Episode 251: Pamela Riemenschneider

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  Pamela Riemenschneider is one of our top celebrated trade journalists. A true catalyst for the produce industry, Pamela is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services and is constantly pushing all leadership in this space to think bigger and more innovatively, and to identify opportunities to optimize and evolve how we get fresh produce into the hands of consumers.

Pamela started out in “just regular old journalism” as a photojournalist before finding herself in trade media for the fresh produce industry. Seeing what happens behind the scenes inspired her to share the fascinating “did you knows” in fresh produce – influencing buyers for what goes into grocery stores, onto restaurant menus, and into people’s kitchens.

Pamela visited The Produce Moms Podcast to discuss the top trends innovating the produce industry in 2022. We were so pleased to welcome her back, as she tapped into her extensive industry intel and insights to talk about her predictions for what food trends and shopper behavior will look like in 2023! First and foremost, Pamela says, consumers want to have fun, but they want to be safe – 2023 is not the time for pushing boundaries or gambling with food budgets. She cites Jennifer Ziegler, director of food and beverage for global market research group Mintel, as nailing what this year’s food trends are based in: “Simplicity, versatility, escapism, and resourcefulness.” Here are the top five food trends Pamela has identified for 2023:

Squeezing value from all angles

Thanks to food inflation, everyone is looking to maximize their food dollars. This means shopping the pantry and checking the fridge before going shopping to avoid waste and to work with what we have, heading out with a list in hand, and keeping an eye on unit prices in store.  It also means getting creative: using the parts of produce we hadn’t before, taking a look at canned and frozen options, trying to extend shelf life, and maybe considering “jarlick” as a convenient and shelf stable alternative to fresh garlic. Anyone who is creating content right now, Pamela pointed out, should definitely be Googling value conscious egg substitutes!

Hacks and how to use your cookware

As food prices rise, so does the cost of eating out. Consumers are choosing to make their own meals at home, and learning how to do it well.  Thanks to TikTok, there’s no end of tips and tutorials inspiring meal choices. Aspiring foodies will be searching for basic how-tos for everything from how to preheat stainless steel pans to how to keep an avocado from going bad, as well as unique ways to prep everything in their kitchens.

Authentic influence

Speaking of TikTok, those vertically oriented clips have a very different feel than the slickly produced landscape videos from former influencers; only one person can fit in that window. It’s a much more intimate relationship with creators as they share their stories, their viewpoint and their recipes.  People want to be influenced by and interact with someone they can trust. Seeing someone share their own authentic recipes inspires us to try things we never have before.

Kimchi and other Korean-inspired foods

The Google trendline for kimchi has been up and down for some time, but in the last three weeks, Pamela says, it has just skyrocketed. Korean food overall is going to have a moment thanks to the really intense flavor it brings to the table, but kimchi in particular is finding popularity because it’s accessible – you can find it at a grocery store in almost any big city in America. Vegetable-heavy, Korean-inspired recipes will have shoppers searching for hearty greens like bok choi and Napa cabbage (which is very good raw or lightly pickled, like kimchi is), Asian pears, green onions (specifically ones that are a little bit thicker around, like a knob onion), purple sweet potatoes or ube (a type of yam, but with a very similar flavor and texture), cucumbers, carrots, and daikon radishes (regular radishes will do in a pinch, but the taste will be different).

Health halo food and beverage

Fermented foods, kombucha, immunity shots: they don’t necessarily correlate with the government definition of healthy, and not all of them are delicious. But foods and beverages with a health halo have been gathering momentum as people remember that food is medicine, and try to boost their immunity, improve their gut health, and up their antioxidants.  Overall, Pamela feels that produce will come out on top in the year ahead:  

“I feel like inflation is really affecting people, but produce is well positioned to promote value and to promote what you’re getting for your money. Because the value of produce is more than what you pay for it; it’s joy, its satiety, it’s flavor… Maybe those strawberries are more expensive than they were because of myriad issues in growing right now and transportation, but what you get out of that is amazing. So, let’s savor and enjoy what we’ve got.” Pamela Riemenschneider (48:14-48:52)

You can find Pamela on Tiktok @ProduceWithPamela!

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About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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