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Poke Bowls – Hissho Sushi Beer Bar
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Hissho Sushi Beer Bar

March 17, 2020 by clapcreative 0 Comments

Poke Bowls Tap Into the Fresh Perimeter

Article Originally Published on Super Market Perimeter, click here to read the original by Andy Nelson

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Hissho Sushi continues to see strong demand for its poke bowls sold in grocery perimeter departments around the country, says Corey Wilde, the company’s vice president of business development.

A big reason? Poke bowls are affordable and trendy at the same time.


“Poke bowls prove to shoppers that they don’t have to go to an expensive restaurant to get the hottest culinary trends,” Wilde says. “That’s something that our retail partners are excited about — being able to grow their business by offering access to fresh, innovative meal options that are convenient for the shopper’s busy, on-the-go lifestyle.”

Corey Wilde, VP Business Development | Hissho Sushi

Products like Hissho poke bowls for grocery retail are tapping into the fact that supermarket prepared foods are the fastest growing sector of the foodservice industry, with sales exceeding $12.7 billion, according to Washington, D.C.-based FMI – The Food Industry Association.


“We want to maximize that growth by providing premium, more wholesome and customizable options that our customers are looking for,” Wilde says — and poke bowls fit the bill perfectly.


Four years of explosive growth — and still going

According to September 2019 Datassential research, poke is the top trending seafood dish in the U.S., with 17% growth over the last year and 187% growth over the last four years.

Megan Rider, domestic marketing director for the Juneau-based Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, doesn’t think that trend will change anytime soon.


“We expect to see demand spike even higher this year, with the 2020 Summer Olympics set for Tokyo and Japanese influence expected to permeate further into the American culinary landscape,” she says.


Megan Rider, Domestic Marketing Director | Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

First, as Rider points out, poke restaurants exploded across the U.S. Now, as so often happens, the trend is migrating to other channels — namely, grocery perimeter departments.


“In addition to gourmet and natural supermarkets leading the way with self-serve poke bars, the trend is moving out of the seafood department and into the mainstream deli, with retailers increasingly offering prepared poke among other fresh-prepared items,” she says.


Hissho poke bowls sold at grocery retail are hand-crafted daily by local chefs with high-quality, responsibly-sourced ingredients, Wilde says. Poke, he adds, has everything the company’s customers already love about their sushi, but now they’re thinking “outside the roll” and having it crafted into a satisfying and convenient bowl they can take on the go.



Choices galore (or just make our own)

Hissho currently offers five different poke bowls, which vary depending on the location. The company’s signature bowls include Classic Hawaiian Poke, Mango Salmon Poke and Blake Dragon Poke. Grocery shoppers can order a signature bowl or build their own right there in the deli section.

In 2019, Hissho introduced two new bowls: Aloha Poke and Salmon Lover Poke.

Aloha pairs tuna, fresh ginger, edamame, blueberries, red onion and red radish on a bed of sushi rice and lettuce. The unique combination delivers “fresh, powerful flavors,” Wilde says.

Salmon Lover Poke Bowl boasts not only great flavor but eye-popping color, he adds. Hissho paired fresh citrus with cherry tomatoes and mangoes. Toppings like seaweed salad, sliced almonds and fried onions complete the savory, sweet bowl.

As far as trends in poke go, Hissho is seeing more and more consumers filling their bowls with bold fruits, spices, umami sauces and crunchy textures, Wilde says.

The demand among shoppers for wild and sustainably caught seafood is more prominent than ever across the industry, Rider says.

“Especially when it comes to preparations like poke, where quality is top-of-mind, specifying Alaska as the source helps communicate the message of quality and sustainability,” she adds.

Fifty-eight percent of seafood shoppers are more likely to purchase seafood when paired with the Alaska Seafood logo, Rider says, citing Technomic research from 2018.


Poke gone wild

poke bowls


Gen Z shoppers in particular, a key audience for poke, are more attuned to knowing where their food comes from, making wild, sustainable seafood from Alaska the top choice for younger generations of poke shoppers.

There’s also, she adds, a prime opportunity for the evolution of poke bowls, featuring seafood along with grains and produce, from restaurants into the service deli.


“As a majority of Americans intend to eat less meat in the year ahead, seafood and plant-based staples like grains can work together to fill nutrient gaps and satisfy shoppers,” she says.

Megan Rider

Asian flavors have also been trending over the past couple of years, with additional culinary influence in the U.S. expected this year as a result of the Summer 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Rider says.


“With the combined upward trajectory of poke bowls and the growing trend toward Asian flavors, our Tropical Poke Bowl, made with soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar, remains one of the more popular recipes on our site,” she says. “Retailers interested in poke can access this recipe and others on the Alaska Seafood website, for sharing digitally or for re-creation as an in-store offering.”


Also on its site, ASMI has a flavor and ingredient guide retailers can use and/or share to create customized poke bowls starting with wild Alaska salmon or wild Alaska surimi.

Shoppers often value freshness when it comes to seafood, not realizing that most of the seafood in supermarkets and restaurants has been frozen at some point, which is important for ensuring quality and food safety, Rider says.

Alaska’s frozen-fresh practices, she says, in which fishermen often freeze their wild catch directly on the boat, locks in freshness and maintains quality.

“For home poke preparation from frozen, consumers can simply defrost fish in a covered, perforated pan overnight in the fridge before marinating for roughly 30 minutes before serving.”

Hissho Sushi Joins WBTV’s QC@3 Team to Highlight Vegetarian Rolls

Originally Published on WBTV, click here to see the original

Company provides sushi to local grocery stores, cafeterias of corporations, airports, universities and more.

January 1, 2020 by clapcreative 0 Comments

Hissho Sushi Makes Sushi a Destination

Article Originally Published in Deli Business Magazine, click here to read the original (see pg. 25)


Deli entrées have evolved and become higher end to better compete with restaurant offerings

Prepared foods have definitely been taking over deli departments, not only creating meal destinations that are giving today’s restaurants a run for their money, but also raising basket rings for retailers.

New York City-based market research firm Nielsen reports that in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 26, 2019, prepared food dollar sales totaled close to $30 billion, a 3.8 percent increase from the same period a year prior.

“In general, we are seeing that consumers expect to have it all, including products that offer indulgence with healthful characteristics that feed the desires of today’s consumers at home,” says Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary Visions, based in Chicago. “Healthful, delicious, accessible and sustainable menu offerings are driving foodservice and of course, that would also apply to the supermarket deli, as well.”



Entrée Evolution


What we’ve been seeing in the last four to five years is an evolution into prepared foods destinations.

“This can be a separate segment in the store in some cases, but it depends on the store format,” says Eric Richard, industry relations coordinator for the Madison, WI-based International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA). “Stores are taking on different types of programs, such as in-store dining.”

What’s driving this is changing consumer eating patterns. More people want convenience and prepared food options, and the perfect time for picking up a meal is during a grocery shopping trip. Rather than the quintessential sandwiches or pizza, shoppers are seeking healthier fare, including plant-based entrées, foods sourced locally and unique, upscale fare typically found in restaurants.

“Restaurant trends are transcending to supermarket delis,” says Richard. “Retailers are in a good position to compete with restaurants.” A robust menu with new ideas is not a necessity, but a focus on flavor and doing a few things well are key. “Those embarking on a successful prepared foods program need to compete with restaurants of all types,” he says.

Hissho Sushi Dazzling Dragon Roll

“Customization and personalization are very important to take prepared food programs to a new level.” While one customer may want to explore different options, another’s goal may be to get in and out quickly. Providing both experiences can expand a program’s demographic to both types of consumers.

“From our experience, supermarket delis are evolving into a destination for
shoppers, where they can find innovative entrées with authentic flavors that are fresh, healthy and satisfying,” says Breana Jones, director, marketing and sales at Hissho Sushi, based in Charlotte, NC. “They want more convenience, flexibility and variety in prepared meals.”

Entrée items are becoming more sophisticated in the deli in terms of product, packaging and merchandising. “The products have moved from standard and traditional recipes to more premium ones with specialty ingredients and flavors that cater to today’s more demanding palates,” says John McCarthy, senior brand marketing manager, Reser’s Fine Foods, Beaverton, OR. “There is also a greater variety of entrées available in both
bulk and pre-pack. New meal kit packages are now offered that allow consumers to customize their meals.”

Delis today are creating meal solution sections where entrées are sold next to complementary items, such as sides and salads, to make it easy for consumers to quickly pick up dinner on busy weeknights. Whereas in the past, food was eaten for fuel, today it’s more about the experience.

Hissho Sushi Osaka Monarchy Platter

“This is an important factor to keep in mind from a retail standpoint, to give
consumers an experience,” says Larry Montuori, vice president of sales, Nuovo Pasta Enterprises, Stratford, CT.

In the last 12 to 24 months, there has been an influx of take-and-bake and quick-serve entrée foods and meals within the supermarket deli.

“Most stores offer pre-made entrée options, but some do offer self service
or make-your-own options,” says Derek Skogen, senior product manager, Placon, Fitchburg, WI. “Today’s consumer is looking for a convenience type meal solution that does not require a lot of time and is easy to prepare.”

Most stores have a dedicated space to an entrée or meal kit section that includes items prepared in the store deli area. “Rather than having a supermarket deli customer put fried chicken, a vegetable and starch in a separate self-serve bag or container, they can now easily grab an entrée that includes all items, and it is much more appealing than a frozen dinner and, in most cases, has been freshly prepared the same day,” says Skogen.




Trends & New Products


Hissho Sushi Spicy Pepper Roll

Customers are seeking meal solutions that are quick and convenient.
As a result, Hissho Sushi created new, innovative rolls that not only deliver
on taste, but also fulfill the health standard more shoppers are searching to find.

This year, the company unveiled its Spicy Pepper Roll and Veggie TNT Rolls made with a plant-based protein to serve as the “tuna” – a roasted bell pepper.

The company also has launched three light salads to complement its sushi rolls and complete families’ meals. The new Zesty Cucumber Salad, Ginger Edamame Salad and Banzai Crab Salad can serve as a side for any lunch or dinner roll.

In addition, its offerings now include six poke bowls and stuffed dumplings for a Dim Sum menu. A number of new deli entrées have reduced the amount of artificial ingredients and now offer cleaner ingredient lists.

“We are also seeing different portion sizes in pre-pack entrées to cater to the different consumer household sizes,” says McCarthy at Reser’s.

Reser’s recently launched three entrées in the deli—Baked Ziti Bolognese, Baked Chicken Broccoli Cheddar, and Baked 5 Cheese Macaroni—that are fully baked for a homemade taste and appearance without any prep. These entrées also come in a tray that is safe to heat in the microwave or oven so they can go directly from fridge to oven for added convenience.

Nuovo Pasta is relaunching its pesto line and debuting traditional sauces like marinaras, alfredos and putenascas.

“There has been an evolution with prepared food companies launching more gourmet side dishes that retailers can put together in commissaries,” says Carl H. Cappelli, senior vice president of sales and business development, Don’s Prepared Foods, Schwenksville, PA.

The company has launched five globally-inspired gourmet sides.

“There are trends with Middle Eastern, Asian and Latin American flavors, but comfort foods remain big in the U.S.,” says Cappelli. “The other big trend is prepared or heat-and-eat foods with little to no prep needed.

Hissho Sushi Salmon Lover Roll

Consumers also are seeking clean products with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.” There’s been an evolution from plated meals to chef-inspired meal kits. Now retailers are taking the cue and chains like Kroger, Publix and Whole Foods are jumping on that bandwagon.

Over the past 12 to 24 months, Placon has launched a variety of products within its HomeFresh Entrée product line. This provides a variety of options, ranging from one- to three-compartment bases that can
hold 8 up to 40 ounces of hot or cold foods. Keep in mind that most consumers don’t know what they are having for dinner tonight let alone in the next few days.

“So it is critical to properly merchandise entrées next to sides, salads and complementary dishes to create a meal solution center,” says Reser’s McCarthy. “It is optimal to provide simple meal ideas using shelf signage or tear sheets at the shelf that pair an entrée with a side and a salad, etc. for a
complete meal and offer special meal deal bundle pricing to make it as simple as possible for consumers.”



Marketing for Moving


There are a couple approaches, including providing an all-in-one solution and cross merchandising with other foods.

“On the one hand, there’s a basic level with rotisserie chicken, sides, a roll and beverages,” says Eric LeBlanc, director of marketing, Tyson Foods, Springdale, AR. “Cross merchandising is fresher, yet you can only do this with so many meal solutions at a time.”

Tyson recently worked with a retailer on co-merchandising, and by messaging outside the store, sales increased between 15 and 20 percent.

Retailers also can rotate a meal special each night or provide the components for a meal, such as chicken tenders, sub rolls, Mozzarella cheese and spaghetti sauce for a chicken Parmesan sandwich.

“[The mindset is] how do you take something that’s not exciting on its own
and make it into something that feels like another meal or dish,” says LeBlanc. “For example, combining buffalo wings, Hawaiian rolls and ranch dressing for a buffalo chicken slider. All you need is three ingredients, and it feels like a completely different meal.”

To ensure that messaging thrives, Hissho turns to its trained chefs to connect directly with shoppers inside the deli area and capture audiences through education of its menu, tastings and samples.

Hissho Sushi Chefs

“Retailers need to make it easy for consumers to find what they’re looking for and provide vegan/vegetarian options, entrées for meat eaters, and items to accompany entrées like French bread and grilled chicken, salad,” says Cappelli at Don’s. “It should be easy for them to find meal solutions to meet everyone’s needs.”

Utilizing social media brings tremendous value with deli prepared food marketing programs and is something all stores should be engaging in.

“It’s up to the individual chains to put the focus and concentrated effort on prepared foods departments,” says Richard at IDDBA. “We’re seeing new builds within supermarket chains where there is a much greater focus on this segment than in the past, and we predict that will continue to grow.”

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