- Southeastern Grocers unveiled the 26th location of its popular Hispanic grocery store, Fresco y Mas, according to a company release. The new store will open in Lauderhill, Florida on Dec. 5.
- The store is the first Fresco y Mas location to put a strong emphasis on serving Caribbean as well as Hispanic customers. The store will carry fresh seafood, specialty meat cuts including goat and oxtail, island produce like jackfruit and root vegetables, as well as Caribbean spices, snacks and beverages.
- The store will also have a prepared food section serving a variety of Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken and goat stew, and a cafe serving authentic Caribbean and Hispanic breakfast items like croquettes, Jamaican patties, pastries, drinks, and hot and cold sandwiches. In addition, there will be a new bakery department which will offer a newly expanded menu of Caribbean and Hispanic baked goods like flan, custom tres leches cakes and more.
Fresco y Mas's new Caribbean-focused store is located in an area with a high percentage of Cuban and Jamaican residents. According to the 2000 U.S. census, 33.65% of Lauderhill’s population was foreign-born and 24.63% were born in the Caribbean. Since then, individuals born in the Caribbean have streamed into the Miami area, becoming one of the city's fastest growing immigrant groups.
Southeastern Grocers has figured out a way to use its Fresco y Mas stores as a weapon against other grocers in the Florida region. Publix's Sabor format has been slow to grow, while dedicated competitors like Sedano's pose a formidable challenge. Under Southeastern Grocers, which recently emerged from Chapter 11 restructuring, Fresco Y Mas can draw upon significant resources. As Southeastern remodels more stores across its chain, including Winn-Dixie locations, customizing assortments to the local area is a key focus.
Last year, Fresco y Mas expanded with five new stores throughout Miami and Hialeah, Florida, which is one of the largest Spanish-speaking communities in the country and has the second highest Hispanic population in the U.S. Earlier this year, the grocer expanded into Central Florida by opening two stores in Tampa and one in Orlando, bringing its store count to 25.
Fresco y Mas has expanded to many locations in Florida where the Hispanic population is extremely high, but the grocer saw a gap in its Caribbean offerings. But while Caribbean consumers technically fall under the Hispanic demographic, their tastes differ in meaningful ways. Appealing to various preferences without alienating one group or another will continue to be a challenge for Fresco Y Mas as well as other Hispanic retailers.
Caribbean cuisine in the restaurant industry has been growing in popularity across the nation, particularly in areas like New York City where chefs and patrons are more experimental and ethnically diverse. The United States is also the source of 50% of the six to seven million tourists that visit the Caribbean each year, giving citizens of the U.S. more expose to the islands’ foods.
Fresco y Mas is catering to those consumers as well through its vast variety of prepared food selections available in its new store. Consumers are more willing than ever to try new cuisines, and there’s a good chance if they enjoy the food prepared for them, that they may shop for groceries and cook the dishes themselves.