Thursday, January 19, 2017

Eight Clues for Grocerant Niche Mix and Match Bundling Success

Success does leave clues and the team at Foodservice Solutions® continually pointed out over the past several years that empowering consumer choice around grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food would garner incremental customer transactions, larger share of food dollars, and larger share of stomach.
Today the consumer continues to evolve and grocerant niche consumers reflect the undercurrents of evolving consumer demands.  Those demands include a more diversified shopper population, new non-traditional competitors, and high shopper expectations around freshness, convenience and transparency. Steven Johnson Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® outlined our evolving landscape:

1. Evolve or Fade Away: Increased completion had elevated the blurring of retail channels expanding foodservice fragmentation.  According to a study by Deloitte, consumers on average shop at four to five different types of stores to fulfill their grocery needs. Foodservice Solutions® team has found increased SKU’s of grocerant fresh food at restaurants, online Meal Kits, drug stores, dollar stores, supercenters, discount, specialty, convenience, club stores and Mobile e-commerce ‘home’ stores.  

2. Ethnic Melting Pot:  The US Census reports the undercurrents of our evolving demographics will continue broaden, expanding the population of “multicultural consumers.” In fact in a new Nielsen study found that the “buying power from the Hispanic, Asian and African-American populations will be 17% of a $4.2 trillion market. The Melting Pot of opportunity is overflowing with grocerant niche success points according to the team Looking A Customer Ahead at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

3. Halo of ‘Better-for-You’: Consumer tell us that grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is ‘better-for-them’ as the halo includes not doing dishes or cooking from scratch. Acosta found that “nearly one-third of shoppers surveyed considered leaving a store if fresh and healthy options were not available.”

4. Customization and Personalization:  Retailers the ilk of Green Zebra Grocery, EveryTable, and Wegmans continue to attract loyal customers with convenience, quality, value, and customer service. Customization and personalization via mix and match meal component bundling are hallmarks of success found within the grocerant niche according to the Grocerant Guru®.  Restaurants continue capitulating customers as consumers seek fresh food in non-traditional fresh food retail outlets that are becoming more of a priority.

5. Price and Private label: Trader Joe’s private label products have the ‘halo of better-for-you’ according to non-client information aggraded from over 6753 Grocerant ScoreCards. A recent Nielsen/PLMA study, sales of private label products generated a record $120 billion last year, and continued to outpace national brands. Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Lidl will continue to increase market share leveraging price and quality private label foods.

6. Hand Held Marketing:  Mobile smart phones continue to garner adopting in fact according Nielsen 85% of Millennials have a smart phone. Consumers of all ages continue to embrace digital technology and social media as a means to connect and communicate about food or when looking for food. A recent study showed that 37% of shoppers use their mobile devices in store for comparing prices, searching for product information, or checking product availability.

7. Mini Meals at Mini Locations:  Rent is expensive and more and more retailers have no locations or smaller locations virtual dining from a home or local kitchen is a growing trend. According to a Package Facts study, even the average square footage of supermarkets has fallen since 2006 and is now approximately 46,000 sq. ft. Even smaller size formats of 25,000 sq. ft. or less, modeled by chains like Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s and Lidl, have proven to be successful.

8. The Price Value Service Equilibrium is Resetting:   Foodservice Solutions® team identified, quantified and qualified a new formula for the foodservice Price, Value, Service, Equilibrium. That formula can be found with this link. Consumers are dynamic not static and food retailers must evolve their brands to both maintain and garner consumers frequency levels.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for a Grocerant ScoreCard , Grocerant Index or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Portability, Packaging, Profits, Rutter’s Farm Stores Success

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson says “success does leave clues and Rutter’s Farm Stores expanding fresh fast food portability with new packaging empowers consumer choice while highlighting the key driver of the grocerant niche mix and match meal component bundling.”
Millennials in search of fresh food discovery will find the new Grab-and-Go pouch (bags) at Rutter’s convenient, transparency, elevating the halo of ‘better-for-you’ and elevating the food program once again at Rutter’s Farm Stores according to Johnson.
Mix and Match hot food meal component bundling is how Rutter’s will be "attacking snacking".  Consumers continue to eat smaller meals, smaller plates, and have smaller households according to our Grocerant Guru® these new grab-and-go pouches for hot fresh-food items elevate, accommodate, and integrate fresh prepared food ‘snacking, small plates in to the daily lives of consumers meal planning.
This new state-of-the-art fresh prepared food packaging, “the Rutter's-branded bag is breathable, microwavable and re-sealable, holds heat well, and has a handle for optimum convenience and freshness.”
Ryan Krebs, director of foodservice for Rutter's, stated “I think it’s a breakthrough”.  The team at Foodservice Solutions® agrees. Krebs continues "I've seen so many things people have tried that just don't seem to work," Krebs said of the bag's development process. Many kinds of hot food carryout packaging uses cardboard, with a plastic window for integrity, but results in greasy, soggy food due to a lack of ventilation.
It has been widely reported that “Rutter's new bag is "sturdy but incredibly thin" and has ventilation holes to avoid trapping steam inside, keeping the product crispy. The window allows customers to see the product, and the branding serves as a miniature walking billboard.”
Fresh, Fast, Portable Ready-2-Go the bag sits in the hot hold kiosk, offering the appeal of freshly cooked items such as chicken wings and mozzarella sticks, but without forcing customers to wait several minutes for their order to be freshly prepared.
Krebs continued, adding that he wants “Rutter's customers to visit the stores for "a hot snack, a quality snack," and not just packaged snacks like candy and potato chips.” "This one I am excited about even though it's a bag," Krebs said. "It just screams technology and advancement."
The new pouch /bag is driving change as Rutter's is adding 13 new items to its hot grab-and-go program: mozzarella sticks, BBQ beef short ribs, chicken wings, sweet corn bites, onion rings, fried sweet bologna, jalapeno and cheese bites, French fries, boneless chicken chunks, chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese bites, hash browns and fried pickles. Now that’s empowering mix and match bundling.

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Collision Course Wawa or Race Trac

Retail foodservice growth at times can be elusive, particularly when two companies that had not been direct competitors begin opening stores in new territory as direct competitors.  In the case of Wawa and Race Trac in Florida consumers will decide if they want to continue to roll, roll, roll away with a roller grill or refresh with fresh, fast, flavorful food offerings according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
The convenience store sector continues to garner customers from the restaurant sector increasing from the fast food companies the ilk of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King according to Johnson. 
Johnson continues saying “the convenient store sector ability to leverage grocerant niche mix and match meal component offerings will position the sector to outperform both the restaurant sector and grocery store sector for growth for at least the next four years or until either of those sectors evolves their business models to reflect a new retail environment.  That environment is the grocerant niche.  This has become a battle for a larger share of retail food dollars and larger share of stomach.
It’s a battle of retail food concepts that represent yesterday vs today and tomorrow. In the case of Race Trac and Wawa at this point Wawa has been leading the way with fresh, fast, flavorful food.  However Race Trac is moving forward fast while they still utilize a vestige of the past the ‘roller grill’ they are evolving fast with fresh food offerings as well. 
Consumers will decide the pace of change from vestiges of yesterday’s roller grill to Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food according to Johnson.  Many retailers rely heavily on consumer favorites from the roller grill that are hand held Ready-2-Eat food perceived as fresh garnering simple quick profit from reduce labor and food cost.  While others cultivate customer loyalty, frequency and incremental profit focused on fresh.
In the case of RaceTrac their customers are evolving albeit somewhat slower than 7-Eleven, Wawa, or Sheetz. In new insights from RaceTrac found that its “TracFanatics purchase a wide range of items during the early hours of the day — like hot dogs, energy drinks and bags of ice. The purchases were made between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.” 
In addition the insights found:
1.        RaceTrac customers are all about caffeinated drinks in the morning: 60 percent bought coffee, 26 percent bought fountain drinks and 14 percent bought energy drinks.
2.       Three in five people chose hot dogs over doughnuts in the morning,
3.       16,901 roller grill items were sold in the morning compared to 9,694 doughnuts.
4.       Customers purchased 30,360 pounds of ice daily between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. thus Mix & Match
5.       In one year, TracFanatics ate 588 miles of roller grill items.
6.       Last winter TracFanatics drank 1 million gallons of coffee.
Race Trac continues to evolve as it does and we have previously noted it will continue to garner incremental customers.  What is important to note is that seemingly the entire convenience store sector is evolving with more food, fresher food, while expanding mix and match meal component offerings creating a platform that continues to outperform others within retail foodservice.  Does your brand look more like yesterday than tomorrow?
Are you growing incremental customer counts, top line sales, bottom line profits, while garnering positive word of mouth advertising?  That what change does.  Customers are dynamic your brand must be dynamic as well.  Do you need outside eyes for inside profits?  

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Monday, January 16, 2017

Grocery Store Conundrum Fresh Food

Non-traditional fresh food outlets continue to garner sales from legacy grocery stores for one simple reason. That reason is legacy grocery stores simply don’t do a good job with fresh food.  Here is one example from grocery research company Blue Yonder:

Specifically, 81% of shoppers said they are unable to get produce they want in store, online and at discount retailers, yet 91% of grocery retail professionals are confident they are meeting customer expectations of availability.”

The Blue Yonder research report went on to say “Shopping experiences both online and in-store are not only failing to meet customer expectations of purchasing goods anytime, anywhere, but 35% of shoppers stated they are let down at least once a week. Sixty nine percent (69%) said there is a lack of availability online, while 85% found the same struggles in supermarkets.”

They continued “Replenishment practices are also lacking across supermarket chains, as 30% of all shoppers abandoned their carts if they were unable to find the produce they wanted. Meanwhile, 28% saying that they felt unsatisfied when buying a similar product as a substitute, data revealed.” 

Here is what was shocking fact they were lacking produce availability had much wider implications for profitability. “It has prompted 20% of shoppers to stop shopping with a retailer permanently or for a period of time. This figure rises to 31% for online retailers,” the report said. 

Legacy retailers that can’t even stock fresh produce properly surly cannot be expected rollout a quality grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food program on their own.  Thus, other are and doing a good job as they garner market share depriving grocery retailer’s pantry sales as well.  Are you ready for Outside Eyes for Inside Profits?

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Grocerant Fresh Food Engagement Drives Customer Migration

Millennials and Gen Z quest for discovery includes engagement with a halo of ‘better-for-you’ according to Steven Johnson the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Grocery stores service deli’s, Convenience stores, Restaurants, Dollar Stores, and Drug Stores are all increasing the number for fresh food SKU’s that that offer seeking a larger share of dollars and share of stomach according to Johnson.
Echoing those findings recently was Colin Stewart, SVP at Acosta who stated ““The experiential factor is driving today’s shoppers to make food choices rooted in what will bring them personal satisfaction and enjoyment,”… “As we head into 2017, it’s important that brands and retailers think about how their product offerings contribute to grocery shoppers’ positive experiences from the moment the item is spotted on the store shelf to when it reaches their kitchen tables.”
In fact a recent report from Acosta they detailed many of the findings for 2017 and here they are:
1.        Forty-five percent of shoppers eat healthy foods even though they are more expensive.
  1. Thirty-eight percent of shoppers agree, "I often buy natural/organic products because I know they are better for me."
  2. On a typical shopping trip, Millennial shoppers indicated that 39 percent of the items in their grocery carts were organic products, while total U.S. shoppers indicated just over 25 percent of the items in their typical carts were organic products.
4.        Twenty-six percent of Millennial shoppers indicated they usually stay on the store perimeter — such as the produce, meat and dairy sections — only visiting select center-store aisles during stock-up trips.
  1. More Millennial shoppers are familiar with non-meat diet choices, with 18 percent following a non-meat/low-meat diet daily.
6.        Nine in 10 shoppers indicated shopping most often at the same grocery retailers as last year.
  1. Fifty-four percent of shoppers enjoy the experience of shopping for ingredients to prepare the meals they have planned.
  2. Seventy-seven percent of shoppers are buying the same grocery brands as last year.
  3. Thirty-seven percent of shoppers want their grocery brands to be transparent about their ingredients, processing or production.
  4. Forty-six percent of shoppers agreed they want their grocery brands to be ones they can trust.
  5. Thirty-five percent of shoppers buy grocery brands that are socially responsible.
  6. Cooking as a culinary experience, not a chore
  7. Many shoppers enjoy the experience of planning and creating meals at home.
  8. Fifty-six percent of shoppers enjoy the experience of planning meals for their households.
  9. Sixty percent of shoppers enjoy preparing new dishes.
  10. Forty-five percent of Millennial shoppers want to take cooking classes to learn how to prepare new meals and dishes.
  11. Fifty-four percent of shoppers often check out new items in the grocery store.
18.     sixty-one percent of shoppers have redeemed digital/mobile coupons in the past month for grocery items.
19.     Fifty-nine percent of shoppers who have grocery e-commerce available said they had ordered grocery items online in the last year.
  1. Fifty-three percent of shoppers get recipe ideas online.
  2. Nineteen percent of shoppers — and 25 percent of shoppers with children — have posted food or recipe content to social media.
Stewart continued “From online grocery ordering and a desire to explore new foods, to natural products and socially responsible brands, consumers are at the wheel when it comes to steering the CPG industry in a new direction”.  That direction has been and continues to be the Grocerant niche fresh prepared food.  I guess success does leave clues and is one heck of a good clue.  is the global leader in grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Technology is Powering Food Retail Growth

Ok, remember when we wrote the blog about the new Dominos delivery car with an oven.  While many of you wrote and said it was just an expensive expense for franchisee. Steven Johnson our global Grocerant Guru® insisted that the technology combined with digital marketing messaging was differentiation that would elevate Dominos. Since 2015 Domino’s sales, stock, and customers relevance has gone no-where but up. 

So what other technology will we be seeing making its way into restaurants 2017?  Well for one Costco is utilizing pizza-making-robots already in many outlets.   In 2017 we will see an increase in consumer’s attitudes and acceptance of technology including kiosk ordering at fast food outlets including McDonalds.
There will be more Drive-Thru only restaurants, chatbots that allow online users to make reservations, Amazon’s Alex will allow you to order food from Wingstop and 7-Eleven will have more drones that can deliver frozen Slurpee to your doorstep.
Supermarkets struggling to gain customer frequency will embrace digital technology and social media as a means to connect and communicate with their shoppers in an effort to keep pace with the restaurant sector. Currently 37% of shoppers use their mobile devices in store for comparing prices, searching for product

On-line and e-commerce shopping is a growing channel for grocery and studies project sales to be around $24 billion in 2017.  They only way for legacy grocery retailers to retain urban dwellers who are the largest on-line shopper segment, “time-starved”, and more likely prefer restaurants to legacy grocery store pantry food.  Hand held mobile phones are rapidly becoming the platform of choice for shopping on-line for home food delivery, prepared meal components according to aggregate information from Grocerant ScoreCards.

Technology continues to drive customer relevance in food discovery, price, purchase, and retailer profits according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Friday, January 13, 2017

Grocerant Growth Five 2017 Undercurrents of Success

There are five undercurrents of growth that are driving the continued expansion of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food in 2017 according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
Foodservice Solutions® has conducted in excess of 6,677 Grocerant ScoreCards. Non-client specific information garnered from those Grocerant ScoreCards during 2016 was the source for our findings. The five undercurrents driving grocerant growth are:

1.       Increase in competition for share of stomach: Companies the ilk of EveryTable, New Seasons Market, Eat Fit Go, and Green Zebra Grocery.
2.       Expanded Mix and Match Meal Bundling : Restaurants the ilk of  Essen Slow Food Fast, Freshii, Moaz, Native Foods CafĂ©, Veggie Grill, Safeway, Publix, Rutter’s Farm Stores, Sheetz, and Wawa.
3.       Customization and or Personalization of menu items drive’s Gen Z and Millennial adoption. Without doubt retailers that edify there retail food brand are creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization and customer adoption.
4.       Small plates, Bold flavors, and Portability: Takeout, TakeAway, and ToGo menu items sold in a restaurant, c-store, drug store, club store, furniture store, or grocery stores via a drive-thru, online, mobile, featuring authentic ethnic flavors regardless of the type of retail outlet for quick pick-up or delivery continue to drive adoption.
5.       Price : maybe Aldi said it best “Poor people must save, rich people like too”

Simply put Grocerant ScoreCards provide real-time customer relevance in our data dependent intelligence age according to our own Grocerant Guru®. Do you understand the undercurrents of change driving foodservice growth in 2017?  Do you understand the importance of integrating consumer relevance into your brand messaging?

For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact:  the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. Visit: for more information