It’s not unusual anymore to see retail chains represented at the Produce Marketing Association’s annual Foodservice Conference and Expo.

PMA CEO Cathy Burns says channels are blurring so much she noticed many more retailers walking the expo. Foodservice in retail is a big deal, and retailers feel a lot of pressure to get things right.

But maybe it’s not that complicated.

Consultant David Nour of the Nour Group, said at the late July conference treads aren’t tough to see. 

“We don’t need new ideas,” he says. “We need ways to implement them.”

Retail chains that have successfully taken market share from traditional foodservice have discovered ways to implement this trend.

They have the right mix of convenience, great taste and value. All of these are important. Fail at any and you can forget repeat business.

One trend I was looking forward to seeing at the expo was a pre-sliced mushroom pack for use with ground beef dishes, like hamburgers. This is a way to make “the blend” even more popular and easy to use.

Only one company — Monterey Mushrooms— had a mushroom blend pack at the expo. The handful of others told me they hadn’t gotten the process right yet.

While Giorgio Fresh Mushrooms didn’t have a blend pack yet, they say they’ve seen a resurgence in their stuffed mushroom blends because of the growth in foodservice at retail.

They were seeing a trend in quality and value-added and already had the right mix.


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