32 Center Store Handbook 2017 www.groceryheadquarters.com
reached for grilled chicken flavored chips from Romania and the
second and third most-selected snacks were chipotle-lemon flavored chips from Mexico (32 percent) and grilled seaweed flavored chips from Indonesia ( 24 percent). The consumers tended
to show a lower appeal for less familiar snacks, such as fish-based
options and dried cactus.
The demand for convenience, and with the food truck movement spreading across the nation like wildfire, more and more
manufacturers are finding success with food truck-inspired
meals that can be made quickly and easily in consumers’ homes
“Seeing what’s going on with food trucks inspired us to do
something that was truly authentic so that we could give today’s
Millennial consumer who desires these types of items true
Mexican food in a really convenient format, but also with a little
bit of a twist,” Acree says.
Saffron Road Foods recently debuted four bowls that offer
both the convenience of a frozen meal and authentic international flavors. The bowls include two tortilla bakes, which are
inspired by Chef Gabbi Patrick, of the popular California restaurant Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen. The new innovations also reach
to the Far East with Korean Style Sweet Chili Chicken and Thai
Matzo S’Mores Kits
Sara Stromer, assistant brand manager with Manischewitz, a com-
pany that offers both traditional and innovative kosher foods,
says that consumers are craving innovative items that put a new
spin on old favorites. The Newark, N.J.-based company has
jumped on the trend with a Matzo S’mores Kit, which comes with
matzo, marshmallows and chocolate, as well as a Matzo Pizza Kit.
The company’s macaroons have gone beyond traditional flavors
like almond and coconut, with new offerings like Carrot Cake,
Pistachio Orange and Red Velvet. Manischewitz is also catering
to the health-conscious consumer with gluten-free, non-GMO
and organic matzo products.
“Consumers are more curious about international than ever
before; the more authentic the better,” says Stromer. “Millennials
are becoming very sophisticated consumers. They are looking
for new flavors and new ways to make an old recipe or item more
While consumers are looking for new and exciting interna-
tional items on grocery shelves, retailers cannot forget about the
old classics. Many items that were once considered international,
like burritos and potstickers, are now American staples.
“We’ve found that our bread and butter is in the cuisines of
the East like chicken tikka masala and chicken pad Thai, which I
call the ‘vanilla ice creams of the ethnic world,’” Acree says.
Elaine Thai, VP of marketing with City of Industry, Calif.-based
Lee Kum Kee U.S.A, says that as the company continues to innovate with products that will appeal to consumers’ craving for new
flavors, their pantry staples continue to thrive.
“Our key signature products, such as Lee Kum Kee Oyster
Flavored Sauce, Pure Sesame Oil, Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha
Mayo, continue to grow and gain consumers’ liking every day,”
she says. “But consumers continue to look for bold, authentic
and unique flavors from all ethnic food cultures, among which
Chinese is still one of the most preferred flavors.”
Lee Kum Kee introduced a variety of new offerings to meet
these needs, including: the Ready Sauce series, which features
Sauce for Korean BBQ Stir-Fry and Sauce for Honey Sesame
Chicken; Soy Powder; Concentrated Chicken Bouillon; Sriracha
BBQ Sauce and Sriracha Stir-Fry Sauce.
Global products have often been segregated in their own
international aisles, but observers say certain categories can benefit from being placed right next to more familiar products with
American flavors. Acree says this is especially true in the frozen
aisles, where consumers who are shopping for their usual frozen
meal might be inspired to pick up something a little bit more
“The best thing for retailers to do is make the products easy to
find and the best way to do that is to put them where the most
customers are, such as the center of the store and frozen aisle,
instead of segmented off in an international section,” he says.
“That way, a person who is shopping for their normal brand might
say ‘oh look at all of these other options that are available.’”
“What one could call international has really become the new
normal and the big players are already responding to what they
see consumers buying,” he says. CS