Category: Food

Tampa Bay’s Millennials are Encouraging Winn-Dixie, Publix to Carry Local Products

stephen overtonMillennials are provoking grocers, such as Winn-Dixie and Publix, to carry products that are produced in/near/around the Tampa Bay area.

Mike’s Pies, a 20-year-old staple in the Tampa Bay community, is an example of homegrown goods that’s been featured in supermarket Winn-Dixie. On its Winn-Dixie’s shelves for more two years, the 9-inch pies have sold well, selling at $7 to $8 each. Today, Mike’s Pies can be found in more than 500 Winn-Dixie bakeries. Sales are climbing for Mike’s, it’s now up 57 percent. The relatively small company has 64 employees who prep and bake 30,000 pies each week.

Over the last handful of years, consumers have expressed a hunger and thirst for local and regionally produced items. Grocers are making the effort to meet demands, and this is positively impacting small businesses and the local economy.

“I think what’s happening is everyone’s looking for that local brand they can associate with in the marketplace,” Mike’s Pies owner Michael Martin, told Tampa Bay.

Millennial consumers are the largest subset in the nation, and their shopping trends have changed the market, and their buying power is helping to dictate trend movement. Millennials are more inclined to buy local because they perceive it and made with better products. Millennials tend to be more trusting of these brands.

Publix Super Markets have created special branding efforts to draw attention to local products, aware that this will beckon Millennial dollars. “100% natural,” products with a name, or “made in Florida” are buzzwords

“Millennials have driven things now for the last several years,” he said. “Particularly for produce in the last few years we have made more of an effort to promote the fact that those items are grown locally when that’s the case.”

“I joke all the time that I’m really tired of the word millennial,” said Cammie Chatterton, owner of Tampa-based Bay Food Brokerage. “I’m at corporate Publix three to four days a week working on promotions, and at every meeting the word comes up.”

CDS Hot Sauce Products, which produces Tabañero Hot Sauce, has capitalized on this trend. Publix launched Tabañero in 1,300 stores this summer, coming a long way since it was founded in 2011, when it was exclusively sold in restaurants. The young population’s taste for the spicy condiment has helped to boost the CDS, which has reached a $1 billion valuation. The company is presently on track to sell 7 million bottles of hot sauce.

Grocers have developed a symbiotic relationship with local businesses than to the support of millennials, who are considered to be smarter about food and more conscientious about what goes into their mouths.


Tampa Bay Restaurant Spotlight: Taco Bus

Stephen OvertonThese days it seems like you can’t go wrong with Mexican food. There are so many ways in which you can spin a dish to have a Mexican flare, and with the help of worldwide chains like Chipotle, Qdoba and Moe’s Southwest Grill, Mexican/tex mex food is reaching new heights! Some of these major food establishments have locations worldwide based on their tremendous success. Just to give you an idea of success, Chipotle became a publicly traded company in 2006, with a share price of $42. In August of 2015, almost 10 years later, the stock price was valued at $750! Talk about a huge upside (Chipotle’s current stock price is $461).

Enough with Chipotle and the other leading brands, the point of this post is to highlight a smaller player unlike the brick and mortar restaurants mentioned above. Let’s cut to the chase and talk about Taco Bus, a delicious Tampa Bay restaurant on wheels! Taco Bus has locations in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Downtown Tampa, Brandon, University of South Florida, Soho and Lakeland. Taco Bus offers what you’d come to expect from a Mexican restaurant or taqueria: burritos, tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, tortas and more. Widely popular in the Tampa area, Taco Bus has been featured on two major food TV shows in Food Network’s Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri and Travel Channel’s Man v. Food Nation with Adam Richman.

During Guy Fieri’s visit to the bus, he tried chicharron tacos, butternut squash tacos and a chilorio torta. For those who may be unfamiliar with what a torta is, it’s simply a Mexican sandwich. Taco Bus makes their torta with pulled pork in an ancho pepper sauce with roasted garlic, refried beans, and cheese. On the television show, Guy remarked after having the sandwich that it was the best he’s ever had. For such a prominent TV star who’s visited thousands of food establishments, and being from California (a Mexican food haven), Guy’s comment is saying a lot!

On Man v. Food Nation, Adam Richman and Taco Bus owner, Rene Valenzuela, together made a beef kabob taco. Traditionally served as a shish-kabob, Taco Bus makes a unique play on the dish serving it up taco-style. On the show, Adam Richman said “the flavors are gigantic and unbelievable” and he doesn’t often have a taco that brings bacon and sirloin together.

If you’re looking for a quick eat and bold, fresh flavors, and happen to be in the Tampa Bay area, look no further than Taco Bus! To check out their main site head here, and if you like’d to get your mouth watering, check out the menu here.