NEW STORE CONSTRUCTION EMPHASIZES FRESH: FMI
WASHINGTON — Olive bars, sushi stations and more extensive health and wellness offerings are increasingly part of today's supermarket, according to a retailer poll by Food Marketing Institute. At least half of respondents said they installed such elements in new stores, while nine in 10 companies stated they're featuring fresh seafood, delis, prepared takeout foods and aisles or sections devoted to ethnic offerings in the supermarkets being built today. Overall, nearly 15% of operators have opened at least one special-format store in 2005, the last year for which figures were available. Of these, 44% were ethnic formats, especially Hispanic-themed banners, while lesser numbers were devoted to natural/organic foods or high-end gourmet items. The report, “Facts About Store Development 2006,” found that intense competition is compelling supermarket operators to react quickly to consumer trends.
NCBA LAUNCHES AWARD FOR RETAILERS
DENVER — The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has announced the launch of an annual national “Retail Beef Backer Awards” program. Designed to recognize retailers who demonstrate their commitment to innovative beef marketing and merchandising programs, NCBA will present awards in three categories this year: independents with fewer than 11 retail locations; chains with 11 or more stores under a company, banner or division; and an innovator award for innovative support or product merchandising programs, selected from the entire pool of applicants. Submission forms are available on beefretail.org, and are due Oct. 31, 2007.
NRA: PRODUCE SAFETY CONFERENCE ANNOUNCED
WASHINGTON — The National Restaurant Association has announced it will host “Produce Safety & The Foodservice Industry: A Farm-to-Table Conference” in Monterey, Calif., March 29-30. “In light of recent E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks, we hope that this conference will set the stage for restaurant-industry professionals to work with suppliers and government to enhance produce safety,” explained Steven C. Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the NRA. The conference agenda and registration materials are available on the NRA's website, www.restaurant.org.
CHILDREN AN UNTAPPED MARKET FOR PRODUCE: PMA
NEWARK, Del. — Nearly two-thirds of families with children don't eat their five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and that consumption gap represents a big opportunity for the U.S. produce industry, according to new consumer research by Opinion Dynamics sponsored by the Produce Marketing Association here. Almost 90% of respondents said it was somewhat or very important to make produce consumption fun for kids. Over two-thirds said that cartoon characters on packaging could help achieve that goal, but about 25% of respondents disagreed with those marketing tactics. Sixty-one percent said that parental encouragement was the most effective way to get kids to eat produce regularly, but 70% said they didn't have time each day to make sure they were providing all of those servings of fruits and veggies. PMA will host its Produce Solutions Conference, Consumer Trends 2007 in Charlotte, N.C., on March 22-24.
BJ'S RECALLS PRE-PACKAGED MUSHROOMS
NATICK, Mass. — BJ's Wholesale Club here voluntarily recalled prepackaged mushrooms after possible trace amounts of E. coli bacteria were found in routine inspection test results. The possibly contaminated mushrooms included five different SKUs of Wellsley Farms prepackaged fresh mushrooms purchased between Feb. 11 and Feb. 13. All were removed as a precaution.