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KeHE Distributors recently hosted its first-ever supplier carousel event focused on “authentic” and “mainstream” Asian foods in Los Angeles on Sept. 16-17. The event brought together best-in-class brands and retailers for assortment, merchandising and promotional planning related to Asian foods.
“When it comes to understanding a category like Asian food, there is no substitute for getting in-store, exploring the aisles, picking up products and seeing shoppers interacting in the retail environment,” said Jim Stange, category director of KeHE’s ethnic food category.
The format of the two-day event included a mix of education and planning, cultural immersion, meetings and networking. Highlights included store visits to two established curators of Asian food products, as well as Asian-themed dinner outings featuring traditional Korean BBQ at a downtown Los Angeles restaurant one evening, and more familiar Asian foods such as sushi another evening at the event hotel.
The Asian food carousel concept was a result of the dramatic growth KeHE is seeing in Asian foods. “Our retail partners rely heavily on KeHE and our category expertise to identify what’s currently ‘on trend’ (in this case global cuisine made easy) and how they can best implement those trends in their stores for their customers,” said Stange. “Given the overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, we will certainly plan to host more carousels like this in the future; it’s clearly a formula that works well for our partners."
According to KeHE, the Asian carousel provided its participating suppliers and retail partners with the understanding of where and how to best align their companies within the Asian food category. KeHE plans to replicate this event formula with other categories as it continues to decode other on-trend segments of the industry.
Romeoville, Ill.-based KeHE Distributors provides services to over 35,000 retail outlets throughout North America.