During Olympics, celebrate winning cuisines

July 24, 2012

Build Olympics viewer excitement and impulse trial. Highlight foods from nations expected to be on air the most.

Every four years, Summer Olympians thrill U.S. television audiences, and broadcasts show viewers parts of the world many have never seen in person.  Feature stories about the lives of individual athletes inspire rooting that goes beyond nationalism and adds entertaining angles to the impressive coverage of competition.

For U.S. supermarkets, the Olympic events could become a lucrative celebration of international cuisines. Opening celebrations on July 27 will kick off a two-week period when American viewers focus on athletes from different cultures and are likely willing to experiment with their native foods. Supermarkets that merchandise healthy and tasty cuisine from nations projected to be big medal winners could boost their foodie image in the short term, and set the stage for incremental sales over a long period of time. Stores that teach (online, signage) and offer recipes too as part of their Olympic Foods presentation should compel more sales.

Pre-competition buzz suggests that (besides the U.S.) the most medals will go to nations such as China, Russia, Great Britain, Germany and Australia, with good representation from Romania, Japan, France, Korea, Italy, Kenya and Hungary. By highlighting select foods from these nations, U.S. food stores could inject a new level of viewer involvement in the Olympic spectacle. People could eat these foods while they watch.

For example, supermarkets could foster an understanding—and potential demand for—the multiple cuisines of China:  Fujian, Anhui, Beijing, Dongbei, Uygur, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Sichuan, Hunan, Shandong and Guangdong. Most of these are visually exciting, better nutritionally and different than what appears on Chinese restaurant menus in the U.S. Think lots of fish, chicken, beef, pork, and fresh vegetables.

Some of the most popular healthy staples from Russia include sturgeon, trout, herring and caviar, as well as mushrooms, kefir, borscht (beet soup) and kvass, a fermented beverage made from dark sourdough rye bread.

A sampler of appealing recipes from Australia includes honey prawns, cashew-coated veal, and sweet corn fritters. From Romania, dishes with pork and mutton meats, and sheep, cow, buffalo and goat cheese are popular.

Build on these starter thoughts to create truly international presentations that will excite customers—especially if people of these nationalities are part of your regular shopper base.