Case in point: the pita- making machine at Middle Eastern grocer Marché Adonis has been attracting customers since it opened its first signature store, in Quebec, 37 years ago. The Metro-owned ethnic grocer also showcases in-house pita-making factories in its two Ontario stores.
“Every time we get some- one in the store for the first time, the bread section is the first place they go,” says Wesam Amir, assistant store manager for the store’s Mississauga, Ont.,location. Some 6,000 pita packages are made at that store alone every day, with five pitas per package. Amir says the process starts at 5 a.m. so customers have fresh pitas waiting for them when the doors open for business.
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In addition to white-flour pitas, Amir says the grocer has added whole-wheat and wheat-bran varieties to meet customer demand.
At Toronto-based Korean supermarket Galleria, customers flock to a machine that churns out low-cal bread snacks called pop- pers. In fact, the snacks
have become so popular, even larger retailers such as Longo’s and Loblaw’s have gotten into the popper game.
Over at Al Premium, a multicultural grocer based n Toronto, the store makes a point of stocking a wide variety of packaged and fresh breads. “We really choose varieties that are most popular to the ethnic groups in the area,” says office manager Smile Shi. Shoppers of Caribbean, South Asian, Middle Eastern and European descent
make up the major- ity of the clientele. A customer favourite: Chinese buns baked in-house and stuffed with sausage, BBQ pork, bean paste or even custard. “We display the freshly baked breads in our store outside of the bakery so people can smell them as they walk by,” says Shi.
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Sold under the Burlington, Ont.-based Pane Fresco label, customers at Fortinos bakeries can choose from 25 varieties of Italian-inspired artisanal breads baked on the premises. While the classic baguette is still most popular, shoppers are opting to try varieties such as the truffle ciabatta and the recently introduced hot pepper bastone.