Company provides sushi to local grocery stores, cafeterias of corporations, airports, universities and more.
Have you ever wanted to try sushi, but you can’t stand to think about eating raw fish? Today on QC@3, Chef Dan Yang from Hissho Sushi showed us how sushi can be vegetarian. He even taught Cheryl how to create a roll of sushi!
Things to Know:
Hissho Sushi is the second-largest sushi provider in the country with its world headquarters right in Charlotte, NC since 1998.
You can find Hissho Sushi in several locations including Earth Fare to Sprouts, Lowe’s Foods, Charlotte Douglas Airport, Bank of Americas Plaza and Walmart.
For a sushi beginner, Hissho recommends the California roll.
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.”
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.
“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.
“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
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.
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.
“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.”
This week we had some exciting visitors at Hissho. I wish we could share the great news, but are “sworn to secrecy” until the right time. However, I can tell you that things were hopping around Hissho’s Corporate Kitchen when a team of four showed up in their huge Mercedes van all the way from Canada to film us for a popular TV show. The focus was on Hissho’s delicious food items, with one of our senior team members sharing some of the things that have made us so successful. When the crew was finally able to take a break, they enjoyed our delicious sushi for lunch.
Our Corporate Chef and Assistant plied the tools needed to accommodate the requirements of an all day filming. What an exciting process to see as memory card after memory card was filled with “great footage.” This will all be edited down into a fascinating fast-paced clip that you will not want to miss. We can’t share the name of the show, or the air dates yet, but as soon as we can, we will let everyone know. It will be well worth the wait, so stay tuned to our Hissho Blog for upcoming news as it becomes available.
If you’re in the Charlotte, NC area, please come and support our Hissho Foundation in exchange for a delicious meal of our own sushi. Sake, beer or wine will also be offered as part of this “deal.” It’s a great time to get a group of friends together and make a night of it at Hissho Sushi HQ.
11949 Steele Creek Road, Charlotte, NC 28273
Meijer Grocer is sponsoring the upcoming LPGA Grand Taste Event at Blythefield Country Club located at 5801 Northland Dr. NE, Belmont, MI between June 17 – 19, 2016 and Hissho will be one of the vendors.
Hissho Sushi has been a partner with Meijer since 2007 and has built an excellent relationship over these past 9 years. Consequently, when Meijer approached Hissho with an opportunity to join them at the upcoming Premier event, the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, they jumped at the chance.
FOX 17 Morning Mix@FOX17MorningMix has been touting this upcoming Classic for some time and here is what they had to say: “The Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give will be highlighting the best food and drink from all over West Michigan in addition to the golf tournament.
“Grand Taste is a three day culinary event that will give guests access to an all-you-can-eat tent with more than 35 restaurant and brewery partners, 120 beer profiles and Meijer. Grand Taste will happen at Blythefield Country Club from June 17-19.
“Tickets are $25 apiece for adults, and $5 for kids aged 17 and under with a ticketed adult. This ticket also includes general admission access to the LPGA tournament. You can buy a ticket that gives you access to all three days for $50. Tickets are limited.”
If you live nearby, get your tickets NOW so you can support a great cause, AND sample our fabulous Hissho Sushi items! Hissho would love your feedback!
Hissho attends a few trade shows each year, and the IDDBA Dairy-Deli-Bake Show at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX, is where many of our staff were this week. IDDBA stands for the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association and attendees come from all over the United States looking for new items that they can sell in their grocery stores. It’s a great place to see old friends and meet potential new partners for our Hissho Brand.
Hissho rolled out new items to show attendees what is available from Hissho in the coming months. The show also featured several speakers including the always-interesting Anthony Bourdain – who hasn’t seen him on CNN, the Travel Channel or talk shows over the years. He truly engages his audiences and our team loved this opportunity for the meet and greet.
This was an exciting time for Hissho that’s been months in preparation: menu decisions, props and essentials needed for the booth, logistics of how to get our equipment there and purchasing the food items for our needs. It’s a labor of love for our stellar team and we appreciate their expertise.
Below you will see some of the food items created by our Senior Corporate Chef as well as Mr. Bourdain in action. Let us know what you think.
Last week’s blog was about our Hissho team preparing for the upcoming Dragon Boat Races at the 17th Asian Festival at Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, N.C.
This was our 3rd time participating, and this time WEWON THE GOLD in the B Division. We did it in 59.36 seconds!!
We finished last in our first race, first in the second race and, of course, first in the final race. We are so proud of our team and perhaps next year we will end up in the A Division. Now that we know we can do it, there should be no barrier to just how fast we can cover the 200 meters.
For more information, please see www.dragonboat.com
Not everyone is present in this photo taken with the medals, but a “Congratulations” goes out to the entire team!
Hissho Sushi is the proud recipient of a Smart CEO Future 50 Award for 2016. The honor was presented to the company at a Rock & Roll themed ceremony at the Hilton Center City hotel (Charlotte, NC) on Thursday, April 21, 2016.
SmartCEO recognizes 50 of the region’s fastest growing, mid-sized companies. Winners in large “Blue Chip” and small “Emerging Growth” categories were also announced. These companies represent the future of the region’s economy and embody the entrepreneurial spirit critical for leadership and success. The winners were chosen based on a three-year average of employee and revenue growth.
This collective has had a significant impact on their community. Combined revenue of the Charlotte Future 50 is $1.5 billion. The average tenure for business is 13 years and they provide employment opportunities for almost 11,000 people.
In 2016, SmartCEO will honor Future 50 Winners in the following markets: Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Long Island, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. To learn more go to www.smartceo.com
Hissho Sushi, headquartered in Charlotte NC, is a thriving sushi and Pan-Asian franchise business which operates in more than 875 locations in 39 states plus the District of Columbia. Philip Maung, the CEO, came to the United States from Myanmar in 1989 with only $13 in his pocket, and started his sushi business in 1998.
US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce has named Hissho Sushi as “one of its Fast 100 Asian American companies that have demonstrated resilience and performance with excellence. Together the Fast 100 generated annual revenue of $3 billion, despite the global economic challenges. The country values Hissho’s contributions to the economic vitality of American life.”
Hissho Sushi, headquartered in Charlotte NC, is a thriving sushi /and-or/ hot bar franchise business which currently has 878 locations in 39 states plus the District of Columbia. Philip Maung, the CEO, came to the United States from Myanmar in 1989 with only $13 in his pocket, and started his sushi business in 1998.
Hissho celebrated Earth Day a few days early by donning rubber gloves, grabbing a trash bag and heading outside to clean up our 13+ acres of property. Now that might seem like a lot of territory to cover, but we have over 50 people at our HQ in Charlotte. Most came out to participate, including our traniees, to scour spaces for bits of trash large and small. Collectively we got a whole lot more than we bargained for, and promptly filled up large garbage bags. It’s amazing how much trash collects “all by itself” without constant montioring.
After the trash was collected, we treated ourselves to delicious popsicles by our Hissho “Lake” which is actually a pretty large retaining pond with a fountain in the middle. It’s a lovely space to spend time relaxing, eating, talking, or to just get out of the office for some sunshine. The popsicles were delicious, and we had the “good” stuff!
Hisshonians do this clean-up usually 2-3 times a year, and it always makes us feel so proud when we’ve finished. Our property is beautiful, and we like keeping it that way!