Grand Rapids, MI: Spartan Stores hosted the 7th Annual Grocery, Frozen & Dairy Expo on June 22-23, 2011, here. This annual national show drew 75 major food vendors and brokers from throughout the United States and Canada and featured 200 booths packed with exciting new food products ranging from "lattes on the go" to summer sensational ice cream to microwave popcorn in a pop up bowl.
Independent retailers had the opportunity to see all the new product innovations available in the coming year in a single show, and make decisions and purchases that meet the needs of the consumers they serve. In addition to 200 food booths, notable new show stoppers included:
- Nine culinary stations, including the Kraft sponsored premier station at the entrance to the show. The remaining eight stations are sponsored by Daymon Worldwide, Nestle, Kehe, Eggland's Best, Advantage Sales & Marketing, Acosta, Crossmark, and Sam Adams. Each station featured a culinary chef preparing a variety of recipes throughout the day.
- Health and wellness Section - this area educated retailers on the importance of reaching out to their customers with relevant products/activities to support critical Health & Wellness programs including Gluten Free, Allergies, Kids Health, Weight Management, Heart Health, Healthy Lifestyles and Diabetes.
- Eggland's Best fitness partner, Cathe Friedrich, was a featured guest hosting light, 15 minute workout sessions utilizing the HUGE screen provided by Pepsi. Friedrich was recently inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame and is credited for pioneering the fitness home video industry.
- Numerous product samplings took place at individual booths along with butler-style demos hosted throughout the show floor. Country Fresh unveiled a new Ice Cream center with a skating rink, Ocean Spray had a cranberry bog, and ConAgra will host a Hebrew National hot dog stand and Popcorn wagon. Nestle supported the food "court" as well with on-site pizza ovens baking DiGiorno pizza.
According to Alan Hartline, Spartan Stores executive vice president merchandising and marketing: "The 7th Annual Grocery, Frozen and Dairy Expo combines the ultimate in selling solutions to meet the needs of today's consumer, attractive, state-of-the art food displays with the excitement of new product announcements, healthy living initiatives, celebrity and motivational speakers, and on-site ordering capabilities via computer stations with the added benefit of meeting vendors and getting firsthand knowledge of new product launches.
"This show truly showcases Spartan Stores as a leader in the food service industry. As a value added wholesale distributor, Spartan Stores makes this possible for nearly 400 independent retailers to see, taste, and select products that they used to have to travel out of state and offer to many states to be able to make product decisions. Altogether this show reaches out to nearly 500 grocery stores and supermarkets throughout Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and ultimately impacts thousands of consumers. The show has tremendous economic impact throughout the State."
The Expo also featured a beer, wine and spirits tasting event, dinner, and entertainment featuring comedian John Pinette. Chris Osgood and Kris Draper served as Detroit Red Wing celebrity guests at the FOX Sports Detroit booth, and Miss Michigan made her inaugural public appearance as a guest of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.
New food products included:
- For Gluten Free - Kellogg's Gluten Free Rice Krispies - available mid July in stores.
- For latte lovers - Hot 2 Go Individual 10.6 oz. latte's in a ready to drink container (flavors include Hazelnut Coffee Latte/Light, French Vanilla Coffee Latte/ Light, Mocha Coffee Latte/Light). Hot Chocolate will be available in September.
- For movie makeovers - don't miss a scene of your favorite movie at home – whip up Orville Redenbacher Microwave Popcorn in its own Pop Up Bowl. Kettle and Ultimate Butter flavors will be in stores by mid July. Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop in a Bowl - 94 percent Fat Free to follow.
- For Ice Cream Cravings - Spartan Indulgent Creations Summer Flavors ice cream (Michigan Blueberry and Peaches & Cream) and Better For Your Ice Cream Sandwich and Fudge Bars by Country Fresh
- For Chocolate Milk with no High Fructose Corn Syrup - Dean's TruMoo Chocolate Milk.
- For Fast (low cal) Fiber - General Mills Fiber One 80 Calorie Cereal, 10 gr. Fiber.
- For Perfectly Paired Dinners - Bon Appetit - Steam Baked, Oven Ready Complete Frozen Meals packaged in two parchment pkgs. Each package includes wine pairing and salad suggestion with recipe. Each meal includes meat, vegetable and either rice or potato. Flavors include: Smoked Apple Bacon Chicken, Beef Red Wine Sauce, Roasted Garlic Chicken, and Creamy Pesto Chicken. Available in stores in August.
- For Super Soups and Sauces - Knorr Homestyle Stock (Beef or Chicken) - packaged with four small tubs of concentrated stock. Each tub makes 3 1/2 cups of product. The stock can be used in broth/soups, rice, mashed potatoes, pasta, roast chicken or turkey, sauces and gravies. The stock will be used at a cooking booth at the show.
- For Delicious Desserts - Voortman Cookies - Mocha Wafers and Coconut Creme Wafers, Peanut Butter Cookies and Mini Coconut Crunch.
- A number of new Spartan Stores brand products, including thin & crispy pizza in three new flavors, Spartan Sooo Juicy (four flavors), Spartan 100 percent juices (four flavors), Spartan trail mix, and Spartan pouch potatoes (three flavors).