The Hilltop Hy-Vee in Mankato, Minnesota, hosted “Demo Night” in collaboration with South Central College from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on December 8. A group of 12 culinary students prepared 2,500 samples of five different dishes, hoping they’d appeal to Hy-Vee customers.
The students spent weeks creating recipes. Once the recipes were approved by the instructor, Hy-Vee provided all of the food at no charge a few days before the event. The students prepared all the meals on campus. The five dishes sampled were: turkey cranberry pasta salad, Performance Inspired chocolate strawberry smoothies, butternut squash soup, shrimp pasta and a charcuterie spread.
Recipe cards were available for customers to pick up and make the dishes at home, and both the students and Hy-Vee employees received plenty of comments about how good the food was. There was a live remote with a local radio station along with other local media coverage.
“The reaction from customers was great,” said Cameron Uthe, marketing coordinator for the Mankato Hy-Vee stores. “It was a great partnership and a way to connect with our community.”