Episode 49 - The 2011 Vendy Award winners! - October 5th, 2011

The 2011 Vendy Cup winners, Helen Philips from The School Nutrition Association tell us about school lunch and what does value mean for shoppers? For October 5th, 2011 this is Food News Today.

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Good Morning.  We are now streaming both on our Facebook page "supermarketguru" and on food news today -dot- com. Also, if you haven't done so already, be sure to go the itunes store and download smarter shopping our free app!  And did I mention it's free...  Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting and unbiased food news. 


>Representing the best of the tri-state area, food truck vendors and eaters gathered a week ago Saturday on Governors Island in New York, to compete for the ultimate food truck honor - The Vendy Cup.

We've talked before about the importance of the food truck phenomenon - perhaps it is the ultimate source for new food talent - and supermarkets should be scouring the streets to not only identify the latest in food trends but also to identify new talent to bring in store. 

The Vendy Awards are NYC's premier street food showcase and an intense cook-off between the best sidewalk chefs. 

The Vendy Cup winner was Solber Pupusas, a truck that serves pupusas - which some claim is the most authentic and traditional food from El Salvador - grilled corn masa patties hand shaped and stuffed with cheese and various filings. 

The People’s Taste award, selected by the hundreds who attended and tasted food from finalists in each award category, went to Souvlaki GR, an authentic Greek food truck that claims to be the best and freshest Greek food in NYC

Rookie of the Year went to Korilla BBQ, a truck that serves up Korean BBQ in burritos, tacos, or in a bowl.   

The winner in the dessert category was Wooly's, a healthy fruit snow ice accompanied with a variety of toppings including fresh seasonal fruits and sumptuous syrups.

 >A new national survey shows that students in school this year will find more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain options and locally grown foods in school cafeterias. The majority 69.5% of school foodservice directors say that implementing new nutrition standards is the most pressing issue facing cafeteria programs, that according to a recent report from the School Nutrition Association.  Earlier in the week I talked with Helen Phillips, President of the School Nutrition Association (SNA) about the current state of School Nutrition.

 Thanks Helen.

>In last weeks edition of Supermarket News, one of the article's reported on the findings from SN and the Supermarket Guru Consumer Panel surveys on how consumers view value and their means of achieving it compared to how the industry thinks consumers’ react to value.

The Value Shopper Survey illustrates the view from the supply side and how it is not always in synch with that of the consumer or retailer -  what consumers say and what the industry thinks about the importance of value can vary, sometimes to large degrees.

Most food shoppers consider themselves value shoppers.

With the recession, price became a primary qualifier of value for a lot of food shoppers. Retailers and manufacturers responded with deep-discount offers to help retain sales as consumers cut the amount in their shopping baskets. 

She goes on to say that in the post recession era, value is a moving target. It means different things to different types of shoppers. Price is often not the primary qualifier even as economic uncertainties continue to pressure consumer spending. 

The challenge for food retailers and the industry at large is to understand what value means to different food shoppers that will result in purchases and store patronage and purchases, and then target offers to appeal to consumers’ different sense of value. 

 >You might have heard there is a new video contest from the USDA – just submit a video of how to make half your plate fruits and veggies and you can win up to $1,500– just visit fruitsandveggies.challenge.gov.  

For Food News Today, I’m Phil Lempert, thanks for joining us. If you have a colleague in retailing, the media or a blogger who would like to also receive our advance email - please send them to foodnewstoday.com to sign up. Next week’s stories will be in your Tuesday