KeHE, a leading distributor of natural & organic, specialty & gourmet, international & multicultural and fresh products, recently hosted its first ever supplier carousel event focused on both “authentic” and “mainstream” Asian foods. The invitation-only event took place in Los Angeles Sept. 16-17 and brought together best-in-class brands and retailers for assortment, merchandising and promotional planning related to Asian foods. 

The format of the two-day event included a mix of education and planning, cultural immersion, meetings and networking. Highlights included store visits to two established curators of Asian food products, as well as “a taste of Asia” themed dinner outings featuring traditional Korean BBQ at a downtown Los Angeles restaurant one evening, and more familiar Asian foods such as sushi another evening at the event hotel.

"When it comes to understanding a category like Asian food, there is no substitute for getting in-store, exploring the aisles, picking up products and seeing shoppers interacting in the retail environment,” said Jim Stange, Category Director, who oversees KeHE’s ethnic food category.

The Asian food carousel concept came about as a result of the dramatic growth KeHE is seeing in Asian foods. “Our retail partners rely heavily on KeHE and our category expertise to identify what’s currently ‘on trend’ (in this case global cuisine made easy) and how they can best implement those trends in their stores for their customers,” said Stange. “Given the overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, we will certainly plan to host more carousels like this in the future; it’s clearly a formula that works well for our partners,” continued Stange.

As a result of the Asian carousel, KeHE’s participating suppliers and retail partners came away with the understanding of where and how to best align their companies within the Asian food category to be most successful. Look for KeHE to continue to replicate this successful event formula with other categories as it continues to decode other ‘on trend’ segments of the industry for its partners in natural, specialty and fresh foods.

About KeHE

KeHE Distributors, LLC based in Romeoville, IL, provides Natural & Organic, Specialty & Gourmet, International & Multicultural and Fresh products to over 35,000 retail outlets throughout North America.