The Fresh Summit Retail Produce Tour yesterday brought us to four very diverse locations in the California area — 99 Ranch Market in Anaheim, Pavilions in Newport Beach, Fresh & Easy in Costa Mesa and Northgate Gonzalez Market in Santa Ana.
One thing that stuck out to me is the way Fresh & Easy and Northgate Market called out meal ideas that cross-promoted produce with protein.
Northgate Market, a supermarket that specialized in Hispanic cuisine, has a cart right outside their big meat department with the words “¿Ya probo nuestra carne para asara?” Inside the cart, on ice, were family packs of seasoned meats and a pack of already cubed meat with bundles of cilantro and garlic.
Related Photo Gallery: Fresh & Easy Costa Mesa Store Tour 
Without a recipe card, the simple display did a nice job of suggesting good meal combos. The cilantro and garlic looked delicious on ice next to the meats, and it probably wouldn’t be tough for customers to picture those ingredients on their own counters at home.
Fresh & Easy took a different approach to meal preparation. Fresh & Easy has many different levels of prepared meals, but they have a really neat meal display in the back of the store. For $10, shoppers can get one side, one dessert and one entrée. The sign says that this should serve two people.
The meal display makes vegetables an easy decision for dinner — with bags of salad, mixed vegetables and green beans ready to grab and go.
Related Audio Slide Show: A Store Tour Through Two Generations at Northgate 
In the front of the store, Fresh & Easy also has an “Easy Meals & Fresh Deals” display with small and quick snack ideas. A main, a snack and a drink go for $6. The retailer makes the fruits and vegetables look especially potable for customers on the run, including a small bag of colorful tomatoes, several types of cut fruit and carrots with dip.
While they go about it in different ways, both Fresh & Easy and Northgate Market took the hard part out of "What's for Dinner?"
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