Sponsored by Blount Fine Foods
Blount Fine Foods has developed a mini food hall to showcase its wide array of soups and side dishes at the upcoming National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in Chicago, May 18-21.
Food halls like Eataly Chicago or Berg’n in Brooklyn, NY, continue to impact the retail marketplace, offering shoppers a range of choices, the ability to sample the latest trends and the opportunity for social interaction about food — all in one location. Blount has adapted the concept for the benefit of NRA attendees.
The Blount booth (#1631) will feature six tables, each with its own focused display of trending menu items. Operators will have the opportunity to browse and taste each item, and discuss product details with knowledgeable Blount staff members.
Six tables to sample
The themes of the six tables are Top Flavors, Hot Trends, Comfort Flavors, Plant Forward, Mac and Cheese Bar with Toppings, and Sides. The following represents a sample of what will be featured at each table:
- Top Flavors: Broccoli cheddar, always a satisfying combo. Creamy tomato clam chowder, with the tomato adding a new twist to traditional clam chowder.
- Hot Trends: Featuring Asian and spicy flavors like Thai chicken and enchilada soup. Ethnic spices add a new flavor profile to tasty favorites.
- Comfort Flavors: Lasagna soup and Uncle Teddy’s chili. What better way to please the palates of customers who want familiar flavors with a chef’s touch?
- Plant Forward: Ancient grain minestrone and roasted red pepper withsmoked Gouda are two of the dishes to be offered. Plant forward is one of the hottest trends in foodservice. Responding to consumers’ desire for increased consumption of plant-based foods, Blount has added a line of soups featuring beans, fruits, vegetables and grains.
- Mac and Cheese Bar with Toppings: White cheddar and smoked Gouda. Operators can’t go wrong with mac and cheese. Different toppings offer an easy way to add flavor choices that spark up the perennial favorite.
- Sides: Mexican street corn and Tandoori riced cauliflower. Global fare creates side dishes that provide a way to enhance the usual protein entrées. They add color, flavor and variety.
These are just a few of Blount's entire portfolio of menu items that will be featured at Booth 1631. All of Blount’s products are developed in the company’s test kitchen to make operators' lives easier by providing soups and sides that are a snap to use, are full of flavor and meet consumer demand for comfort foods as well as trending flavors.
Booth design encourages interaction
Rachael Girard, national accounts/foodservice marketing manager for Blount, explains that the new booth design was driven by the desire to spur more productive interaction with customers. Instead of staff members standing behind a counter and simply providing samples to show attendees, they are able to circulate and discuss product features and benefits with customers.
To prevent confusion with so many samples, the tables offer clear-cut signage, she says. In addition, rather than handing out a large POS sheet with 200 soups, each table will have its own custom-designed marketing piece that describes what is being featured and lists QR codes that are linked to the Blount website. Attendees can place the smaller pieces in their bags or briefcases, providing a handy reminder of the items they sampled when they return to their restaurant.
Blount’s national sales team will be available at the booth to meet with customers from their regions. Girard encourages each visitor to have his or her barcode scanned to allow the appropriate sales person to follow up after the show.
The selection of trending flavors and combinations were the result of studies conducted by industry research firms including Technomic and IRI. Operators may have read about what’s hot in the marketplace, but the food hall will give them the opportunity to experience the flavors themselves, Girard points out. “We have created our versions of the trends,” she says, “and have made them available so operators can try them and make up their own minds.”
The focused, custom-marketing pieces available at each table will provide a convenient way for customers to determine what they like and may want to add to their menu when they return home.
Booth #1631 is the destination for operators attending the NRA Show who are seeking a productive shopping experience. The food hall format will enable show attendees to focus on the six different categories of flavors and trends, and Blount will provide them with the soups and sides that will enhance their menus. Plus, the tasting will be supported by informational takeaways and Blount staff members who will be standing by to help.