Specialty Food Magazine


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.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/912382

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Page 101 of 139

Matt Caputo, CEO, Caputo's Market & Deli, Salt Lake City, UT Sandwiches are a huge part of what we do at Caputo's. One of my buddies likes to joke around when he is in our specialty food market that "this is the palace that sandwiches built." He is absolutely correct. In our market, we have two, soon to be three, cheese caves. One cave is dedicated to washed rind cheeses and we move through a surprisingly big quantity for a cheese shop in Utah. Recently, we had a big shipment of Raclette come in with large cracks from too much weight being stacked on top. I asked our kitchen crew to use it up in a lunch special and told them also to use up the wild porcini I had ordered on a whim from a local forager. They sautéed the mushrooms in butter, brandy, and fresh thyme. They also wisely added some Taleggio that we had been washing in a local doppelbock— our Double Skull Taleggio. Finished with some bread crumbs on top and a few minutes in the broiler and it was not long until I had our "Mac n Stinky Cheese" special on my desk. It was so delicious I posted it on my personal Facebook page where hopeful friends asked me to save them some—but it was too late. Our lunch patrons lapped it up quickly. We now offer it as a lunch special more regularly, and are work- ing on a frozen version so people can buy it out of our display freezer every day. Mary Richter, culinary director, Surdyk's, Inc., Minneapolis, MN We have about 30-40 items in our prepared foods cases daily and we are always updating and adding new items. Some of the most popular items this past year or two have been salads and preparations made with quinoa, whole grains, kale, and Brussels sprouts. I have found Moroccan and Indian spiced items to be very popular as well, and preparing items from these aforemen- tioned ingredients makes them even more popular. Cumin-spiced carrots would be my surprise item. Carrots are a pretty, everyday, ordinary ingredient, but we must have these Moroccan spiced carrots in our prepared foods case always. We've had them for offer for about a year and sell them by weight, so pints and half pints are most common. Coconut milk-based soups and stews are also very popular. Dishes like Korean spiced tacos, crispy chicken skin wraps, and pork belly with rice noodles appeal greatly to our millennial customers. Many of our regular customers fall into two age groups, young professionals and millennials, and retired people who have moved into downtown condos and like to walk to nearby stores for their prepared meals. They are purchasing lunch from us on a regular basis and many are also purchasing their dinner, choosing not to cook so much at home. They want healthy options made from quality ingredients and like the variety we offer as well as our commitment to quality. We use organic ingredients, often purchased from local farms. We use only pasture-raised meats and poultry, and we let our cus- tomers know why we choose to do so through our marketing materials and social media. Hunter Fike, category manager for cheese, charcuterie and prepared foods, Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia, PA Our prepared foods offering is approximately 70 percent greatest hits and 30 percent seasonal newness. Since we launched the category, crab cakes have been the top-sell- ing item. Meatballs, lasagna, salmon, chicken cutlets, and Brussels sprouts all compete for the next five spots. Other customer favorites include eggplant parm, turkey burgers, black bean burgers, mashed potatoes, green beans almon- dine, and mac & cheese. We do rotate in seasonal options every three months and always try to include each primary protein and one vegetable as main course options with this newness, and typically pair them with 3-5 new sides and pasta salads. Our chefs also keep the standards fresh and interesting to our regulars by adding twists to the recipes. I am constantly surprised by how consistently our everyday customers purchase the same few prepared foods items. I recently analyzed movement going back to 2012 and was shocked to see that only 14 items have finished any given year in the top 10 in sales. Expressed another way, the same 10 items have been top-sellers each of the last six years, with only four unique items cracking the top 10 since that time. The best-performing unique item was roasted Brussels sprouts with honey-roasted pecans. It cracked the top 10 in 2015, finishing at no. 9, then jumped to no. 2 in 2016, and has remained there. This is a great reminder to focus on the 20 percent of items that generate 80 percent of sales. Susan Segrest is a contributing editor to Specialty Food Magazine. Have you had any unexpected prepared foods successes? Q: WINTER 2018 99

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