Friday, August 26, 2016

Giant Eagle Doubles Up on Fresh

Giant Eagle doubles down on multi-format fresh food with its first two-story Market District Express store, which offers a new signature restaurant alongside a “best of” experience in a more intimate setting “according to a company press release and an article in Progressive Grocer.
The Market District’s signature restaurant will offer diners a full-service restaurant experience complete with dedicated restaurant seating for 155, and a menu inspired by fresh, seasonal ingredients and the local communities wants and needs.
The menu with have prices ranging from $6 - $11 per plate, table by Market District is the perfect lunch or dinner destination. In addition to gourmet meals, table by Market District features one of the most extensive beer and wine lists in Columbus.
In keeping with the growing grocerant niche trend of consumer interactive participation customers can enjoy 18 craft beers on tap, order wine by the glass, or select a bottle of wine from the 1,200 varieties available in-store for the selling price of the bottle plus a $10 corkage fee.
Giant Eagle is doubling down with a focus on fresh, with meal solutions for the home chef, and the culinary expertise of the approximately 70 supermarket and 40 restaurant team members who bring the store to life. With grocerant niche interactive participation including:
1.        Curbside Express - an online grocery ordering service that caters to on-the-go customers. Combining the ease of online ordering with the convenience of parking lot pick-up, customers can complete their grocery shopping without having to leave their vehicles.
  1. Beer, Wine & Liquor - in addition to a full bar, Market District Express will carry more than 1,200 varieties of wine and more than 400 craft, domestic, and imported beers including offerings from local breweries like North High, Seventh Son and Columbus Brewing.
  2. Local - carefully curated products from more than 20 local purveyors, ranging from pasta sauce to potato chips, and sourced from within 150 miles of the store, add a taste of central Ohio to the Market District Express aisles.
  3. Deli Favorites - lunch meats and cheeses, all sliced to order – plus flavorful side salads, salsas, hummus, dips, spreads and more are perfect prepared options for customers on the go.
  4. Freshly Cut Meats - Market District-made sausages, marinated meats, gourmet burgers, beef, pork, poultry and more with butchers available to show customers why we’re a cut above the rest.
  5. Fresh Seafood - home to Team Members with an ocean of knowledge to share on swordfish, tuna, marinated filets, shrimp, crab cakes and more.
  6. Produce - grown across the globe and by local Columbus-area farmers, assortment ranges from exotic to organic to conventional fruits and vegetables.
  7. Bakery - sweets ranging from cupcakes, muffins, donuts, cookies, French croissants and fresh bagels.
Success does leave clues and focusing on the consumer with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche fresh prepared consumer interactive participatory food is a success clue for all.

Since 1991  of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or or Contact our Grocerant Guru® at:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Look In the Frozen Food Court for a Baskin-Robbins Treat

Success does leave clues and today consumers demand the availability of their favorite brands where and when they want them.  Legacy retail brands the ilk of Baskin-Robbins has found that consumers want to buy their ice cream in the frozen food court at their local grocery store as well as in their retail outlets.
In order to give the customers what they want Dunkin’ Brands, the parent of Baskin-Robbins, partnered with Boardwalk Frozen Treats to make that happen.  So very soon you will be able to by the legacy ice cream from your local grocery stores including many favorites, such as mint chocolate chip and pralines and cream. 
Boardwalk Frozen Treats CEO Dave Owens stated “The extension of restaurant brands into grocery stores is a relatively recent development, mostly in the past 20 years. The motivation is to build brand ubiquity and consumption in all channels where food is sold. Dunkin’ Brands had great success introducing Dunkin’ Donuts packaged coffee into grocery stores in 2007, so pursuing a similar strategy for Baskin-Robbins made sense.”

Owens noted that the power of the brand comes from the fact that “Baskin-Robbins is the world’s largest ice cream chain with more than 7,700 scoop shops, including 2,500-plus in the U.S. Brand awareness is 89% nationwide, among the highest among ice cream brands. When Baskin-Robbins pints are placed on grocery shelves, consumers immediately recognize the brand proposition….
Baskin-Robbins is an all-family and all-American brand, and retailers understand the importance of appealing to that demographic. Baskin-Robbins spends approximately $25 million annually on marketing and T.V. advertising, which keeps the brand front and center in consumers’ minds and buyers appreciate that support”
Baskin-Robbins understand that the consumers is dynamic not static and continues to evolve by adding  novelties, including ice cream sandwiches and bars, which will serve additional consumer eating occasions. Baskin-Robbins will expand beyond grocery stores and supermarkets into other retail channels including mass merchants, club stores, drug stores and convenience stores.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® or for a Grocerant Scorecard visit,  Email:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ten Clues to include in your Grocerant Marketing Tool-Kit

The value of a product or brand at times diminishes in consumer relevance. What is important to the consumer is ever evolving and the vernacular of your brand must as well. Foodservice Solutions® understands that the consumer is dynamic not static. Here are 10 clues to keep your brand dynamic.

1. Symbolism. Why you are there! The most successful brands are inclusive they include values greater than themselves. They create a consumer acceptable lifestyle, a philosophy, an emotion a point in time.

2. A story. Most major brands have a story. Examples: if you like Ford vehicles, you might be familiar with the story of Henry Ford or if you love your Nikes, you probably know how the Nike swoosh logo was created.

3. A track record. When your business is first starting out, don't fool yourself into believing that your marketing efforts are 'brand building' efforts. They're not because to build a real brand, you have to have an extensive track record with consumers.

4. Trust. When you've consistently delivered for your customers long enough, you'll gain the type of trust that many brands have. Case in point: a friend of mine always reminds people that he won't buy an automobile that isn't a BMW. He's had a good experience with his and trusts so much in the company that he doesn't believe there's a better-made car.

5. Expectation. When a consumer chooses a product or service because of brand association, he or she is buying an expectation. Perhaps it's the expectation that the branded product is of higher quality or that the service will be provided in a more efficient manner.

6. Differentiation. Expectation is often borne of differentiation. Many brands offer products and services that are commodities but they're successful in developing some differentiation for their products and services that consumers are sold on. After all differentiation does not mean different it means familiar but with a twist. 

7. Imitators. Imitation is the sincerest of flattery and you're probably not a 'brand' until you have competitors trying to copy you. Clearly our own Grocerant Guru® has become an industry icon.

8. Market leadership. Top brands are usually looked at as leaders in the markets they compete in.

9. Adaptability. The best brands are flexible and capable of reshaping and reinventing themselves and their messages over time. Coca-Cola is a good example of a brand that has never abandoned its core product but has evolved its message over time to keep up with changes in the marketplace and society at large.

10. A strong marketing presence. Although it's nice to believe that you can market yourself for free on Facebook and Twitter, the reality is that brands aren't advertising on television and radio because they're dumb. Building maintaining grocerant brand equity requires awareness and awareness requires an inclusive integrated marketing program.

Steven Johnson is the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, foodservice consultant, Grocerant brand / product positioning expert.  Visit: or Email:  Office: 1-253-759-7869

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fresh Fruit is Fast Food

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® has help introduce fast food restaurants and convenience stores to the notion that fresh fruit is fast food and with that comes the halo of ‘better for you’ since 1991. Retailers have found success with Apples, Cuties, Cherries, Strawberries, grapes, and blackberries.
Consumer adoption of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food has help fuel the increased offerings from both chain restaurants and conveniences stores.  Recently the Chicago Tribune reported that “The latest to capitalize on the fresh food movement are fast-food restaurants, which have been procuring fresh fruit for salads and smoothies.”
Integrating fresh in the ‘fast food space’ has not been simple the tribune article pointed out that “for instance, it took Wendy’s more than 24 months to figure out how to add blackberries to a new salad. McDonald’s had similar problems finding enough mangoes for its new fruit smoothie.”
The article continued “While Wendy’s salad and McDonald’s fruit smoothies have been winners, both burger chains had flops, such as when McDonald’s tried baby carrots in its Happy Meals and Wendy’s attempted to offer a fresh fruit bowl—neither were popular with consumers.”
Convenience stores the ilk of Wawa, Sheetz and 7-Eleven all have had great success integrating both fresh salads and fresh fruit into their formats creating a platform that has help dispel any legacy image of unhealthy, bad for you, or a bygone.  Today C-stores are helping lead the way with and expanded fresh food offering creating a new fresh food fast image that continues to drive customer adoption. 

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom line profits.  Are you Looking A Customer Ahead?  Visit  or Contact for more information.  Remember Success does leave clue and we just may have the right clue for you. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dollar Store Sector Grocery Store Disruption is Still Fresh

Consumer adoption of Dollar General Corporations stores, format, and product has long been the Achilles heel of the legacy grocery store sector.  With an ever increasing reliance on CPG food Dollar General will continue to garner customers from the grocery sector with the exception of companies the ilk of Aldi, WinCo, and Lidl according to Foodservice Solutions®.

This August Dollar General opened its 13,000th dollar store, and they are only in a total of 43 states.  With no sign of letting up and seven states to go Dollar General continues courting incremental customer adoption.

Now with 13,000 stores in 43 states, Dollar General is one of the largest discount retailers in the United States. Then there is Dollar Tree, which has approximately 13,600 stores after it recently acquired Family Dollar. Combined there are almost as many Dollar stores as there are legacy grocery store still looking for solutions to customer migration.

Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO stated “We look to deliver the Dollar General business model to communities across the country”.   Dollar General increasing is offering fresh food products that are Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat.  Which compliment the CPG food products consumers frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, and milk items at low everyday prices in convenient locations.

Price sensitive with an increased focus on Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food Dollar General is positioning to garner incremental customer traffic, sales, and profits. 

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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pizza Technology Takes Center Stage

As a graduate of two Jesuit Universities myself I was not surprised when I read that Xavier University located in Cincinnati was the first to install a college students dream machine an automated robotic pizza machine.  The old saying if the Jesuits get you for four years they have you for life must have been updated to they get you with pizza 24/7 why leave!
Technology has found another way to expand the offering of fresh prepared food that is Ready-2-Eat with less labor.  In fact a restaurant robot / machine opened on the Cincinnati university campus a pizza "ATM"  as it was reported in the press is stocked with 70 pizzas waiting to be cooked and dispensed in three minutes each.
The machine ‘ATM’ “features 12-inch pies assembled by hand by the dining hall staff of Xavier University. Each pizza maker was trained for 40 hours by a French chef to make the pies. …The pizzas will sell for between $9 and $10, and the university expects to sell 300 a day” according to the press.
Here is where you have to love the machine not only replace the cook but the food marketer as well.  The pie count will be monitored in real time, and the ATM will offer discounts if the pizza isn't moving. If success does leave clues one clue for sure is college students love pizza.  We think that this machine just might take the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche to the next level.
Note: Xavier holds exclusive rights to the devices in North America, requiring other interested parties to train and obtain certification from the school. The supplier is a French company.

Since 1991  of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or or Contact our Grocerant Guru® at:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Grocerant Meals are Consumers Personal Invitation to Dinner

Alice May Brock said: “Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, wine and tarragon make it French, sour cream makes it Russian, lemon and cinnamon make it Greek, soy sauce makes it Chinese, garlic makes it good.”

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® stated “grocerant niche bundled meal components prepared fresh have driven top line sales and bottom line profits in every sector of retail foodservice today.  Who knew grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food was multi-generational? 

Convenient meal participation, differentiation, and individualization are each hallmarks of the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared grocerant niche.  In 2016 the grocerant niche is the platform retailers are seeking out to edify consumer valued positioning according to our Grocerant Guru®.

Meal components allow customers as Alice noted to select from Italian, American, French, Russian or Greek and utilize the components at home any way they like.  The new American meal can be a composite of any prepared food components that the individual may want and they can mix and pair them any way as well. 

The United States is a melting pot of people from all over the world, with different cultures, traditions and flavor preferences.  The new American meal is a melting pot of flavor and choice.  Meal components that can be mix and matched for home consumption are integral to retail success.

Fresh prepared and portable Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat foods are now available for all comers and can be found at Convenience stores, Drug stores, Grocery stores, Restaurants, Mobile trucks all just waiting for the taking.  When developing new menu items do you consider where the food will be consumed?

Consumers have been exposed to a plethora of flavors and have not the time to master the skill of cooking each.  The rapidly growing grocerant trend is empowering the consumer to establish new customs and traditions in eating better, more flavorful food.  The Grocerant niche is about convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization.

Invite  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: