MINNEAPOLIS — Citing consumer efforts “to stretch their food budgets without sacrificing quality and taste,” Supervalu has announced the launch of Culinary Circle, a new line of more than 150 private-label grab-and-go meals, artisan breads, appetizers, side dishes, soups, salads, specialty sauces, seasonings and desserts.
“The rising cost of gas and other household necessities makes it harder for many consumers to justify dining out as often as they'd like,” Chad Terrell, Culinary Circle brand manager, said in the announcement. “Our lineup of chef-inspired Culinary Circle products is designed to bring affordable, quality meals to the dining room, and help meet the needs of consumers who love to eat out and sample different kinds of foods or indulge in the kinds of meals they simply don't have the time to make at home.”
Packaging for the products features two photographs — one illustrating a chef preparing food, and the other showing the plated meal. A “chef's mark” logo, evoking the semicircular drizzle of chocolate or specialty sauce used on plates at many fine dining restaurants, combines with the photographs to create a simple, upscale motif intended to help shoppers recognize the new products throughout the store.
For example, grab-and-go entrees — such as Rosemary Chicken over Wild Rice Pilaf, Pork Carnitas Enchilada Casserole and Parmesan Chicken Alfredo Pasta — can be found in the deli department. Soups and side dishes, including creamed spinach, macaroni and cheese, and baked scalloped potatoes can be found in the deli as well, along with several new spreads, sauces, gravies and specialty dips.
In the bakery department, a lineup of 10 artisan breads will be rolled out, along with fresh-baked cinnamon rolls. Many other items, including new lines of cookies and crackers, can be found in the grocery aisles, while Culinary Circle desserts and pizzas will primarily be located in the frozen food department.
All Culinary Circle products will be priced about 20% to 25% below similar products at casual dining restaurants, and 10% to 15% less than comparable premium national brands. The company's announcement cited a recent study conducted by the Food Marketing Institute that indicated as many as 70% of Americans have been dining out less often due to economic concerns, but in recent years have become accustomed to “a broader and more unique array of foods.”
“Significant research and understanding of consumer insights went into the development of the brand, which has enabled us to appeal directly to consumers' desire for premium products that help them re-create the casual restaurant experiences they've come to enjoy, at a fraction of the cost,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, executive vice president, merchandising and marketing, at Supervalu.
Supervalu has launched a website at www.culinarycircle.com, where shoppers will soon be able to find simple 10-minute recipes that incorporate Culinary Circle products. Currently, the site features descriptions and photos of the products, along with a store locator to help visitors find their nearest Supervalu, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, Shoppers, Farm Fresh, Shop 'n Save, Acme, Hornbachers, bigg's, Cub Foods or Shaw's store.