The Chermoula Roasted Halibut is part of Passport by Pusateri's Israel menu for February.
Pusateri’s has launched a program that invites customers to discover new ingredients and menu items from around the world from the comfort of their local grocery store.
The Toronto specialty grocer’s Passport by Pusateri’s will commemorate a number of independence and national days with bi-weekly regional menus and products inspired by Israel, Greece, France, the Philippines, Jamaica, South Korea, Mexico and more. Customers can also enjoy seasonal and globally-inspired menus for celebrations and holidays ranging from a U.K.-inspired menu for St. Patrick’s Day to a Canada Day-inspired lobster fest.
The program began on Feb. 21 with a menu from Israel, featuring new products sold by Pusateri’s like Medjool Dates and Belazu Rose Harissa paste. In-store menu creations prepared by Pusateri’s chefs include dishes like falafel with tahini, roasted eggplant with yogurt sauce, and cauliflower steaks, which have quickly become a popular plant-based substitute for traditional meat dishes like chicken nuggets or chicken wings. Featured ingredients on the Israel menu include sumac, za’atar, and harissa paste. The Israel menu ends on Mar. 6, when the next destination, the British Isles, begins on Mar. 7 and runs through Mar. 28. New destinations and menu items will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Passport really comes back to this idea of exploring new tastes and flavours,” says Paolo Pusateri, brand marketing manager, Pusateri’s Fine Foods. “It's the right combination to create that experience of a global taste without having to leave home.”
The program has also allowed the high-end grocer to stock new items while letting customers try them in store prior to purchasing by sampling a selection of prepared foods on the menu. “It [the program] gives us an opportunity to get our shoppers to explore parts of the store that they've never shopped before,” Pusateri explains. “People are very habitual with their grocery shopping. So, this is an opportunity to try something, like a new spice, or a new recipe, and we're fortunate that we have a pretty broad selection in the grocery aisles.”
All of the prepared foods available through the Passport program can be found in the La Cucina section of Pusateri’s. Non-perishable items that are featured in each dish, like spices and other ingredients, can be found in various grocery aisles throughout the store.
“What this program does well is it really provides a spotlight on our prepared foods, and, it also provides customers and our guests a reason to keep coming back in store, which is something that's important, especially in the pandemic,” Pusateri says. “The prepared food category really went through some ups and downs through the pandemic, first with panic buying and then with more people cooking for themselves at home. It really shifted around the demand patterns in our business, but things have definitely returned back to normal or at least very close to normal.”
Pusateri’s plans to continue the Passport program for the remainder of the year, and is currently exploring additional platforms to showcase these new products affiliated with the program, like Uber Eats, or in the restaurant industry. The program is currently in place at all five of the retailer’s locations.