Stew Leonard’s Spring 2016 Trend Report
Today’s Emerging Food Trends that Will Shape What’s on Your Plate in 2016!
Norwalk, Conn. – April 6, 2016 – While the Internet may be buzzing about the latest green smoothie craze or over-the-top pastry trend, where customers actually choose to spend their dollars at the grocery store tells the real story behind what’s making up Americans’ diets today. After an internal evaluation of the farm fresh food grocer’s best-selling items, Stew Leonard’s customers are not only showing increased interest in products that will make their lives easier, but they’re also buying healthier, leaner, and all-natural cuts of meat and fish as well as looking for organic, non-GMO and local produce.
“My family has been in the food business for generations and we’ve seen plenty of trends come and go over the years,” said Stew Leonard, Jr., President and CEO of Stew Leonard’s. “Today, we’re seeing a real return to cleaner, more balanced eating.”
Here are four products from farm fresh food grocer Stew Leonard’s that have been increasingly making their way into customers’ shopping carts for the first quarter of 2016:
These days, it seems that customers are always on the lookout for nutritious, high fiber, low calorie foods that also deliver on taste. No small feat! Enter Stew Leonard’s hottest new product of 2016: Veggie Spaghetti. Made from yellow and green squash that is “spiralized” by hand every day in Stew’s produce department, customers are sautéing Veggie Spaghetti in a little of Stew Leonard’s Mediterranean Olive Oil and crushed garlic for a quick and tasty dinner that delivers the mouthfeel of an indulgent pasta dinner. (See Stew Leonard’s Pesto Marinara Spiral Cut Veggies recipe below.)
Thanks to the introduction of Veggie Spaghetti, Stew Leonard’s 2016 squash sales are up 90% over 2015. Overall, Stew Leonard’s other “convenience” foods from the produce department also continue to track upward, including pre-cut fruits and vegetables that are diced, chunked, and cored fresh throughout the day. Best sellers in this category include Diced Butternut Squash, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Cored or Chunked Golden Sweet Pineapple, Fresh Cut Fruit Bowl, Watermelon Chunks, and Vegetable Platters.
Stew Leonard’s Pesto Marinara Veggie Spaghetti Recipe
A versatile, quick, and healthy side dish! Stew Leonard’s Pesto Marinara Spiral Cut Veggies can be paired with grilled chicken, steak or steamed fish.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Yield: 4 servings as a side dish
1 Package Stew Leonard’s Spiral Cut Veggies
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, Smashed and minced.
2 Tbs. Pesto Sauce
½ Cup Marinara Sauce
2 Tbs. Parmesan Reggiano Cheese, grated
Salt & Pepper to taste
Basil, for garnish
Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, cook until translucent (not brown), about one minute.
Add vegetables, sauté over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add pesto, toss well.
To serve, heat marinara sauce and place on a serving platter. Add pesto vegetables on top of marinara sauce and garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.
Grass Fed Beef
It’s not just about the quality of food, but where – and how – our shoppers’ food is farmed. Stew Leonard’s in-store butchers are frequently asked about where and how their beef is raised and, due to customer demand, Stew Leonard’s began selling Grass Fed Beef from our Midwest farmers in late 2014. Just in the first few months of 2016, grass fed beef’s momentum continues to build as sales are currently +32% ahead of 2015. Direct from family-owned ranches in Montana, this 100% grass fed, free roaming beef contains no added hormones, no antibiotics, no artificial ingredients, and it’s high in Omega 3 fatty acids. In comparison to corn fed beef, grass fed beef is also more minimally processed and lower in fat.
Wild Caught Salmon
With its distinct ruby red color, wild caught salmon has been making a splash at Stew Leonard’s seafood counter! Thanks to its widely-reported health-benefits, more and more customers are now beginning to select wild caught salmon at the seafood counter; 2015 sales of wild caught salmon tracked 15% higher at Stew Leonard’s over 2014 sales. Wild caught salmon has half the fat and fewer calories than farm raised salmon, offers more iron and potassium, less sodium, and is rich in heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.
Stew Leonard’s carries wild caught salmon sourced from the pure, cold waters off of Alaska for a short period of time during the summer months; the remainder of the year, wild caught salmon is flash-frozen at sea to preserve its freshness and allow for shipping.
While lamb isn’t a popular dish on most American dinner tables, it is a staple in many cultures across the globe. So why hasn’t lamb been accepted by the American palate? Stew Leonard’s butchers have gotten feedback that customers fear that they won’t like the taste of lamb, which is known to be stronger and meatier than beef and chicken. But thanks to a demo program that was put in place in 2015, more and more shoppers are giving lamb a chance…and liking it! Stew Leonard’s lamb sales have steadily grown over the past 5 years; in fact, NAKED lamb sales were up more than 11% in 2015 vs. 2014!
Customers also like that Stew Leonard’s NAKED lamb is raised naturally and humanely in pristine pastures in New Zealand, feeding exclusively on fresh grasses, like clover, rye and alfalfa, resulting in a mild flavor and superior tenderness. Plus, Stew’s butchers will trim NAKED lamb to any specifications, making it easier to prepare and enjoy at home.
About Stew Leonard’s
Stew Leonard’s, a family-owned and operated fresh food store founded in 1969, has five stores in Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington, Conn. and Farmingdale & Yonkers, N.Y. with a sixth store planned in East Meadow, N.Y. Stew’s earned its nickname, the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores” because of its country-fair atmosphere, with costumed characters and animated entertainment throughout the store that keep children entertained while parents shop. Stew Leonard’s legion of loyal shoppers is largely due to the stores’ passionate approach to customer service: “Rule #1 — The Customer is Always Right”; Rule #2 – If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1.” This principle is so essential to the foundation of the company that it is etched in a three-ton granite rock at each store’s entrance. The company’s culture is built around an acronym for S.T.E.W.: Satisfy the customer; Teamwork gets it done; Excellence makes it better; WOW makes it fun. For more information, visit Stew Leonard’s website at www.stewleonards.com.
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