Fascinating Food Trends

This week I’m signing on to talk about a pivotal element in the grocery business: food trends. For me, this is one of the most fascinating aspects of our business because it is something that constantly changes. There’s always something new and exciting to explore. Whether it be a new health trend or an intriguing overseas food phenomenon, its fun attempting to dissect what and why people are buying.

For example, have you noticed the abundance of products related to pomegranates that have appeared on the market over the last year? Research shows that more than 150 new products (up from approximately 30 at the end of 2003) appeared in the first nine months 2005! Wow! In addition to adding a new flavor to their lifestyles, consumers are of course interested in the many health benefits which this fascinating fruit possesses, such as a high antioxidant count, which aids in the breakdown of fatty deposits on artery walls. Even just two years ago it was difficult to imagine the sort of success such an obscure product could have in our marketplace, and now it is an integral part of our product repertoire. We’re proud to be able to showcase this fruit in many forms and varieties, from juice to jelly to lip gloss.

On the flip side, we’ve watched food trends die, and die hard. The Lo-Carb craze which dominated much of 2003 and 2004 has had its last gasp, as shoppers have tired of the high prices and poor quality of the products. Correspondingly, they’ve branched out more and more into other cuisines which offer them excellent flavor, a nutritional balance, and a sense of excitement, such as Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. Many people have come to realize that they can experience exceptional tastes with minimal guilt, and we strive to provide our shoppers with that very thing, introducing new products such as Shirataki Tofu Noodles, which provide the desired texture of a noodle and combine superbly with the traditional Asian flavors. They’re really an exciting product, and we feel great about them.

As researchers continue to explore new and better ways of pleasing shoppers, using scientific evidence in the hopes of discovering a way to keep people both satisfied and healthy, so do we do our best to stay on top of what our customers want. We think that providing fun and healthy alternatives to traditional cuisines is a cornerstone of our business, and we’re always on the lookout for something new and intriguing. So check back with me from time to time, and let me know what food experiences you’ve had. I’d really love to hear from you.

Jim Hiller


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