Progressive Grocer

JUN 2016

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5 SOLUTIONS JUNE 2016 retailer has recently enhanced its POS capabilities to print out a list of ingredients for diferent house-made items and outsourced products should customers ask. "Most of our products come from our production plant, but we source some items from smaller, independent business partners that are par-baked, and we will bake them fresh at the store level," Lara says. Some markets have hired their own pastry chefs to develop entire artisan dessert programs, while others partner with local bakeries to bring in products with strong brand recognition, according to Julie Dugas, a principal partner at Studio H2G retail design and branding frm in Birming- ham, Mich. Still others have combined both tactics. Te idea is to ofer more authentic products, says Todd. "Consumers want real butter croissants, made in the true French style vs. frozen, yeasty things," she says. Te artisan doughnut rage also continues to rage. "I could see retailers building their own mini doughnut shops where you could pick your own favors or toppings and pair it with some fresh-brewed cofee," says Todd. Shared and interactive Te shared plates phenomenon seems to have extended beyond the main meal, with restaurant diners now opting to share bites of beautiful, super-indulgent desserts. "Te restaurants and chains we work with are looking for desserts that are show-stopping and make people turn their heads when [it] comes out of the kitchen and goes across the dining room," says Todd, a former bakery owner who With more consumers searching out vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free meals and foods, it's no surprise these specialty items have hit the dessert category. The challenge for grocerants with house-made products, however, is in adequately separating preparation of these items in an already-tight kitchen space to avoid cross-con- tamination. As a result, many retailers have sought to sup- plement their dessert selections with gluten-free and vegan items provided by outside vendors. "We are always researching new businesses that can supply us with these specialty items," says Elias Lara, Raley's bakery category manager. "Right now we ofer a vegan chocolate and carrot cake and a variety of dessert rolls that are gluten-free from outside vendors." Raley's separates these items from other desserts, labeling them with clear signage and also teaching staf members to communicate accurate information about the products. "More and more consumers are asking for these items," Lara says. "We've trained our staf to easily direct them to that case." Raley's sources some desserts from smaller, independent business partners. PHOTO BY PATRICK MCDONNELL PHOTOGRAPHY Healthful specialties

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