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Les Gyerman – Dairy & Frozen Foods Category Manager

How long have you been with Heinen’s?
I've been with Heinen's a total of 43 years!

What was your first job with Heinen’s?
I started as a grocery packer and did that for my first 4 years at Heinen’s. Then I moved into the dairy department and worked my way up to dairy manager. After a total of 24 years in the stores, I moved over to the main office, first as a grocery buyer, and then as the dairy and frozen category manager, which I am now.

What are some of the trends that you see in the dairy business?
Yogurt in general, but especially Greek yogurt, is becoming one of our biggest items. Dairy alternative milks like almond and soy milk is really taking off, we seem to be stocking more and more of it. We are seeing a strong shift toward Organic Milk as well. I think people are moving towards these milk alternatives because they want to be healthier, or they have allergies to milk or dairy.

What are some of the trends you see in frozen foods?
Gluten-free, organic and natural frozen items are quickly growing in popularity. We have more variety of these items that we did in the past. Frozen pizzas are still a very popular item, however customers now want frozen pizzas that are healthier, all-natural and just more overall high-end.

Give us an interesting fact about the Heinen's Dairy and Frozen Departments.
I find this pretty amazing, we sell about 5 million units and 620,000 frozen pizzas a year!