Retail foodservice is an exciting landscape in which to work, follow or enjoy as a consumer participant. The one thing that is for certain is the Status Quo is not! Each day millions go to work with passion and contribute to the ongoing evolution and rediscovery of an ever growing and important sector of our society.
The industry forced to reposition itself during our current economic doldrums has provided evidence of an emerging trend that is once again expanding the size, and availability of food in the US. I have dubbed it the “grocerant trend” (fresh prepared ready-to-eat and or ready-to-heat--- better for you-- food). Times have never been better for manufactures to create new products, collaborate and bond with clients while building top lines sales and bottom line profits.
Two strong factors are expanding the niche from fad to trend. Dramatic new points of distribution are on the way fresh prepared food emerging in non traditional points of fresh food distribution. The first is at 7 Eleven, which is entering the niche with fresh fruit and fresh prepared food at test locations around the world and at 105 units here in the US. Solid positive signs of consumer acceptance have been reported and this program will rollout to and additional 7,210 units within three years or so.
Second, Walgreens expanding brand quality in the pursuit of “fresh” prepared food. The halo effect will bolster the brand as contemporized and relevant to consumers. Focused, on its core consumer, portioned, positioned and priced competitively. Walgreens has the ability to over the next 3 to 4 years roll out that program too well over 15,000 locations.
Grocery stores the likes of Wegman’s, Central Market, Harris Teeter and Whole Foods are each expanding fresh prepared food. Safeway’s lifestyle stores are exceeding initial projections and the company is all smiles while expanding the fresh food focused units.
Convenience stores current grocerant leaders Sheetz, Wawa, Rutter’s, Quick Chek continue to test the bounds of fresh prepared food while doing an excellent job at bundling the meal components and pressuring the QSR industry to keep pace.
Many restaurant chains have or are preparing new programs and offering for this specific niche including Subway, Nathan’s Famous, Atlanta Bread, Denny’s, Jamba Juice and Quiznos. Yes, there does appear to be a new food fight and it is in the grocerant niche for consumer seeking better for you fresh prepared food that is ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat.
Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Join me here on my blog for insights, information and inspiration or for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson