NEW YORK -- Central and South American foods were among the items that made an impression on select mainstream supermarkets at the Expo Comida Latina, a Hispanic food and beverage trade show held here for the first time after launching on the West Coast.
Robert Partridge, Safeway's Hispanic-food marketing coordinator, said he noticed a variety of Central and South American foods and beverages that could be appropriate for some of the supermarket chain's stores, especially those in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Safeway is based in Pleasanton, Calif.
Partridge said he attended the event primarily to gain more information about the wants and needs of Latinos.
"This show is an education process," Partridge told SN in a brief interview on the show floor.
While many of the show's attendees were representatives from ethnic restaurants and specialty stores, mainstream supermarkets were in attendance as well. Along with Safeway, SN observed officials from Wegmans Food Markets, Acme, Stop & Shop and members of Wakefern Food Corp. Others registrants included Food 4 Less, Food Circus, Giant Food, Gristedes, Kroger, Pathmark, Ralphs, Shaw's and Whole Foods.
Linda Alexander of Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y., said she was on the lookout for products to merchandise in an international foods section she'll manage at a new Wegmans unit slated to open Nov. 9 in Woodbridge, N.J.
"The store caters to people from a lot of different cultures," Alexander told SN. "There's a large ethnic population." She declined further comment.The Expo Comida Latino's inaugural event was in Los Angeles last year.
The event here marked the show's expansion to the Northeast, home to more than 4 million Hispanics. Government and industry statistics show Hispanics have become the largest minority in the United States.