Sunday, September 22, 2019

Mix & Match Meal Components Are What’s for Dinner



Meal planning begins for most Americans close to 4 PM, as that’s when it’s time most of you are about to end your work day and head home.  In fact, 83.2 % of all US consumers are unsure about what's for dinner at 11:30 AM and 64.7% don’t know what’s for dinner at 4PM in the United States according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson found in recent Grocerant ScoreCards.
Today, Time Starved Consumers are looking for high quality Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meal components. Time starved consumers want to purchase meal components that they can bundle into a customized family meal that will please everyone without spending time cooking. Regular readers of this blog know that mix & match meal components are the hallmark of the grocerant niche.  
Times are changing and consumers traditionally thought that these items could only be found in grocery stores in the deli / lifestyle section, or in C-stores in the prepared food area and prepackaged, and as Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh food items.  Today, restaurants are all offering meals To-go, Takeout or Take-Away or delivery section of the menu or on the website, directly competing with grocery stores.
The retail industry has expanded and is evolving to keep up with the demands of consumers desire to save time, improve quality, increase family flavor profile, while enabling personalization and family meal customization.
Miz & Match Grocerant Food can be found In:
Restaurant examples are McDonalds, Pret A Manger Burger King, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy's and Starbucks, each having a fresh Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food. In the Casual Dining sector Maggiano's Little Italy offers a buy one take a 2nd home for free in their Classic Pastas menu section, Olive Garden, Chili’s, Boston Market and Denny’s.  That is to name but a few.
 Drug Store examples Walgreens as a food destination yet Walgreens sells fresh soft-serve yogurt, coffee, sandwiches, salads and sushi at selected stores, so they are technically grocerants.
 Convenience Store examples are 7 Eleven, Wawa, Sheetz, Sheetz, and QuickChek, all of which sell fresh and prepared sandwiches, salads, beverages.
 Clothing Stores Tommy Bahama, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Brooks Brothers all have or are planning restaurants selling fresh prepared food in-store. Fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food is garnering consumer favor in this sector.  Expect to find more and more clothing retailers entering the grocerant niche.
 Furniture Stores & Liquor Store example Ikea sells over $ 2 Billion a year in Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food in its stores (mostly meatballs-mash potatoes), Pinkies in San Angelo, Texas this past holiday season even offered complete fresh prepared full Turkey Dinners will all of the traditional side orders.  All of the fresh prepared food is prepared on site and sold To-Go. 
Supermarket examples are Whole Foods, Trader-Joes, Central Market, and Wegmans sell fresh prepared chicken, salads, sandwiches and most offer sushi and beverages. Many are now opening in-store restaurants including fast food, full service sit down and bars all offer fresh prepared To-Go as well.
Grocerant Food is Family Food
The retail supermarket and convenience store sector have unique grocerant challenges. Presentation of the Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is important. When you get a meal at a restaurant, the plate and the food look great… let's call this "food for now". Many legacy retailers are primarily selling "food for later" or take-out and unless an item is a sandwich, the looks of Ready-2-Eat meals and snacks begin to change.
Why is it so hard to package food to go? In the Hot food section of the grocery store the food in most cases does not look appealing so our expectations drop when we get it for Take-Away. That may be one reason that many grocery stores are continue to open restaurants or “food courts” selling made to order fresh sandwiches or Chinese take-out.
In convenience stores like Wawa, the Ready-2-Eat food looks great in the To-Go containers. Why? Because Wawa puts the entire consumer food package together. They exert more control on the look and feel of "food for later".
Around the world we are now seeing sections in department's stores and kiosk in malls in Europe and Asia and airports around the world. The items can range from entrees to side items and deserts. Some examples of items range from fried chicken, mash potatoes, cream spinach, to liver and onions, pizza, hot dogs, steak, prime rib, various casseroles (hot-dish) to salads, side salads pie, cake and any single proportioned deserts. They can be picked up at the specific unit, or delivered.
Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  if you are interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization or you can learn more at Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Pizza Hut Innovative Limited Time Offers Drive Sales



Foodservice Solutions® regular blog followers know that innovation and trial drive sales and that in 2019 doing little or doing nothing new is doing harm according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. The food marketing team at Yum Brands! Pizza Hut is doing all that they can to edify a relevant relationship with consumers via limited time offers (LTO’s) according to Johnson.
Partnerships increase the rate at which creative LTO’s can reach the market and Kellogg’s new partnership with Pizza Hit will have everyone saying ‘Cheez-it’ please according to Johnson.  So, if you are wondering how to drive new electricity into you brand, read on. 
Get this, Pizza Hut and Cheez-It are joining forces to combine two iconic foods—Pizza Hut pizza and the Cheez-It 100 percent real cheese snack—into one, first-of-its-kind creation: The Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza. If nothing else it is going to create lots of industry buzz.
This LTO, the Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza, features four baked jumbo squares topped with that distinctly sharp, real cheese taste. Each crispy square is stuffed in Pizza Hut style with either cheese or pepperoni and cheese, served up with a side of marinara dipping sauce.
“Marianne Radley, chief brand officer, Pizza Hut stated “We pride ourselves on being the go-to for unexpected pizza innovations, and I can’t think of a more badass partner than Cheez-It to bring our next original menu item to life,”  “Not to mention, as fellow NCAA partners, this collab is the perfect way to kick off football season, combining America’s go-to gameday cravings into one next-level snack.”
Fact’s matter as partnership was born from more than just a fun idea. Cheez-It is a popular snack among one of Pizza Hut’s largest fan bases—college students. Armed with that insight, the Pizza Hut culinary dream team worked with Cheez-It to create a product that ties the best of both pizza and Cheez-It worlds into one new innovation. Now that also ties into the new NFL Football relationship creating an integrated, focused LTO that is going to be a sure winner according to Johnson.
“Wendy Davidson, president, Kellogg’s U.S. Specialty Channels stated “Kellogg’s iconic Cheez-It brand brings a whole new dining experience to Pizza Hut lovers and will not disappoint,” says. “The Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza is an example of two great companies leveraging their strengths to delight guests with a new experience on a classic favorite.” Are your LTO’s driving trial and new electricity into your brand?
Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply chain and includes such things as fresh foods, plant based  foods,  sampling, beer, unique urban farming, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.
All food and beverage retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food and beverages that are portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different.  Does your retail path forward look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Why?
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information or contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Marks & Spencer Gets Fresher Faster


Innovation can be disruptive to the existing supply chain.  Marks & Spencer is incrementally disrupting the existing supply chain all the while bringing fresh food with less waste to it stores according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson.
When Marks & Spencer introduced a new partnership with the vertical farming company, infarm in several of its stores once again elevating the customer experience and creating new electricity for its brand according to Johnson.
Co-founder and CEO of infarm, Erez Galonska, stated, "London represents many of the sustainability challenges that people will experience in cities over the next several decades. ..By offering produce grown and harvested in the heart of the city, we want to practice a form of agriculture that is resilient, sustainable and beneficial to our planet while meeting the needs of urban communities."
Yes, I know that ‘fresh herbs’ includes Italian, Greek and Bordeaux basils, mint, curly parsley, and mountain coriander are not huge sales generators for any grocery store but they do play an important role within the mind-set of the consumer and fresh is top-of-mind for consumers today according to Johnson; thus elevating the fresh platform at Marks & Spencer creating new electricity.
State of art farm Infarm has combined vertical farming units with the latest IoT technologies and machine learning, to create a controlled eco-system with the optimum amount of light, air, and nutrients for growing plants. So, each farming unit is connected to a cloud-based platform that learns, adjusts and improvises the technique for the next set of plants to ensure that each plant grows better than the previous one.
Director of food technology at Marks & Spencer, Paul Willgoss, stated, "Infarm’s innovative farming platform is a fantastic example of what can happen when passionate agricultural, food and technology experts work together….
"We operate as part of a complex global food supply chain and want to understand the emerging technologies that could help provide more sustainable solutions, whilst also delivering fantastic products with exceptional taste, quality, and freshness for our customers."
Why, well each vertical farming unit consumes 95% less water and 75% less fertilizer compared with soil-based agriculture. The pesticide-free produce is the equivalent of 400 square meters of farmland output.
 Consumers are dynamic not static how is your brand keeping up with consumer demand for fresh fast food? Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply chain and includes such things as fresh foods, plant based  foods,  sampling, beer, unique urban farming, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.
All food and beverage retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food and beverages that are portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different.  Does your retail path forward look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Why?
For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson 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. For more information visit www.GrocerantGuru.com , www.FoodserviceSolutions.us or call    1-253-759-7869



Thursday, September 19, 2019

Kwik Trip finds C-store Delivery Success



Success does leave clues. When Kwik Trip announced that it was expanding its delivery range to include the majority of Madison, Middleton, Monona and Sun Prairie, Wis. It was clear to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® consumers migration to Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food had taken root and elevated another sector of foodservice.
Regular readers of this blog know that this follows a second expansion to Green Bay and Appleton, Wis., that occurred in late August.  Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche fresh prepared food continues to grow in demand, creating new electricity as consumer from coast to coast are time starved according to Johnson.
Kwik Trip partnered with EatStreet as its delivery partner. There is no doubt that this partnership had created new electricity and excitement around Kwik Trip’s brand and fresh food offerings.
David Jackson, digital marketing and loyalty manager for Kwik Trip stated "The response has been overwhelming from our loyal customers and that meant one thing: We needed to expedite the launch of delivery at other Kwik Trip locations,".
Matt Howard, EatStreet's CEO and co-founder stated "It's clear customers want Kwik Trip delivered to their doorsteps," … "Customers in our hometown of Madison have enjoyed delivery for dozens of restaurants, and the addition of more Kwik Trip locations is only going to make it that much better."
Items available for delivery include hot food and beverages, snacks, energy drinks and more. The EatStreet mobile app is available in the Apple store and Google Play. Customers can also visit www.eatstreet.com.
How are you driving new electricity into your brand for consumers? Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply chain and includes such things as fresh foods, plant based  foods,  sampling, toy’s, beer, free stuff, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.
All food and beverage retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food and beverages that are portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different.  Does your retail path forward look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Why?
Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced food marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities, technology, or a new menu product segment.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, www.Linkedin.com/in/grocerant/  or www.twitter.com/grocerant

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Uber Eats and McDonald's Team Global McDelivery Plus Free Stuff


Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson calls 2019 the year of ‘partnership’ success has no doubt that McDonald’s ‘Global McDelivery Night’ will be a big success because it partnered with Uber Eats and is consumer interactive, participatory while creating incremental brand electricity.
So, when you order McDonald’s fresh fries at home on September 19th, 2019 you just might get a free a side of cozy socks, slippers or, even a sleeved blanket.  So, why go out order-in from McDonald’s.
Here is how it works: customers who order McDelivery with Uber Eats from a participating restaurant on September 19, starting at 5 PM, will be able to add an item from our McDelivery Night In line for free, while supplies last. Think loungewear, games and other merchandise. Order fries at home and they might just come with a side of cozy socks, slippers or, yes, even a sleeved blanket.
So, in the U.S.? Order McDelivery with Uber Eats from a participating McDonald’s to receive a limited-edition item from the McDelivery Night In line on September 19, beginning at 5 p.m. local time, while supplies last. Find participating restaurants. Sound simple, it is.  That’s food marketing is supposed to be.
How are you driving new electricity into your brand? Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply chain and includes such things as fresh foods, plant based  foods,  sampling, toy’s, beer, free stuff, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.
All food and beverage retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food and beverages that are portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different.  Does your retail path forward look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Why?
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information or contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.



Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Charcuterie is a Millennial Meal Solution



Snacking, grazing, and nibbling have all become common place in a world where traditional meal periods have been replaced by time starved consumers who have elected to eat around daily events or activities according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  
You know the old saying, what goes around comes around.   Charcuterie plates, platters, and platforms once again are gaining tractions with consumers. Think about one of the key elements of grocerant niche success, mix and match meal bundling.  Charcuterie empowers consumers to create a customized charcuterie set-up that can be customized and personalized for a family’s consumption convenience, nutrition and indulgence from grab-and-go products the entire family will eat and enjoy.
New research from IRI found that sales of “charcuterie types of packaged lunch meats” reached $561 million in January 2019, up 8.1% vs. a year ago, and sales of “charcuterie types of packaged meat snacks/meals” were up 6.5% for $378 million in the same time period, And the total charcuterie category of both packaged lunch meats and snacks reached $1.4 billion, an increase of 5.3% vs. the previous year. 
While grocery stores are spotlighting the category with enhanced and multiple displays in-store, featuring a bevy of grab-and-go sliced meats, restaurants are using catering and food delivery platforms to drive mix and match meat trays and side options according to Johnson.
Battle for Share of Stomach

This is once trend that legacy food manufactures have coalesce around with companies the ilk of Dietz & Watson Landjaeger Swiss Style Snack Sticks, Columbus Craft Meats’ Charcuterie, Hormel Gatherings Hard Salami & Pepperoni Party Trays, Olli Salumeria’s Snack Packs and Volpi Foods’ Roltini Singles. There is no sign that the grocerant niche mix and match meal bundling growth will ebb anytime soon.
Here is why recently Mintel reported that 95% of U.S. adults snack daily, and 70% do so more than twice a day. Mintel further noted that the percentage of “super snackers” those who snack more than four times a day is also increasing.
Success does leave clues and it is important to note that Charcuterie, plates and platters or portable.  Regular readers of this blog will remember back in the day that our Grocerant Guru® identified, quantified, and qualified the FIVE P’s of food marketing, which included that food had to be portable.  
Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization? Email us at: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or visit:  www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Popeyes has Food Marketing Magic



Success comes and goes and when a brand is ‘hot’ it can stay ‘hot’ for quite a while if the marketing team is tuned-in, plugged-in, and focused on consumer relevance according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Popeyes, ‘Bring your own bun’ messaging is on target, on time, and filled with consumer relevance as the undercurrent of ‘buzz’ around its sold-out chicken sandwich is still top of mind for trendy foodies according to Johnson.
The most relevant foodservice trend the past 10 years has been consumers increased demand for Hand Held Food for Immediate Consumption according to Johnson. With 82.3% of all restaurant meals purchased in the US coming from fast food restaurants as regular readers of this blog know.
Popeyes understands hand held food, yet avoided the chicken sandwich for years.  Let’s face it they were slow to evolve. While consumers like their chicken they love sandwiches.  Even more, Popeyes did a great job with flavor, texture, and taste prior to rolling the sandwich out.  Consumers voted with their pocket books and even while it’s sold out, it remains a buzz worthy for foodies.  
Popeyes new marketing campaign designed to buy time until the new sandwich returns are directing guests to (BYOB) bring in their own bun and make a sandwich. Guests are invited to order a three-piece tender and make the infamous sandwich on their own, without the original fixins. Now as regular readers understand this new ad is consumer focused, interactive, and participatory. That’s why it will keep the buzz alive according to Johnson.
Note: Popeyes traffic was up 218% over their previous July numbers according to Pacer.ai’s data analysis. Traffic continued to rise after the sandwich was sold out on August 27th with the last few days of the month continuing an upward trajectory. Given that our Grocerant Guru® wants to give a shout out to the team at Popeyes for doing a fantastic job.
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information or contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.