Oleen Smethurst doesn’t choose what food trend consumers should hop on, but in her quest to provide new flavours and convenience for Costco’s Canadian customers, she’s inadvertently part of the push.
Smethurst is assistant vice president, buying and operations — produce for Costco Wholesale Canada, based in Ottawa. Leading a team of nearly 30, it’s her job to keep Costco’s 99 warehouses stocked with not just epic volumes of food, but also the hottest, most popular fruit and vegetable du jour.
Balancing convenience with flavour, Smethurst says that easy snacking and including more fruits and vegetables in our own and our kids’ diets is a key driver of fresh food trends. That said, after the salsa and hummus craze gave way to king kale, cauliflower rice, and avocado on everything, just what is the next “it” produce item?
It’s time for avocado to move over and and make way for cauliflowerini, Smethurst says. Cauliflowerini has a less dense head than cauliflower and is sweeter, she says. It’s nutritious, great for sautés, and easy to prepare, ticking all the boxes of the next popular food craze.
Listen below to the entire discussion with Oleen Smethurst recorded at Canada’s Ag Day at Ottawa, Ont.: