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 and offices, observers say.
“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 Mango Chicken.
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, marsh-
mallows and chocolate, as well as a Matzo Pizza Kit. The com-
pany’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 cater-
ing to the health-conscious consumer with gluten-free,
“Consumers are more curious about international than ever before;
the more authentic the better,” says Stromer. “Millennials are becom-
ing very sophisticated consumers. They are looking for new flavors
and new ways to make an old recipe or item more current.”
While consumers are looking for new and exciting international
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, vice president 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 consum-
ers continue to look for bold, authentic and unique flavors from all
ethnic food cultures, among which, Chinese is still one of the most
Lee Kum Kee introduced a variety of new offerings to meet
these needs, including: the Ready Sauce series, which includes
Sauce for Korean BBQ Stir Fry and Sauce for Honey Sesame
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 espe-
cially 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 adventurous.
“The best thing for retailers to do is make the prod-
ucts 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 per-
son 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 buy-
ing,” he says.