Sunday, May 24, 2015

Convenience Store Food Evolves from Frightful too ‘Better For You’

Do you still remember the Roller Grill at the center of your local convenience store that was filled with products that had been turning, turning, turning, for hour after hour?  Do you remember that when you dared tried one once. When you were very hungry, and vowed you would never do that again. Well times have change and “better for you’ food can be found in convenience stores today.  

A vast majority of convenience stores today offer single pieces of fresh fruit like bananas, oranges, and apples year round.  Don’t tell me you are surprised.  Entering a C-store today you don’t have to look far to find them either they are usually at the front of the store next to the cash register. 

Regular readers of this blog know that Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Says “Fresh Fruit is Fast Food”.  Most fruit is prewashed that you find in a C-store today so you don’t want to worry about washing an apple while driving, reach for a banana, an orange apple and feel good about your choice.

Convenience stores are still known for Grab-N-Go food but it too is fast becoming ‘better for you’ food that you are finding in the Grab-N-Go section.  Not to worry convenience stores still have their fair share of less-than-optimal eats, many more now stock a surprising selection of fresh and healthy choices. Consumers are not just stopping by C-stores to refuel but as a destination for ‘better for you’ snacks including:

1.       Energy Bars
2.       Packs of Raw Nuts / Trail Mix
3.       Beef Jerky
4.       Low-fat Greek Yogurt
5.       Vegetable juice (V8)
6.       Single serve bags of baby carrots
7.       Fresh Fruit Cups
8.       String Cheese sticks

The halo of better for you food is beginning to engulf the Grab-N-Go focus within C-stores and consumers are responding positively.  If success does leave clues C-stores that bundle ‘better for you’ snack food with fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant offerings are sure to win. 

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  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: or visit: for more information

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Domino’s, and Papa Murphy’s Fighting for Share-of-Stomach

With the economy on the rebound after eight grueling years of economic readjustment consumers are ready to indulge a bit.  That is the leading reason that frozen food sales (Pizza) have been lagging the past couple of years according to Foodservice Solutions®, Grocerant Guru™.

In a  new report from Mintel, three quarters (74 percent) of Canadian adults ate frozen pizza in the six months preceding 2015 and 81 percent ate restaurant or take-out pizza during the same time period. Pizza while still very popular as a sector has had declining sales overall the past five years. 

“Aggressive pricing strategies, increased health concerns, competition from foodservice, where Millennials perceive pizza to be of better quality, as well as disinterest from the ageing population have all led to declining sales,” said Joel Gregoire, Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. 

The Mintel report forecasts a return to positive volume growth within the Pizza sector with one very important codicil that being; competitive pricing pressures will force a continued drop in dollar sales.” There are many variables pizza consumers take into account when making a purchase decision. However, 34 percent rank price ahead of brand as a deciding factor.”

Are you too old for Pizza? Mintel found that as age increases, frozen pizza purchases decline. Only 56 percent of aged 65+ report eating frozen pizza, well below the average of 74 percent. Furthermore, this demographic is expecting growth of 19 percent by 2019, which places further financial risk on the faltering frozen pizza market. 

Children do play a key role as pizza consumption starts to fall amongst those age 45-54 and continues to decline thereafter,” “When children are not present in the home, the share of consumers who do not eat frozen pizza nearly doubles to 31 percent.”  Don’t tell any of this to the ‘hot new niche of fast casual pizza growth companies. 

Millennials’ love with pizza is driving volume sales of frozen pizza, they contribute to the pricing pressures that are decreasing revenue. Mintel found for consumers aged 18-24, price is even more likely to be a factor when purchasing frozen pizza (45 percent vs 34 percent overall). 

The report went on “Younger consumers, particularly Millennials, are the driving force behind the pizza category while simultaneously acting as the source of current market pricing pressures. Millennials show the highest penetration of pizza consumption and are the most fervent foodservice customers with 40 percent eating takeout at least twice a month. However, the fact that under a third of consumers aged 18-24 are eating frozen pizza (32 percent) is indicative of the current sales trend in the store-bought pizza market.”

Within Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of Food Marketing both price and portability play key roles.  In the pizza sector they have particular significance.  Pricing, portability will trump branding for the next three years according to our Grocerant Guru™.  Holding down pricing will be key to retaining customers. 

Are you 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: or visit: for more information.

Friday, May 22, 2015

What Ever Happened to Dinner Time?

When Harris Interactive lasted polled consumers they found that “only 26 percent of U.S. households with children sit down to a family dinner every night.  Talk about Soccer Moms and Dads with hectic schedules, balancing family and work with demands of time, but no family dinner for 74%.

Time starved parents are finding new ways to feed the family, fill the dinner gap.  They are turning to Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared grocerant niche meals.  The food retail landscape is evolving and all retailers must adjust or risk losing market share. 

Is lunch time at risk as well? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American adults between the ages of 25 and 54 spent about 8.7 hours of the average workday.  With so many of office workers no longer taking the traditional one-hour lunch is it any wonder snacking has grown? 

In a survey by the ManpowerGroup found that a third of U.S. employees take no lunch break at all, and another third eat at their desks each day.  Is it any wonder that fresh fast food delivery is growing in popularity? 

It’s no wonder that Millennials  who have been exposed to expanding  favors, varied tastes and textures of food, and who know their way around the global menuboard while in-line or on-line are helping to drive the success of new avenues of fresh food distribution adoption. 

Many legacy food companies have been surprisingly slow to embrace or innovate around grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food offerings creating an opportunity for new non-traditional lunch and dinner retailers to emerge. 

Dinner is not dead, but if you operate a restaurant don’t be standing at the front door waiting for a dinner crowd any time soon to fill the seats.  The ability of consumers to order food online with a smartphone, a app, or point and click on-line and have dinner it delivered to your door is fast becoming one of the defining cultural experiences of our age. 

The question is, are you integrating Mix and Match menu offerings with a family time focus? Are you integrating day-part participation with a branded invitation? Is your branded solution limited within your four walls?  What new points of non-traditional distribution has your team explored? Dinner time can still be your brands time. 

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  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: or visit: for more information.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Are Your Customer Counts Growing

Restaurant consumers are not eating less, they are eating somewhere else.  In fact obesity in America is at all a time high.  78.6 million U.S. adults suffer from obesity that’s 34.9 percent of the population. So why is it harder and harder for legacy restaurant operators to maintain a customer?

How hard is it to build customer counts? In a recent survey of restaurant operators by Restaurant Business found that “Maintaining current guest counts was ranked at the high end of the difficulty spectrum by 46 percent of respondents, and increasing traffic was rated as difficult or extraordinarily difficult by 77 percent.” …
The study also found that “A fourth (24 percent) of the respondents said their targeted customers were visiting less often, 19 percent noted that patrons spend less when they do dine out, and 43 percent reported that customers are pay more attention today to the prices of what they order.”
This is why you read our blog for here is what is not reported in the mainstream press.  Restaurant sector customer counts since the recession began have never fully recovered.  That’s right it is 2014 and 5 ½ years later and customers are still shopping elsewhere. Where? The migration has centered itself within Grocerant Niche of course.
Today, Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food today can be found in Liquor stores the ilk of Texas based Pinkie’s, Chain Drug Stores the ilk of Walgreens, and vastly improved grocery store deli’s.
Restaurateurs that waiting for the ‘good old days and customers to come rushing the doors will be on the side lines soon.  The customer has moved and you must move with them.  What business are you in anyway?  You are in the meal business? Do you have a ‘Boomer CEO’ look at how stores ran not how they will be running?
It’s time to extend your brand of fresh prepared food (not frozen) into new non-traditional locations.  Don’t get stuck in footprint malaise.  Consider entering your branded products locations that your customers are migrating too.  Join us on our next Grocerant Niche immersion Tour.  specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche since 1991 Contact: