Category: Blog

March 17, 2020 by Hissho News 0 Comments

Poke Bowls Tap Into the Fresh Perimeter

Article Originally Published on Super Market Perimeter, click here to read the original by Andy Nelson

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Hissho Sushi continues to see strong demand for its poke bowls sold in grocery perimeter departments around the country, says Corey Wilde, the company’s vice president of business development.

A big reason? Poke bowls are affordable and trendy at the same time.


“Poke bowls prove to shoppers that they don’t have to go to an expensive restaurant to get the hottest culinary trends,” Wilde says. “That’s something that our retail partners are excited about — being able to grow their business by offering access to fresh, innovative meal options that are convenient for the shopper’s busy, on-the-go lifestyle.”

Corey Wilde, VP Business Development | Hissho Sushi


Products like Hissho poke bowls for grocery retail are tapping into the fact that supermarket prepared foods are the fastest growing sector of the foodservice industry, with sales exceeding $12.7 billion, according to Washington, D.C.-based FMI – The Food Industry Association.


“We want to maximize that growth by providing premium, more wholesome and customizable options that our customers are looking for,” Wilde says — and poke bowls fit the bill perfectly.


Four years of explosive growth — and still going

According to September 2019 Datassential research, poke is the top trending seafood dish in the U.S., with 17% growth over the last year and 187% growth over the last four years.

Megan Rider, domestic marketing director for the Juneau-based Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, doesn’t think that trend will change anytime soon.


“We expect to see demand spike even higher this year, with the 2020 Summer Olympics set for Tokyo and Japanese influence expected to permeate further into the American culinary landscape,” she says.

Megan Rider, Domestic Marketing Director | Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute


First, as Rider points out, poke restaurants exploded across the U.S. Now, as so often happens, the trend is migrating to other channels — namely, grocery perimeter departments.


“In addition to gourmet and natural supermarkets leading the way with self-serve poke bars, the trend is moving out of the seafood department and into the mainstream deli, with retailers increasingly offering prepared poke among other fresh-prepared items,” she says.


Hissho poke bowls sold at grocery retail are hand-crafted daily by local chefs with high-quality, responsibly-sourced ingredients, Wilde says. Poke, he adds, has everything the company’s customers already love about their sushi, but now they’re thinking “outside the roll” and having it crafted into a satisfying and convenient bowl they can take on the go.


Poke gone wild

poke bowls

Gen Z shoppers in particular, a key audience for poke, are more attuned to knowing where their food comes from, making wild, sustainable seafood from Alaska the top choice for younger generations of poke shoppers.

There’s also, she adds, a prime opportunity for the evolution of poke bowls, featuring seafood along with grains and produce, from restaurants into the service deli.


“As a majority of Americans intend to eat less meat in the year ahead, seafood and plant-based staples like grains can work together to fill nutrient gaps and satisfy shoppers,” she says.

Megan Rider


Asian flavors have also been trending over the past couple of years, with additional culinary influence in the U.S. expected this year as a result of the Summer 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Rider says.


“With the combined upward trajectory of poke bowls and the growing trend toward Asian flavors, our Tropical Poke Bowl, made with soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar, remains one of the more popular recipes on our site,” she says. “Retailers interested in poke can access this recipe and others on the Alaska Seafood website, for sharing digitally or for re-creation as an in-store offering.”


Also on its site, ASMI has a flavor and ingredient guide retailers can use and/or share to create customized poke bowls starting with wild Alaska salmon or wild Alaska surimi.

Shoppers often value freshness when it comes to seafood, not realizing that most of the seafood in supermarkets and restaurants has been frozen at some point, which is important for ensuring quality and food safety, Rider says.

Alaska’s frozen-fresh practices, she says, in which fishermen often freeze their wild catch directly on the boat, locks in freshness and maintains quality.

“For home poke preparation from frozen, consumers can simply defrost fish in a covered, perforated pan overnight in the fridge before marinating for roughly 30 minutes before serving.”

Meijer’s New Restaurant Concept Pairs Sushi and Craft Beer

Article Originally Published on Winsight Grocery Business, click here to read the original by Jennifer Strailey



There’s a hip new restaurant in Brighton, Mich., and it’s inside a Meijer store. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based grocer has partnered with Hissho Sushi and local Bell’s Brewery to bring shoppers a one-of-a-kind in-store sushi and craft beer bar experience.


“This is a great opportunity to provide customers another option to consider while shopping our stores,” Becky Bronkema, Meijer’s director of merchandising, said in a statement. “We offer fresh to-go options, including pizza, sandwiches and sushi, at most of our stores already, so we envision the in-store restaurant concept to allow local neighbors to meet friends, have a quick business meeting or just grab a quick snack while checking grocery shopping off their list of to-dos.”

Becky Bronkema, Director of Merchandising | Meijer

The new 840-square-foot sit-down sushi restaurant inside the Meijer store offers hand-rolled sushi prepared by a chef daily; Hisso’s new line of hot appetizers; dim sum; and an ever-changing menu of craft beer on tap. The restaurant also features a Healthy Morning Collection breakfast menu with items such as avocado toast, acai bowls and real fruit smoothies. 


“With this new concept, Hissho Sushi is redefining the experience of a customer’s evening at their local grocery store,” said Dan Beem, CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Hissho Sushi.

Dan Beem, CEO | Hissho Sushi

As the fastest-growing sector of the foodservice industry, supermarket prepared foods now exceed $12.7 billion in sales, according to the FMI. But to grow retail foodservice sales, Hissho’s research finds customers want more than product variety and competitive pricing from their local grocer—they want an experience.

The second-largest sushi franchise in the country, Hissho Sushi has nearly 2,000 locations in 42 states. “Hissho is on the cusp of a reinvention,” said Beem. “As we continue to emerge as a market leader, we’re proud to work with our progressive retail partners to create an experience that is worth coming back for every day.”

For shoppers looking to grab and go, Meijer also offers convenience of the restaurant’s fresh sushi rolls made and packaged daily in the deli.  

Hissho Sushi CEO Named Among 2020 Class of Most Admired CEOs

Article Originally Published on Charlotte Business Journal, click here to read the original by Jen Wilson

The ever-growing Charlotte region is home to an increasing number of businesses, large and small, that span a variety of industries. Each is led by a chief executive who navigates challenges — both specific to their company’s particular sector and more general issues that apply across the board — and shares successes with their teams.

The Charlotte Business Journal‘s Most Admired CEO Awards program, now in its third year, turns a spotlight on these local leaders.


Charlotte Business Journal 2020 Most Admired CEO Award

This signature awards program honors Charlotte-area chief executives or those with an equivalent title, such as managing principal or executive director, who demonstrate admirable leadership qualities. Nominations were open to the public and came from members of the business community, within the honorees’ organizations and externally.

The CBJ editorial team has selected 35 honorees across 18 categories.

Each has shown a strong record of innovation in their field, outstanding financial performance, a commitment to quality, a strong vision, a commitment to diversity in the workplace and contributions to the metro community. In an upcoming special report, CBJ will profile all of the honorees; see coverage of past years’ programs here.

In addition, a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be named in the weeks to come.

An event will be held March 25 at The Westin Charlotte to celebrate this year’s class of winners. Find more details and register here




Congratulations to the 2020 class!

These are honorees, listed in alphabetical order by category:


Banks & Credit Unions

  • Steve Fisher, F&M Bank
  • Lee Fite, Fifth Third Bank

Commercial Real Estate

  • Brett Gray, Cushman & Wakefield
  • Johnny Harris, Lincoln Harris

Construction

  • Brian McManus, Hoopaugh Grading Co.
  • Marcus Rabun, Myers & Chapman

Energy

  • Jayson Waller, PowerHome Solar

Family-Owned Business

  • Liz Etheredge, Mecklenburg Paint Co. Inc.
  • Marcus Smith, Speedway Motorsports
  • Ed Weisiger Jr., CTE (formerly Carolina Tractor & Equipment Co.)

Financial Services

  • Tom Finke, Barings
  • Matt Potere, Sunlight Financial
Hissho Sushi CEO, Dan Beem

Food Service

  • Dan Beem, Hissho Sushi
  • Landon Eckles, Clean Juice
  • Conrad Hunter, Foxcroft Wine Co.


Government

  • Dena Diorio, Mecklenburg County

Health Care

  • Lindsay Muns, Charlotte Radiology
  • Stuart Ross, ACO Med Supply

Law

  • Janeen Hogue, The Miller-Hogue Law Firm
  • Christopher Lam, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

Manufacturing 

  • John Marrino, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Nonprofits

  • Karen Calder, Classroom Central
  • Williams Jones, Thompson Child & Family Focus

Professional Services

  • Tana Greene, MyWorkChoice (a Greene Group company)
  • Amy Noland Pack, AccruePartners

Public Companies

  • Darius Adamczyk, Honeywell International Inc.
  • Charles Harrington, Parsons Corp.

Residential Real Estate

  • Pat Riley, Allen Tate Cos.
  • Marcie Williams, RKW Residential

Retail

  • Tom Coker, Reid’s Fine Foods
  • Charlie Malouf, Broad River Retail

Sports, Entertainment & Tourism

  • Dan Rajkowski, Charlotte Knights
  • Fred Whitfield, Hornets Sports & Entertainment

Technology

  • Mark Mahoney, Jackrabbit Technologies
  • Bob Youakim, Passport

First Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar Opens in Michigan

Article Originally Published on FSRMagazine.com, click here to read the original

On Friday, February 7, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Hissho Sushi, the nation’s second-largest sushi provider, unveiled a brand-new concept to Meijer shoppers in Brighton, Michigan: a sushi and craft beer bar. To bring the concept to life, Hissho joined forces with the midwestern retailer and Michigan-based Bell’s Brewery to unveil the unique experience to customers.


Hissho Sushi CEO, Dan Beem, cuts ribbon at Sushi & Craft Beer Bar opening.

“With this new concept, Hissho Sushi is redefining the experience of a customer’s evening at their local grocery store,” says Dan Beem, CEO of Hissho Sushi. “It is our commitment to deliver hand-crafted, premium sushi that’s prepared by local chefs daily to Meijer shoppers. The Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar allows us to go even further, providing one-of-a-kind experiences where shoppers can conveniently enjoy our products, a local craft beer and get in their weekly grocery run.”

Dan Beem, CEO | Hissho Sushi


“This is a great opportunity to provide customers another option to consider while shopping our stores,” adds Becky Bronkema, Director of Merchandising for Meijer.  “We offer fresh to-go options including pizza, sandwiches and sushi at most of our stores already, so we envision the in-store restaurant concept to allow local neighbors to meet friends, have a quick business meeting or just grab a quick snack while checking grocery shopping off their list of to-dos.”

Supermarket prepared foods are the fastest growing sector of the foodservice industry, now exceeding $12.7 billion, according to the Food Marketing Institute. Hissho’s research shows that today’s consumers are looking for more than just product variety and competitive pricing – they’re looking for an experience. To maximize this growth and achieve consumers’ expectations, Hissho recognized that it needed to deliver an innovative idea that illustrated a premium experience, coupled with convenience, that provided easy access to delicious, everyday temptations: sushi and craft beer.

“Hissho is on the cusp of a reinvention,” says Beem. “As we continue to emerge as a market leader, we’re proud to work with our progressive retail partners to create an experience that is worth coming back for every day.”

This new sit-down, sushi restaurant inside the Meijer grocery store steps up the customer experience to provide not only fresh, hand-rolled sushi rolls, hot appetizers and more, but also a new way to enjoy them. The 840-square foot space will employ a team of 15, including highly trained, local sushi chefs who are passionate about the tempting and innovative sushi prepared each day with premium quality, responsibly sourced ingredients.

Customers will find traditional favorites like California rolls and Krispy Krab, alongside Spicy Red Pepper and Crunchy Shrimp rolls for the more daring palates. And if customers are still looking for a grab-and-go option, the fresh rolls are made and packaged daily in the deli.

Along with Hissho’s innovative sushi rolls, customers will also find a full menu carrying hot appetizers, including Asian chicken wings and Boom Boom Shrimp, Dim Sum and an ever-changing list of craft beer on tap. The concept also includes a Healthy Morning Collection, carrying morning favorites like avocado toast, acai bowls and real fruit smoothies.

“Hissho wants to provide our partners with the most creative, craveable products and concepts possible so our relationship and sales can continue to grow,” says Beem. “We’re excited for the opportunity to reach new audiences and partners with this concept, and continue to share our passion for sushi, that is recognized for its high-quality, convenience and innovation.”

Try This Sushi and Beer Happy Hour at a Surprising Place

Article Originally Published on ClickOnDetroit.com, click here to read the original

Sit down at Hissho Sushi inside Meijer in Brighton

Ready for a new type of happy hour in Metro Detroit? How about sushi and beer in a grocery store?

Host Tati Amare chatted with Chef Derek Layson and John Golaszewski with Hissho Sushi about their new kind of happy hour that’s changing the grocery shopping game in Metro Detroit.

Hissho Sushi started by placing chefs in each Meijer to make fresh sushi for customers but now they have expanded into a restaurant with a twist. This restaurant will be pairing craft beer with your favorite sushi roll.

Hissho Sushi has also partnered with Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo to create the best pairing of Michigan-made beer with your choice of sushi.

You can find the Hissho Sushi restaurant inside of Meijer in Brighton on Grand River.

Grand Opening – Hissho Sushi and Craft Beer Bar – Brighton Meijer

Article Originally Published on BetterOnDraft.com, click here to read the original by Ed Norton

For most of the shoppers in Brighton’s Meijer, it was a normal midday shopping trip.

For the small crowd of executives and staff of Meijer and Hissho Sushi, the media, and community members gathered in front of the former in-house Starbucks location, it was a celebration. The first-ever Hissho Sushi and Craft Beer Bar inside of a Meijer location was here!

Brighton was selected because it had everything the developers were looking for in terms of demographics and accessibility. Hissho Vice President Brian Kiel and CEO Dan Beem both said that the Sushi and Craft Beer Bar will provide community members with a shopping and restaurant experience under one roof. The current focus is to perfect the concept and experience before taking it into another market whether it be metro Detroit, Michigan, or the other states with Meijer stores.


Hissho Sushi CEO, Dan Beem and Meijer’s Buyer Merchandiser Deli/Prepared Foods, Brad Miller address community members and prepare for ribbon cutting

Hissho Sushi has been the sushi provided for Meijer for the past ten years, which made the partnership for an in-house restaurant a no brainer. The restaurant will be able to seat 25 people and have an extensive menu beyond the sushi rolls Hissho has had available for purchase in Meijer stores.


Meijer locations that sell Hissho sushi have a franchisee with extensive sushi experience prepare and roll in the back of the Deli section. Now shoppers will be able to see the magic happen!

Patric Knapp, one of Hissho’s directors, said that the preparation of all menu items will be under ten minutes. A focus will be placed on assembling meals as quickly and accurately as possible whether people want to dine in or take out. There were plenty of dishes to sample at the grand opening and I can tell you everything was delicious.



The craft beer partnership for the craft beer bar is Bell’s Brewery. Brad Miller, Meijer’s Buyer Merchandiser for Deli & Prepared Foods, said Meijer is very proud to partner with Bell’s. Miller acknowledged the success Bell’s has had as an independent craft brewery in Michigan and beyond. He also said that if the Hissho Sushi concept is successful and more sushi and craft beer bars are to be planned then Meijer would look at breweries that represent the state the Meijer is located to partner with.


Due to licensing issues, there were not any samples of beer available. Once everything comes through, the tap list will be:

In addition to the Bell’s beer, there will be the Hitachino Nest Lager from Kiuchi Brewery in Japan, along with red and white wines from both local wineries along with national and international brands. Shoppers will be unable to take their drinks beyond the restaurant, but Hissho and Meijer are going to be looking into licensing to be able to have a growler filling station, which is available already in a handful of Grand Rapids Meijer stores.

Check this one-of-a-kind sushi and craft beer bar out in Brighton’s Meijer store, which is located at 8650 Grand River Avenue.


Cheers!


Genius: Sushi experts collaborate with Michigan grocer and craft brewery

Article Originally Published on CorpMagazine.com, click here to read the original

Some food-and-drink combinations are perfect together – and they have a great meaning for Michigan residents. Better Made and Faygo. Sanders and Germack coffee. And, now, there is a new one to add to that growing list.

Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar Menu

This month, Michigan will get its first Hissho Sushi, a Charlotte, N.C.-based company known as an innovator in sushi and other traditional dishes. It is joining Grand Rapids-based Meijer and Kalamazoo-based Bell’s Brewery to set up shop in Brighton.

Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar – Avocado Toast

The store, which opens Feb. 7, will highlight the 840-square-foot space inside the grocery giant that highlights the food and its large craft beer list on tap.

“With this new concept, Hissho Sushi is redefining the experience of a customer’s visit to their local grocery store,” Danny Beem, CEO of Hissho Sushi, said in a statement. “It is our commitment to our retail partners and their customers to deliver hand-crafted, premium sushi that’s prepared by local chefs daily. This Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar allows us to go even further, providing one-of-a-kind experiences where shoppers can conveniently enjoy our products, enjoy a local craft beer and get in their weekly grocery run.”

The restaurant will employ a team of 15, including specially trained sushi chefs. Along with Hissho’s innovative sushi rolls, customers will also find a full menu carrying hot appetizers, including Asian chicken wings and Boom Boom Shrimp, Dim Sum and an ever-changing list of craft beer on tap. This location will also have a full breakfast menu, carrying morning favorites like avocado toast, acai bowls and real fruit smoothies.

Hissho Sushi is recognized as the second-largest sushi franchise in the country and has regularly been recognized for their phenomenal growth and as a top employer.

Founded in 1998, Hissho Sushi has grown to nearly 2,000 locations in 42 states. Hissho Sushi partners with retailers in grocery, university, corporate services and healthcare facilities.

National Sushi Vendor Selects Brighton Meijer for First Sushi, Craft Beer Bar in the Country

Article Originally Published on LivingstonDaily.com, click here to read the original by Jennifer Timar

Gan Hpung, franchisee of Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar inside the Brighton Meijer store, said Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 he is excited to run the company's first Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar and interact with customers face-to-face.
Gan Hpung, franchisee of Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar inside the Brighton Meijer store, said Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 he is excited to run the company’s first Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar and interact with customers face-to-face. (Photo: Gillis Benedict/Livingston Daily)

A national sushi vendor picked Brighton’s Meijer as the location for its first dine-in sushi and craft beer eatery. Charlotte, N.C.-based Hissho Sushi added its first Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar to the Meijer store at 8650 Grand River Ave. It is a new concept Hissho Sushi is trying out. 

Customers can select from boxes of sushi products in the front counter of Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar inside the Brighton Meijer, shown Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.
Customers can select from boxes of sushi products in the front counter of Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar inside the Brighton Meijer, shown Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Photo: Gillis Benedict/Livingston Daily)

“Customers want more than to buy sushi and leave. They want an experience,” said Brian Kiel, Hissho Sushi’s vice president of operations. 

The Brighton eatery was soft opened, as of Wednesday, serving sushi, other meals, breakfast foods and desserts. A grand opening will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Friday. It will be a “red-carpet style event,” according to a company release. Giveaways will be handed out to the first 25 customers, and shoppers can enter to win free Hissho Sushi for a year. 

It is located just inside the grocery entrance to the store by the deli section in a former Starbucks, which closed last year. 





Michigan Brew + New Menu


By Friday’s grand opening, the eatery will begin serving craft beer and wine. It will serve craft beers from Kalamazoo-based Bell’s Brewery.

“It’s important when customers come into Meijer, they feel it’s local,” Kiel said. “With this new concept, we’re trying to keep it local with local craft beer providers.”


Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar franchisee Gan Hpung prepares a sweet roll sashimi at the new store inside the Brighton Meijer on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.
Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar franchisee Gan Hpung prepares a sweet roll sashimi at the new store inside the Brighton Meijer on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Photo: Gillis Benedict/Livingston Daily)

He said the sushi and beer bar will also serve popular wines. The eatery will offer sushi rolls prepared daily. It will also serve hot appetizers such as Asian chicken wings, boom boom shrimp and dim sum. A full breakfast menu includes avocado toast, acai bowls and fruit smoothies. 

Kiel said the company expanded its menu to include non-sushi dishes at the Brighton location.

Gan Hpung, a sushi chef and franchise owner of the Brighton location, has prepared sushi and delivered it to 16 locations in Ann Arbor, including coffee shops and convenience stores near the campus of the University of Michigan. 

Hpung said he is excited to run the company’s first Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar and interact with customers face-to-face.

“Now, I have a little more power to serve customers,” he said. 

He said crispy crab and crispy shrimp sushi rolls are the most popular items he has sold.

“I also like to do poké bowls for people,” he said. Poké bowls typically consist of diced raw fish, rice, vegetables and other ingredients mixed together. 




A ‘launching pad’ in Brighton; Royal Oak up next


Kiel said the Brighton location, as well as a second location they are planning for a Meijer store in Royal Oak, will be a “launching pad” to test out the company’s new concept. The Royal Oak location is expected to open sometime this year.

“We’ll test these two, and if Meijer decides to, we’ll continue to scale it,” he said. “The ultimate goal would be to grow these locations in Meijer stores, maybe not in all of them, but hand-picked locations. 

Hissho Sushi is not new to Meijer. The store sold sushi out of a small display case. The company already has its products in about 100 Meijer stores, but none of them have a restaurant space like Brighton’s.

The company, founded in 1998, sells sushi at grocery and convenience stores, universities and corporate services and healthcare facilities. Sushi is prepared and sold by franchisees, sometimes on site. Other franchise owners delivery sushi to stores and facilities. 

“That is more of a grab-and-go situation,” Kiel said. 

He said Hissho Sushi is sold in about 1,750 locations in 42 states.


“With this new concept, Hissho Sushi is redefining the experience of a customer’s visit to their local grocery store,” Danny Beem, CEO of Hissho Sushi, said in a release. “It is our commitment to our retail partners and their customers to deliver hand-crafted, premium sushi that’s prepared by local chefs daily. This Hissho Sushi & Craft Beer Bar allows us to go even further, providing one-of-a-kind experiences where shoppers can conveniently enjoy our products, enjoy a local craft beer and get in their weekly grocery run.”

Dan Beem, CEO | Hissho Sushi

Hissho Sushi Joins WBTV’s QC@3 Team to Highlight Vegetarian Rolls

Originally Published on WBTV, click here to see the original

Company provides sushi to local grocery stores, cafeterias of corporations, airports, universities and more.

 

Have you ever wanted to try sushi, but you can’t stand to think about eating raw fish? Today on QC@3, Chef Dan Yang from Hissho Sushi showed us how sushi can be vegetarian. He even taught Cheryl how to create a roll of sushi!


 

Things to Know: 

Hissho Sushi is the second-largest sushi provider in the country with its world headquarters right in Charlotte, NC since 1998.

You can find Hissho Sushi in several locations including Earth Fare to Sprouts, Lowe’s Foods, Charlotte Douglas Airport, Bank of Americas Plaza and Walmart.

For a sushi beginner, Hissho recommends the California roll.

January 1, 2020 by Hissho News 0 Comments

Hissho Sushi Makes Sushi a Destination

Article Originally Published in Deli Business Magazine, click here to read the original (see pg. 25)


Deli entrées have evolved and become higher end to better compete with restaurant offerings

Prepared foods have definitely been taking over deli departments, not only creating meal destinations that are giving today’s restaurants a run for their money, but also raising basket rings for retailers.

New York City-based market research firm Nielsen reports that in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 26, 2019, prepared food dollar sales totaled close to $30 billion, a 3.8 percent increase from the same period a year prior.

“In general, we are seeing that consumers expect to have it all, including products that offer indulgence with healthful characteristics that feed the desires of today’s consumers at home,” says Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary Visions, based in Chicago. “Healthful, delicious, accessible and sustainable menu offerings are driving foodservice and of course, that would also apply to the supermarket deli, as well.”



Entrée Evolution


What we’ve been seeing in the last four to five years is an evolution into prepared foods destinations.

“This can be a separate segment in the store in some cases, but it depends on the store format,” says Eric Richard, industry relations coordinator for the Madison, WI-based International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA). “Stores are taking on different types of programs, such as in-store dining.”

What’s driving this is changing consumer eating patterns. More people want convenience and prepared food options, and the perfect time for picking up a meal is during a grocery shopping trip. Rather than the quintessential sandwiches or pizza, shoppers are seeking healthier fare, including plant-based entrées, foods sourced locally and unique, upscale fare typically found in restaurants.

“Restaurant trends are transcending to supermarket delis,” says Richard. “Retailers are in a good position to compete with restaurants.” A robust menu with new ideas is not a necessity, but a focus on flavor and doing a few things well are key. “Those embarking on a successful prepared foods program need to compete with restaurants of all types,” he says.

Hissho Sushi Dazzling Dragon Roll

“Customization and personalization are very important to take prepared food programs to a new level.” While one customer may want to explore different options, another’s goal may be to get in and out quickly. Providing both experiences can expand a program’s demographic to both types of consumers.

“From our experience, supermarket delis are evolving into a destination for
shoppers, where they can find innovative entrées with authentic flavors that are fresh, healthy and satisfying,” says Breana Jones, director, marketing and sales at Hissho Sushi, based in Charlotte, NC. “They want more convenience, flexibility and variety in prepared meals.”

Entrée items are becoming more sophisticated in the deli in terms of product, packaging and merchandising. “The products have moved from standard and traditional recipes to more premium ones with specialty ingredients and flavors that cater to today’s more demanding palates,” says John McCarthy, senior brand marketing manager, Reser’s Fine Foods, Beaverton, OR. “There is also a greater variety of entrées available in both
bulk and pre-pack. New meal kit packages are now offered that allow consumers to customize their meals.”

Delis today are creating meal solution sections where entrées are sold next to complementary items, such as sides and salads, to make it easy for consumers to quickly pick up dinner on busy weeknights. Whereas in the past, food was eaten for fuel, today it’s more about the experience.

Hissho Sushi Osaka Monarchy Platter

“This is an important factor to keep in mind from a retail standpoint, to give
consumers an experience,” says Larry Montuori, vice president of sales, Nuovo Pasta Enterprises, Stratford, CT.

In the last 12 to 24 months, there has been an influx of take-and-bake and quick-serve entrée foods and meals within the supermarket deli.

“Most stores offer pre-made entrée options, but some do offer self service
or make-your-own options,” says Derek Skogen, senior product manager, Placon, Fitchburg, WI. “Today’s consumer is looking for a convenience type meal solution that does not require a lot of time and is easy to prepare.”

Most stores have a dedicated space to an entrée or meal kit section that includes items prepared in the store deli area. “Rather than having a supermarket deli customer put fried chicken, a vegetable and starch in a separate self-serve bag or container, they can now easily grab an entrée that includes all items, and it is much more appealing than a frozen dinner and, in most cases, has been freshly prepared the same day,” says Skogen.




Trends & New Products


Hissho Sushi Spicy Pepper Roll

Customers are seeking meal solutions that are quick and convenient.
As a result, Hissho Sushi created new, innovative rolls that not only deliver
on taste, but also fulfill the health standard more shoppers are searching to find.

This year, the company unveiled its Spicy Pepper Roll and Veggie TNT Rolls made with a plant-based protein to serve as the “tuna” – a roasted bell pepper.

The company also has launched three light salads to complement its sushi rolls and complete families’ meals. The new Zesty Cucumber Salad, Ginger Edamame Salad and Banzai Crab Salad can serve as a side for any lunch or dinner roll.

In addition, its offerings now include six poke bowls and stuffed dumplings for a Dim Sum menu. A number of new deli entrées have reduced the amount of artificial ingredients and now offer cleaner ingredient lists.

“We are also seeing different portion sizes in pre-pack entrées to cater to the different consumer household sizes,” says McCarthy at Reser’s.

Reser’s recently launched three entrées in the deli—Baked Ziti Bolognese, Baked Chicken Broccoli Cheddar, and Baked 5 Cheese Macaroni—that are fully baked for a homemade taste and appearance without any prep. These entrées also come in a tray that is safe to heat in the microwave or oven so they can go directly from fridge to oven for added convenience.

Nuovo Pasta is relaunching its pesto line and debuting traditional sauces like marinaras, alfredos and putenascas.

“There has been an evolution with prepared food companies launching more gourmet side dishes that retailers can put together in commissaries,” says Carl H. Cappelli, senior vice president of sales and business development, Don’s Prepared Foods, Schwenksville, PA.

The company has launched five globally-inspired gourmet sides.

“There are trends with Middle Eastern, Asian and Latin American flavors, but comfort foods remain big in the U.S.,” says Cappelli. “The other big trend is prepared or heat-and-eat foods with little to no prep needed.

Hissho Sushi Salmon Lover Roll

Consumers also are seeking clean products with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.” There’s been an evolution from plated meals to chef-inspired meal kits. Now retailers are taking the cue and chains like Kroger, Publix and Whole Foods are jumping on that bandwagon.

Over the past 12 to 24 months, Placon has launched a variety of products within its HomeFresh Entrée product line. This provides a variety of options, ranging from one- to three-compartment bases that can
hold 8 up to 40 ounces of hot or cold foods. Keep in mind that most consumers don’t know what they are having for dinner tonight let alone in the next few days.

“So it is critical to properly merchandise entrées next to sides, salads and complementary dishes to create a meal solution center,” says Reser’s McCarthy. “It is optimal to provide simple meal ideas using shelf signage or tear sheets at the shelf that pair an entrée with a side and a salad, etc. for a
complete meal and offer special meal deal bundle pricing to make it as simple as possible for consumers.”



Marketing for Moving


There are a couple approaches, including providing an all-in-one solution and cross merchandising with other foods.

“On the one hand, there’s a basic level with rotisserie chicken, sides, a roll and beverages,” says Eric LeBlanc, director of marketing, Tyson Foods, Springdale, AR. “Cross merchandising is fresher, yet you can only do this with so many meal solutions at a time.”

Tyson recently worked with a retailer on co-merchandising, and by messaging outside the store, sales increased between 15 and 20 percent.

Retailers also can rotate a meal special each night or provide the components for a meal, such as chicken tenders, sub rolls, Mozzarella cheese and spaghetti sauce for a chicken Parmesan sandwich.

“[The mindset is] how do you take something that’s not exciting on its own
and make it into something that feels like another meal or dish,” says LeBlanc. “For example, combining buffalo wings, Hawaiian rolls and ranch dressing for a buffalo chicken slider. All you need is three ingredients, and it feels like a completely different meal.”

To ensure that messaging thrives, Hissho turns to its trained chefs to connect directly with shoppers inside the deli area and capture audiences through education of its menu, tastings and samples.

Hissho Sushi Chefs

“Retailers need to make it easy for consumers to find what they’re looking for and provide vegan/vegetarian options, entrées for meat eaters, and items to accompany entrées like French bread and grilled chicken, salad,” says Cappelli at Don’s. “It should be easy for them to find meal solutions to meet everyone’s needs.”

Utilizing social media brings tremendous value with deli prepared food marketing programs and is something all stores should be engaging in.

“It’s up to the individual chains to put the focus and concentrated effort on prepared foods departments,” says Richard at IDDBA. “We’re seeing new builds within supermarket chains where there is a much greater focus on this segment than in the past, and we predict that will continue to grow.”

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