manager at the Eagle, Idaho-based company, says one of its biggest challenges is overcoming consumers’ inaccurate belief that
potatoes are unhealthy.
“It’s not the potato – it’s what you add to them,” Bowen says.
“Our annual Potato Lover’s Month display contest is a fantastic
retail promotion for the produce managers to be involved in. I
think the biggest opportunities now would be the growth in variety
potatoes, which don’t necessarily cannibalize the traditional rus-
set sales. Since they often have different usages, you can increase
overall potato sales by promoting varieties along with russets.”
Earlier this year, Agri Beef launched a free online educa-
tion resource, “Ranch to Table,” to provide an in-depth view of
beef’s lifecycle. Designed as both a classroom tool and for per-
sonal development, the course consists of four modules that offer
a comprehensive look at ranching, cattle feeding, beef processing
and grading, and beef fabrication and distribution, according to
Providing product education is key to driving sales. Hudson
Pacific’s consumer survey found that simply offering healthful,
high-quality products is not enough to attract consumers. Though
they are noticing improvements in the fresh category, consumers
attribute these improvements to consumer demand rather than
company leadership, with only 44 percent believing that brands
can improve the quality of food in the U.S., and 66 percent believing that consumers can have a significant impact. Not only must
companies provide these products, but they should educate consumers on their efforts, practices and products.
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) does exactly that.
Based in Juneau, Alaska, ASMI is a public-private partnership
between the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry with
the mission of increasing the economic value of Alaskan seafood
through marketing programs and sustainability. Alaska supplies
nearly 60 percent of all seafood and 90-95 percent of wild salmon
harvested in the U.S., according to company officials.
ASMI hosted its third annual Alaska Herring Week, from June
19-25, where grocers showcased unique dishes and products featuring Alaska herring. This year’s number of participants doubled
to nearly 60, providing consumers an array of opportunities to
learn about and sample a variety of herring products.
“I founded this event three years ago when I discovered that
not only was herring unavailable in Seattle, but none of the local
fishmongers really knew that, and the public was unaware, too,”
says Lexi of Old Ballard Liquor Co., founder of Alaska Herring
Week. “Once I found out that the Puget Sound herring stocks had
silently crashed a full decade ago, I decided that it was an impor-
tant cultural and ecological issue that deserved some attention.”
Alaska herring is one of the largest, most abundant and sus-
tainable fisheries in the world, but has largely disappeared from
U.S. markets. ASMI’s Alaska Herring Development Project has
coordinated Alaska Herring Week to re-introduce the fish into
NEW SEASONS MARKET EMBRACES
LOCAL FOOD ECONOMY
The Pacific Northwest is also home to a dynamic base of food
retailers, many of which are stalwart champions of the local food
economy, including Portland, Ore.-based New Seasons Market.
Well-known for its focus on fresh, local, organic food and commitment to the region’s producers, farmers, fishers and ranchers, New Seasons showcases an abundant, peak-of-the-season
produce selection, sustainably raised meats and seafood, as well
as a broad selection of conventional grocery staples.
As part of its efforts to become champion of the regional food
economy, New Seasons Market regularly partners with farmers, ranchers and producers to present the best of the region,
and pairs local, organic favorites with grocery classics to offer
customers choice, value and flexibility.
Similar to its other stores, New Seasons Markets’ Mercer Island
store (above) – its first location in the Seattle metro area – offers
“partner label” products made by regional producers, a mix of
conventional and organic, non-GMO and no-antibiotic products,
as well as broad selection of staple brands. The store also showcases items from 150 Puget Sound-area vendors.
With 20 neighborhood stores in Washington, Oregon and
California, as well as four New Leaf Community Market locations
in Northern California, New Seasons Market holds the distinction
of being the world’s first B Corp grocery store. B Corp certification is earned through an independent, third-party assessment
of a company’s business practices, and recognizes businesses
that place as much value on taking care of their staff, the community and the environment as they do on growing and operating
their business. It is to sustainable business as fair-trade certification is to coffee, or LEED is to buildings. As a B Corp, New Seasons
Market has committed to adhering to and constantly improving
business operations that benefit people and the planet, which is
completely fitting with its native Pacific Northwest roots.