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Ethnic Markets May Be the Next Trend in Retail

Thursday, January 19, 2017   (0 Comments)
Food Institute Blog

Jennette Zitelli



Specialty, natural and organic markets used to be the new trend, as chains like Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market and the Fresh Market became extremely popular. However, now that natural and organic food has become more mainstream and more traditional markets are beginning to expand their specialty offerings, another retail food trend may be emerging.

Ethnic grocery stores are poised to be the next area of growth for the supermarket industry, taking the place of natural and organic specialty formats, according to private investors, reported Supermarket News (Jan. 11). Hispanic-focused retailers, such as Mi Pueblo, Cardenas Markets and Fiesta Mart are attractive to private equity buyers as the U.S. Hispanic population is expected to double by 2050, according to Acosta Sales and Marketing. In addition, Hispanic customers tend to buy more groceries and shop more often than other demographics in the U.S.

Scott Moses, managing director and head of food retail and restaurant investment banking for Peter J. Solomon, notes that Latino-focused specialty grocers will not only continue to flourish, but traditional supermarkets will also be able to better serve their local demographics by offering Latino-focused products.

Other ethnic markets focused on Asian, Italian and Greek foods are also poised to grow. Milwaukee, in particular, has developed a reputation as an ethnic food mecca, and two local grocery stores are planning expansions to further their offerings of such food, reported Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Jan. 17). On the east side of the city, Glorioso's Italian food store will open a new location across the street from its present, 6-year-old location. According to general manager Michael Glorioiso, renovating the original space was always the plan. The new location will feature a cooking school, an event space and a large commercial kitchen to help meet demand at the store and allow the business to expand its catering operation.

In West Allis, European grocer Parthenon Foods will open a second, larger store on West Greenfield Avenue. Dan Sarandos, second-generation owner of Parthenon Foods, is hoping the new store, Parthenon Foods European Market, will be ready to open later in February. The new location will feature more products than its other store, along with a larger deli and bakery area and more fresh fish and meat. It will also offer more hot prepared foods, and to-go sandwiches. Some of the other specialty items it offers are a vast selection of imported feta cheeses and olives, fresh lamb and fresh phyllo doughs. Greek desserts such as baklava, diples, halva and kourambiethes are also popular.

In California, Zion Market launched a Korean-American grocery concept in Irvine. The concept, dubbed Zion Mart, will provide shoppers with Korean, Japanese and Chinese produce and food products and will add an assortment of American groceries, reported The Orange County Register (Jan. 16). The store will also feature prepared and pre-packaged foods, including marinated meats and bulgogi rice bowls, a cold-pressed juice and espresso bar, kombucha on tap, a Korean bakery with fresh sandwich breads, sweet potato cakes, roll cakes, and chestnut pastries, and a mini-food court with Asian noodle soups and dishes.

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