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Retail Strategies for Multicultural Shoppers

With the rapid growth of multicultural households in America and their unparalleled influence on the marketplace, market researchers suggest that there is a strong need for retailers to revise their in-store strategies to include a wider range of fresh food products and flavor profiles that cater to the multicultural consumer set. With this in mind, Nielsen has released a comprehensive report to help retailers understand the influence multicultural consumers wield across the meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery categories. The report entitled, “A Fresh Look at Multicultural Consumers,” reveals strategic insights for retailers looking to leverage new growth opportunities across the perimeter over the next several decades.

Multicultural consumers are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population and the growth engine for fresh food categories within the grocery space. According to this Nielsen report, multicultural households spend a higher share on fresh food as a percentage of their total food spend compared to non-Hispanic white households. In fact, multicultural consumer shoppers make 3 percent more trips to the store containing fresh items and spend 4 percent more per year on fresh items. This results in a $2.2 billion opportunity for retailers.

For many multicultural families, fresh food is a dietary staple. The multicultural preference for fresh comes from cooking and eating norms that centrally reflect the unique cultures of African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics. That said, the allure of multicultural flavors and desire for fresh food are influencing a wider range of shoppers and becoming a key driving force for fresh growth.

“In order to tap this critical market, retailers need to rethink their delivery and assortment strategies of fresh products being offered to today’s increasingly multicultural shoppers,” said Courtney Jones, Vice President of Multicultural Growth and Strategy at Nielsen. “To be successful, retailers must understand the importance that culturally relevant, fresh offerings play in the multicultural shopper landscape. Retailers must also embrace the many layers of multicultural consumers and the undeniable ‘halo effect’ that those consumers are having on mainstream non-Hispanic white shoppers. The multicultural consumer covers a broad spectrum, from multi-generational families to Millennials, to Asian American, African American and Hispanic subgroups that have been influenced by distinct global culinary traditions. Retailers must consider the multi-ethnic tastes of their current and desired customers and recognize that the palates that favor multicultural flavors are influencing the taste preferences of non-Hispanic whites and society at large.”

The report’s key findings include the notion that multicultural flavors have moved into the mainstream for the deli department and continue to grow, also attracting non-Hispanic white shoppers who are inspired by the ethnic flavors found in the deli. Multicultural consumers are taking advantage of the quick and easy meal solutions and meals for large families within the deli department.

In the produce department, all kinds of shoppers are being inspired by the produce used in culinary traditions other than their own, and social media influences, television cooking programs and popular restaurant flavor trends are infiltrating the produce aisle. For example, the growth of habañero, with items popping like habañero grilled vegetable and even habañero margaritas.
Neilson’s research found that multicultural consumers spend more in meat and seafood departments than any other fresh department. Within the seafood department, multicultural households spend $62 a year, compared to non-Hispanic white households at just $43. Multicultural consumers are less willing to purchase branded fresh meat and seafood items; instead there is preference towards made-to-order, unbranded meat products, typically prepared behind the counter.

The bakery offers the biggest opportunity for multicultural consumers, who spend only 9.8 percent of their fresh dollars on bakery items, according to Neilsen. The report suggests that the bakery’s proximity to the deli should be leveraged to create strong cross-department connections for multicultural shoppers across multiple entertaining categories.

Emmi Roth USA Adds New Product to U.S. Kaltbach Cheese Line

Emmi Roth USA is expanding its sought-after Kaltbach line with a new imported cheese from Switzerland. Emmi Kaltbach Le Crémeux will join Kaltbach Le Gruyère AOP, Kaltbach Emmentaler AOP and Kaltbach Alpine Extra as available Swiss imports through Emmi USA.

Emmi Kaltbach Cremig Wurzig Laib dreiviertelMade in 9-pound wheels, Kaltbach Le Crémeux is a washed-rind cheese that is sweet and unassuming at first, but keeps you coming back for another bite as the flavor and texture develops and becomes reminiscent of a soft cooked egg yolk in a bowl of ramen. It is a semi-firm cheese that’s crafted with pasteurized milk and microbial rennet and aged a minimum of 120 days in the Kaltbach caves in the Alpine Valley near Lucerne, Switzerland.

Swiss cheesemakers and affineurs carefully handpick a select number of wheels to continue their refinement in the Kaltbach Caves. The caves are a 22 million-year-old natural sandstone labyrinth with a small tranquil river that runs through it. It’s that river that inspired the complex’s name – Kaltbach means “cold river,” and it’s what allows for a constant 96 percent humidity in the cool, mineral-rich cave air. The enormous amount of cave-wall surface area helps regulate the aging atmosphere and promotes a stable setting for the cheese to ripen. The porous nature of the sandstone acts as a give and take. It absorbs moisture when the air is too damp and releases it when it’s needed. This natural process regulates the humidity and is a crucial part of texture and flavor development that makes Kaltbach cheeses unlike any other in the world.

The demand for artisan cheese continues to grow in the United States,” says Tim Omer, President and Managing Director at Emmi Roth USA. “We remain the number-one importer of Gruyère in the country and are proud to continue to introduce new products to the United States from our parent company in Switzerland. Like all cheeses we import, Kaltbach Le Crémeux is unique and special.”

Emmi Kaltbach Le Crémeux was introduced in the U.S. at the Winter Fancy Food Show from January 21-23 in San Francisco. The entire Kaltbach line is available to retailers nationwide and will continue to be available in specialty cheese shops throughout 2017.

Specialty Food Sales Continue Strong Growth Trend

The Specialty Food Association is reporting that dollar sales for the specialty food industry grew by 15 percent between 2014 and 2016 and reached $127 billion in annual sales in 2016, now accounting for 14.8 percent of all food sales at retail. Snack food sales reached $16.3 billion in 2016, and snacks now account for about 28 percent of the entire specialty food market. Jerky and meat snacks led the growth for the snack food segment, leaping ahead by more than 86 percent between 2014 and 2016, while sales of chips, pretzels and similar snacks grew by 13.6 percent between 2014 and 2016 and now account for more than $3.5 billion in annual sales.

Cheese, including plant-based cheese alternatives, still continues to be the leading category in the specialty food market, with $4.422 billion in sales during 2016, for a 12.4 percent increase between 2014 and 2016.

The information comes from the Specialty Food Association’s annual report on the state of the specialty food industry. “The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2017” is a collaboration between the Specialty Food Association and market research firm Mintel. The report indicates that while specialty food sales continued to climb in 2016, growth in retail and foodservice channels slowed over the previous year, partly due to an increase in online purchasing for these products.

Some of the growth in the retail channel is coming in mainstream retail channels, with growth in sales in chain grocery stores and mass merchants outpacing that in natural and specialty chains for the first time. Growth is also happening in the foodservice channel, as more fine dining restaurants adopt specialty food products into their menus. Foodservice represents more than one fifth of specialty food sales and grew by 13.7 percent between 2014 and 2016.

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