Consumers make our noodle prod-
ucts a blank canvas and customize them with
their favorite ingredients, making the finished
entrée or side their own.”
Consumers are inundated with such large
amounts of internationally-inspired food fare
options it can be difficult for retailers to get
a gauge on just which products they should—
and should not—carry. Though there is a large
choice, observers say too often retailers stock
the most common two or three items.
“I still see many duplicative items on retailer
shelves,” says Acree. “Retailers should add
more diversity to their offerings and have a
serious look at SKU rationalization. Ethnic or
world cuisine adds incrementally to the category and does not cannibalize on existing