Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 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.

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According to Myer, FreshDirect is seeing a big shift toward brands sourcing transparency and an increased importance of claims and attributes. The company's Just FreshDirect brand fish sticks, for example, are made with wild-caught Alaskan Pollock, fished by a small cooperative of Alaskan fishermen. Other important label attributes: organic, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat. Nielsen cites Hip Chick Farms and Crafty Counter Wunder Nuggets for its cleaner labels with classics like chicken nuggets. International Appeal With meal solutions a key driver influencing frozen sales, items that showcase international flavors are luring customers. "Frozen serves as a way to try a cuisine that maybe you don't really know how to cook," notes Lyons Wyatt. The frozen aisle not only offers customers new f lavor experi- ences, she continues, but also provides a sense of engagement that is different than in other areas of the store. "Customers are not just looking for ingredients. They are finding cool meal solutions, in vivid packaging, that offer a new f lavor experience from another region that they don't have to figure out how to make." FreshDirect is seeing growth and engagement with Asian f lavors and food products such as dumplings, ramen kits, and frozen broths made with ingredients like lemongrass, curry, and coconut milk, as well as growth in Tex-Mex and Central American cuisine. "The frozen aisle has become an easy way for customers to discover new cuisines across the board, and to incorporate items into their meals that they might not have had easy access to otherwise," says Myers. The retailer has moved beyond simply offering frozen burritos and is expanding its selection to include things like frozen pupusas (f latbread from El Salvador) and tamales. Looking Ahead Experts agree frozen is going to see continued growth especially in areas like e-commerce. "While [brick-and-mortar] grocery is still the lion's share, online is absolutely playing a role in channel choice and should not be overlooked," notes Lyons Wyatt, who says online frozen sales will total close to a billion dollars in the next year. Overall, makers should continue to innovate with solution- based options that are easy to prepare and made with restaurant- inspired f lavors as well as promote health-and-wellness claims with ingredient forward, eye-catching packaging. And, do everything you can to leverage digital and social media to talk up your product, says Lyons Wyatt. "Various new cooking technologies like the Instapot and Air Fryer will have a positive effect on frozen sales. Use social media to call out your product and show how frozen ingredients can be used in a recipe. Whatever you can do to connect with consumers to be a part of their planning is key for growth," she concludes. Nicole Potenza Denis is a contributing editor to Specialty Food Magazine. Saffron Road Madras Curry and Chicken Meatballs with Basmati Rice 86 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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