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The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on the expansion by Supervalu’s Cub Foods of its “Global Aisle,” featuring ethic foods from around the world, to eight stores, with another 13 scheduled to go on line with the concept by the end of the year.

And, the paper notes, “Cub Foods is not alone. Faced with intense competition within the grocery industry, retailers including Kroger Co. and Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. are targeting minority shoppers and lovers of international cuisine with a broad mix of ethnic food, beverages and ingredients. Nash Finch Co., the Edina-based distributor and retailer, is taking it one step further by developing its own Hispanic-themed concept, Avanza, which it's testing in Denver and Chicago.”

Except, of course, that Nash Finch has suspended its Avanza development plans, as reported last week in MNB, because it is concerned with the lack of sales being done by the units it operates in Chicago. (The Denver stores appear to be successful.)

Of course, the Avanza troubles in the Windy City could be an anomaly. The US Census Bureau estimates that the number of Hispanics and Asians in this country will triple by 2050, and the Star Tribune notes that “African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans combined spent more than $142 billion on food in 2000. Although ethnic populations represent 31 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 37 percent of all supermarket sales.”
KC's View:
We would agree that the Avanza concept may just need some fine-tuning, and that ethnic marketing in general is a place where there is potential gold for retailers that are not tone-deaf to the subtleties of what these demographic groups are looking for.