Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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pull foods together that go with that theme without as much thought. It literally took less than five minutes to jot down a menu and that has been huge for me," said June Keeley, a wife and mother of two. Baggs started to navigate the supermarkets in the produce department, explaining that choosing a meal's fresh component is a good first step. He showed the families how to organize their carts by dish—protein, salad, appetizer and dessert—to further simplify meal planning. Most importantly, Baggs demonstrated how to use what's avail- able in other store departments to complement prepared foods and to create more complete, cohesive meals. On day four the Gebien family added rotisserie chicken to a premade orzo pasta salad to transform it into a more complex meal, for example. The Keeley family added fresh, refrigerated pasta, garlic bread and a salad to prepared meatballs and sauce. The Schnurr family used stock made from rotisserie chicken bones to add flavor to an Asian Stir-fry with shrimp and brown rice on night five. "Now I'm thinking, wow, that store really is as great as I thought it was," said dad Scott Schnurr. "The problem was my execution in using the prepared components. I just didn't know how to make it great. I was literally trying to take it out of the window, throw it on a plate and hope for a good experience. And the experience was terrible." Ebony Ramirez, a mother of five, added that Baggs' instructions made her think about prepared foods and the whole store expe- rience in an entirely new way. "When we first went shopping, I was lost. I went straight for the prepared foods and that's it," she said. "When I went shopping with Chef Charlie we walked through the vegetables and he showed us ways to use them to complement the taste of the pre- pared foods. I learned how to make prepared foods in different ways to make them more exciting for my family." Making the Most of Dinnertime Among his other culinary tips, Baggs demonstrated ways to reduce costs, such as making better use of leftovers and showing the best way to cut up a rotisserie chicken to make the most of its components. On night five the Gebien family enjoyed the same rotisserie chicken as a main ingredient in Caprese wraps, Mexican pizza, stir-fry and chicken cacciatore, for example. "I was always doing the same thing with the rotisserie chicken— bread and potato salad. Now if I buy the rotisserie chicken it will last us three days," added Ramirez. "I can prepare it three different ways, and the kids eat it because they think they're eating something different." To make dinnertime more fun and less stressful, Baggs encour- aged the families to spend more time together in the kitchen. On night four at the Schnurr house, Baggs broke the family into teams, giving everyone tasks to perform in the kitchen. On day six the Gebien family enjoyed a mac and cheese cook-off. "It created a memory. We were having fun. In the end there was the satisfaction of, hey, we did that," said Schnurr. Tyson's Le Blanc stressed that the families' new perspectives on the prepared foods department after just a few short visits with Baggs demonstrate the missing piece of retailers' prepared foods puzzle. "It wasn't a different store or a different blueprint. It wasn't a different price or a different assortment of product," said Le Blanc. "What made the difference is that they learned how to use the store to support their use of prepared foods. They learned how to use the assets the store already had and that made the difference." n Stay tuned for a report on day seven of the Tyson Foods' Prepared Foods Challenge and what these results mean for retailers of pre- pared foods in the March issue of Progressive Grocer. Elevating prepared foods at the Keeley house. The Schnurr family makes restaurant-qualit y mushroom sauce with a lit tle help from Chef Baggs. T Y SO N F OO DS ' P R E PA R E D F OO DS C H A L L E N G E PA RT T W O DAYS 1-3 Families make dinner on their own using prepared foods from local supermarkets. Families again are on their own to make dinner, this time using what they learned about prepared foods and the supermarket as a whole. Chef Charlie Baggs educates the families on prepared foods and how to make the most of them. DAYS 4-6 DAY 7

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