Whether it’s a café offering eat-in options or a specialty take-out counter with gourmet items for meals at home, grocery stores are incorporating more and more foodservice concepts into their retail footprints.
“Grocery stores are evolving into more of a food experience,” says Greg Corsaro, president and chief operating officer of FreshEdge based in Indianapolis, IN. “Many stores have those foodservice-type components now. The line between the grocery store and the foodservice establishment is blurry so we felt there needed to be recognition that there is that growing foodservice component in stores.”
That recognition is going to be given at this year’s United Fresh LIVE!, taking place June 15-19, an event that features the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards. And this year, FreshEdge has joined as a new sponsor of the awards which include an expanded category, “Supermarket & Retail Operators.”
This year is the first year the company is sponsoring the awards and Corsaro says the company felt compelled to offer up its support.
“We feel there’s so much to offer in the food industry. There are several different contributions made by several different people in these categories and we feel that it’s important that these chefs and others be recognized for their work,” he says.
The awards, says Corsaro, gives recipients the recognition that’s much needed. “People in our industry, especially on the foodservice operating side, they work a lot of hours,” says Corsaro. “It’s a highly dynamic environment that’s hard and exhausting and stressful. So, to know that they’re rewarded for what they’ve done can help provide a sense of accomplishment.”
The Produce Excellence in Foodservice awards—there are nine in total—come at a time as well when foodservice is being challenged significantly by the current pandemic and that makes them especially timely. “In times of crisis, any cause or celebration that you can wrap your arms around helps you push through together,” adds Corsaro.
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