The Top 10 Food Trends For 2019, According To Whole Foods

“Twenty-six subject experts from Whole Foods have been convening for four years to predict what’s coming next to their own shelves and to the food world as a whole. These experts range from a master sommelier and global beverage buyer to a senior R&D culinologist to the president of the Whole Kids Foundation to a produce field inspector to a board-certified, internal medicine physician to a global meat buyer; some actually started out working at the store level.

Before I share their predictions with you, what is unsaid is that the chain, now owned by Amazon, has produced the biggest trend in grocery in decades: They have awaken a previously staid industry and revitalized it as chains both large and small are changing the way they look at grocery. Amazon/Whole Foods has also attracted new talent, some from Ivy League schools who might never have thought about a career in grocery, and led other grocers on the same path. For me one of the biggest trends for 2019 will be to watch where Amazon/Whole Foods leads us next.

Now on to Whole Foods’ top 10 food trends:

Pacific Rim flavors is the top trend, with Whole Foods announcing that its Market and 365 Everyday Value brands will launch a new line of products inspired by Pacific Rim fruits like a guava tropical vinaigrette, pineapple passionfruit sparkling mineral water, mango pudding mix and passionfruit coconut frozen fruit bars. It also expect to see ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste to appear on restaurant and home menus in dishes from breakfast to dinner. (…)”

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Walmart surpasses Amazon as online shoppers’ most popular grocer

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“The world’s largest retailer has surpassed the e-commerce giant in a survey of online food shoppers, more of whom said they most recently visited Walmart’s site for groceries. Local supermarkets were in third place, fueled in part by logistics provider Instacart, which handles orders for grocers like Kroger Co. and many others.

Walmart has moved ahead thanks to the rapid deployment of its curbside grocery pickup service, which is now in about 2,000 stores. An additional 1,000 will come on board by the end of 2019, the company said at a recent investor conference.

Walmart also works with delivery services like DoorDash and Deliv to bring groceries to customers’ homes for a fee. Amazon, meanwhile, offers grocery delivery from Whole Foods Market stores for its Prime customers in 60 cities, with in-store pickup now available in 10.”

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Walmart Employees Encouraged To use In-house Apps

Walmart Encourages Associates to Perform Tasks with Their Smartphones for Better Efficiency

“Walmart continues its push to empower its employees through technology, now encouraging store associates to accomplish everyday tasks on the job with their smartphones instead of store-supplied devices, with the intent of improving efficiency via familiarity.”

“We know technology is helping our associates be more productive and deliver for our customers in new ways,” said Brock McKeel, senior director of digital operations, on the retailer’s blog. “BYOD is just another option our people will have to access the custom apps that help associates perform their jobs.”

Read more here.

Pizza Hut Says It Will Use Robots to Cook Pizza En Route

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“Pizza Hut is fusing two of America’s favorite pastimes — pizza pies and pickup trucks — in a bid to cut delivery times as fast-food competition heats up.

As part of the restaurant’s latest partnership with Toyota Motor Corp., Pizza Hut has unveiled a robot-operated mobile pizza factory in the bed of a modified Toyota Tundra. The prototype will use automated technology to cook pies on-the-go in six to seven minutes, letting the chain expand its delivery area without the pizzas getting cold.

“We’re bringing the oven closer to the consumer’s door; nobody is doing that,” Pizza Hut’s chief customer and operations officer in the U.S., Nicolas Burquier, said in an interview. “We are pretty obsessed with improving the customer experience. The more we can get closer to their homes or the point of delivery, the better and hotter the product will be.”

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A Restaurant Brand Creator on How to Keep People Coming Back

“Sue Chan is the founder and chief executive officer of Care of Chan, a two-year-old brand management agency that has worked with a hit list of restaurants including Alta, Cosme, Una Pizza Napoletana, and Wildair to create that all-important but so-hard-to-capture great restaurant experience. Chan was previously the brand director at Momofuku for seven years.

At her own company, Chan focuses in on everything that makes a memorable restaurant experience the type of place that customers want to keep returning to again and again. While there’s no set formula for creating that unforgettable experience, once it’s in place it can drive sales and longterm customer loyalty like no quick-hitting press coverage can. “It doesn’t matter if you’re on Bon Appetit’s top ten, you could close in a year or two,” Chan explained. “That is a real thing that happens a lot. It’s more about just caring about the actual customers who come in every single day, and focusing on that community and building that community.”

See full interview here.

 

Winter Restaurant Promotions That Can Help Drive Business

Goulash, beef stew in cast iron pan, top view, close up

“With Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day all taking place during the winter, restaurants have several holidays they can leverage to increase business. Valentine’s Day in particular, and the weekends surrounding it, are an especially popular time for couples to dine out. According to the National Restaurant Association, Feb. 14 is the second busiest day of the year for restaurants. To capitalize on the popularity, restaurants should accommodate diners by offering a special experience. Whether it’s by changing décor or providing a unique menu, going the extra mile will help your restaurant draw in more customers.”

“Cold weather results in reduced business since diners are more hesitant to leave the comfort of their homes. However, there are certain steps restaurants can take to limit the negative effects of winter.”

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Restaurants at New York’s Hudson Yards Have a Big Plan to Feed Office Workers

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“More details are emerging about the dining roster at the $25 billion Hudson Yards project, and as a food editor who also happens to be a native New Yorker, I can say that it’s time to get very excited. By mid-March the megaproject’s 25 restaurants and food concepts, from José Andrés’s Mercado Little Spain food hall to the fish temple Estiatorio Milos, should be open.

Hudson Yards anticipates more than 40,000 employees arriving to work daily—a new epicenter of Manhattan supporting companies from Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management to Tapestry, VaynerMedia, and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs.

The question of feeding all those workers, as well as the thousands of residents and tourists who will be flowing through the 1-million-square-foot space, has obsessed Kevin Stuessi, vice president at Related Companies LP, the real estate company developing the project. He’s determined that most of the restaurants will have continuous service, starting at about 11:30 a.m., with late-night menus planned.

Following an exclusive hard hat tour in early September, Stuessi and Related Urban CEO Kenneth Himmel shared some of the most exciting details of the project’s signature concepts.”

Read more here.