Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News April 2020

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BY LORRIE BAUMANN Specialty foods can help inde- pendent grocers survive current disruption in the grocery indus- try, according to Ron Tanner, the Specialty Food Association's Vice President for Philanthropy and Government and Industry Rela- tions. He addressed the National Grocery Association's annual conference for independent re- tailers in February. Large legacy brands in the food business are losing market share to smaller, entrepreneurial food producers, he pointed out, and while the top 20 brands in the mass market food industry have lost $15 billion in market share BY LORRIE BAUMANN Sugar Magnolia, in Blacksburg, Virginia, is part gift shop, part ice cream parlor and part sweet shop, with lines that include a wide range of paper products, lo- cally and regionally-made ice cream, chocolates and other can- dies, cookies and gourmet pop- corn. The shop was founded by Tom and Michelle Raub, who moved to Blackburg thinking that they would start a little gift shop that would fill a niche sep- arate from the other gift shops that were already in town by fo- cusing less on licensed products for sports fans and more on the Selling Sweetness and Nurturing Community at Sugar Magnolia Continued on PAGE 23 Continued on PAGE 8 Continued on PAGE 9 kind of gifts a visitor to the town would purchase as gifts to take home to friends. This was supposed to simplify their lives and let them relax a little bit after their demanding corporate ca- reers. "That didn't work so well," said Tom, who's now Sugar Magnolia's Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officer, while Michelle is the company's Owner and Buyer. They called that little gift shop t.r. collection and opened in a 600 square-foot space in which they offered a small se- lection of paper products along with home décor items, apparel and jewelry along with some items color-themed with the ma- roon and orange of Virginia Tech, which is located in Blacksburg. Sugar Magnolia came along in 2018, and most recently gained national attention as one of three businesses offering drone deliv- eries for selected merchandise to residents of nearby Christians- burg, Virginia, as part of a pilot project by Palo Alto, California- based Wing, a subsidiary of Al- phabet, Google's parent company. The other two compa- nies participating in the drone delivery project are Walgreens and FedEx, making Sugar Mag- nolia "the first small business in the U.S. to have our product commercially delivered by Dairy Farmers Go Plant-Based Specialty Foods Offer Opportunities for Independent Grocers over the past six years, sales of specialty foods have been growing at a rate that far outpaces the growth of food sales in general. Specialty food has grown into a $148.7 billion business, as of 2018, from the $25 billion busi- ness it was just 12 years ago. Three-quarters of that $148.7 bil- lion business is going to brick- and-mortar retailers, and specialty food currently accounts for 16.1 percent of all food sales, Tanner said. Cheese remains the category generating the most sales, al- though with the growth of plant- based foods, the Specialty Food Association is now counting plant-based cheese as part of that category. Consumers are now spending more than $4 billion a year on specialty cheeses. Other fast-growing categories include refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives, rice cakes, frozen plant-based meat alterna- tives and refrigerated ready-to- drink teas and coffees as well as jerky and other meat snacks. Tan- ner noted that plant-based foods are among the fastest-growing spe- cialty food categories, with about one third of consumers saying that they have tried these products within the past six months. BY LORRIE BAUMANN Saffron Road is launching frozen and shelf-stable meal entrees de- signed to appeal to consumers who read the backs of pack- ages before the items go into their bas- kets. The new frozen prod- ucts include S h a w a r m a Chicken with Lentil Rice; Thai Red Curry Chicken with Jasmine Rice; and Continued on PAGE 6 Saffron Road Challenges Plant-Based Exuberance Thai Basil Noodles with Grass-fed Beef. The two shelf-stable vege- tarian options are Chickpea Masala and Delhi Potatoes, known in India as Aloo Mattar. In addition, Saffron Road has three new varieties of its Crunchy Or- ganic Chick- peas: Toasted Coconut, Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper and Buffalo. They'll all be reaching grocers' shelves and freezer cases in May or June of this year. The introductions come as more consumers are looking for plant-based meal options, driving growth of the category by 31 per- cent over the past two years, so that the retail market for plant- based foods is now worth almost $4.5 billion, according to research by the Good Food Institute and the Plant-Based Foods Associa- tion. Some of that growth reflects BY LORRIE BAUMANN Dairy farms are in trouble because Americans' consumption of fluid milk has been declining for decades. Dairy farmers are being driven out of business by the slump, and although it's easy to b l a m e the mak- ers of p l a n t - b a s e d dairy al- t e r n a - tives for some of the prob- lem, one of those manufacturers is working on a way to be part of the solution. Hälsa Foods, which makes a plant-based yogurt products from oats, is setting up a pilot project to test whether struggling dairy farms might be able to profit from the plant-based movement by growing oats that can be made into its Hälsa Organic Oatgurts. "We have to start creating win/win solutions because we're all part of the same food system," said Helena Lumme, co-Founder and President of Hälsa. "All of us in the food business are depend- ent on the cyclical patterns, and right now the trend is away from dairy milk to plant-based milk. VOLUME 85, NUMBER 4 APRIL 2020 n $7.00 www.gourmetnews.com News ..............................................6 Ad Index .......................................23 Calendar.......................................23 G OURMET N EWS T H E B U S I N E S S N E W S P A P E R F O R T H E G O U R M E T I N D U S T R Y ® UPDATE: Creative Flavors SEE PAGE 15 HOT PRODUCTS: Spread The Love Foods SEE PAGE 21 NATURALLY HEALTHY: Moocho SEE PAGE 14 NEWS & NOTES n Integrated Fresh Solutions Names Matt Christ VP of Business Development PAGE 6 RETAILER NEWS n TASTE Opens in Virginia Beach City PAGE 8 SUPPLIER NEWS n But What About the Tea? And What Do We Drink Now? PAGE 10 NATURALLY HEALTHY n Fresh Meat to Save the Planet from Extinction PAGE 13 SUPPLEMENT n Creative Flavors PAGE 15

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