Published on: May 22, 2012by Michael Sansolo
If you are like me, you absorb news today with a lot of mixed feelings. Try as I might, I don’t have answers for the world of problems out there, whether it’s the protesters in Syria or the political goings on in the US. But some issues scream out opportunity…at least as I see it.
Two stories got me thinking that way last week. The first was the major, yet unsurprising news that for the first time minority groups made up the majority of life births in the US. No doubt some will hate that bit of news, but the reality is that the change has been foreseen for years. It speaks to the US as a country of opportunity that continues to draw newcomers to our shores.
For the food industry, that means opportunity to find new products, services and family eating occasions to turn these burgeoning shopper groups into loyal consumers. We know from past history that many of the growing population segments, mainly Hispanics and Asians, come from cultures that treasure mealtime. For supermarkets, that’s great news - provided we do everything possible to keep those shoppers eating home cooked meals. It won’t be easy, but with cleaver merchandising and good outreach to the community as both shoppers and associates it can be accomplished.
But there’s an even easier target in sight, provided again that we move with creativity. Kevin ran a story last week about the appalling lack of knowledge twentysomethings have about the banking system. This ignorance at times leads to costly decisions when it comes to paying for or even fueling up their cars. Michelle Singletary regularly writes a fabulous column in the Washington Post
on this exact topic as she offers up simple strategies for better money management.
No doubt many of us read Kevin’s column last week and asked why parents don’t teach these things anymore. So here again, let’s reflect back on all complex news stories that never seem to lead to any logical answers. I really wish parents taught their kids about money, just as I wish they taught more about all kinds of things. Yet who am I to know why things go the way they do. I just look for business opportunity.
So pause for a second and think of Kevin’s article on money ignorance and simply change the subject to food. We all know that most of America’s kids these days grow up woefully ignorant about how to properly shop, cook and eat. Nutrition and food safety can be easily managed if you have the correct information, but sadly, many don’t know where to begin. It doesn’t happen at home and home economics classes have largely become a thing of the past.
All of that spells opportunity. It won’t be easy, but if supermarkets can start offering outreach on cooking, shopping and eating strategies perhaps we can help young Americans do all of that better and healthier, plus create loyal shoppers in the process. That’s a classic win-win-win.
We know it can be done. Think of the classes Home Depot regular offers on simple do-it-yourself projects. Or the sessions run by the geniuses at Apple on topics such as how to use your iPhone. In both bases knowledge produces better and more satisfied shoppers. It’s so easy to see how simple classes on shopping, cooking and eating could do the same.
So, yes, I wish the news were different. I wish that parents had the know-how and time to teach their children about how to prepare better meals, maintain food safety and all that jazz, just as I wish parents had the ability and desire to teach a range of issues these days. But somehow the world isn’t working that way.
Don’t get mad. Get busy.Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available by clicking here .