Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2018

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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soup kitchens, and food pantries in the area were helpful in getting people food on a day-to-day basis, they weren't enough for those who needed something more sustainable. That's when Major Gene Hogg, the Salvation Army's area commander for central Maryland and his team realized that by combining their second-hand retail experience with their food delivery and prep experience, they could do the things that a traditional grocery store is designed to do. "The city of Baltimore has been trying to attract groceries in certain areas and has been unsuccessful, and we see that in many metropolitan areas across the country, where groceries are mov- ing to suburbs but leaving urban areas pretty desolate," says Hogg. "We had the space to move in and we decided that we better open a grocery store, not just to sell food, but also to offer sustainable pro- grams, food and nutrition education, and workforce development." With the help of partnerships with the city of Baltimore and area food banks, Hogg and his team administered market and demographic studies, established their business model, and reno- vated property that they already owned, for the store. Grocery Store Perception To the naked eye, this is a standard grocery store; it is environmentally conscious with a Gold LEED certification, energy efficient, and has an upscale look inside and out. That perception is key, says Hogg. "One of the lessons we've learned in social services is that one of the hardest things to work with is perception of choice, to move people from dependence to self-sufficiency," notes Hogg. "People in low-income, high-crime areas say they have no other choice. We try to create an environment here where they have multiple choices." The shelves at DMG Foods are lined with name brand items, as well as private label, giving people the choice of spending more or less on their groceries. "Many people who live around us don't have transportation," says Hogg. "Most will go to a national value store that doesn't have name brands. It's all driven by economics, but it reinforces a mindset that a middle-class individual can shop there to stretch the dollar, but people in poverty have to shop there. By offering them the choice of one or the other, even though we know we'll sell less of the name brand than the store brand, we don't rob anyone of that choice." A Grocery Store and a Whole Lot More Upon walking into DMG Foods, the first thing a shopper will see is a display called The Meal Solution, which breaks a meal idea down into ingredients, nutritional value, and cost per unit. Shoppers can also visit a kitchen area where someone is preparing that meal, and sample it. Or they can access a recipe kiosk for a range of dishes from low- calorie and five-ingredient meals to those ready in 30 minutes or less. Like with many grocery and big-box stores, shoppers can apply for a free Red Shield loyalty card to enjoy the benefits of store member- ship, which includes in-house specials on a variety of grocery items. Individuals who are on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program can indicate that they are a SNAP beneficiary when they apply for their membership card. They can then scan their Red Shield card at a coupon kiosk, and see all the items that are free or discounted, which varies based on the foods that have been donated to the store. Donated food comes primarily from the Maryland Food Bank, which provides a constant supply of fresh or frozen chicken and other items, every two weeks. Other organizations and brands have also donated food. They include the Department of General Services, which provides emergency meal kits; Kellogg's, which donates healthy snacks; and Dairy Made Dairy, which provides milk products. DMG Foods also works with a wholesale grocery supplier. "We are partnered with C&S Wholesale, which has helped us giving back "People in low-income, high- crime areas say they have no other choice. We try to create an environment here where they have multiple choices." 114 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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