Harry Balzer of The NPD Group, a noted retail foodservice keynote speaker recently noted that “The restaurant industry is having a very difficult time,” he said. “In fact, we're still looking for the bottom in the number of meals being bought.”
Within the grocery sector the only nationwide area to show year over year growth is the “deli” or prepared food sector. It obvious to all regular readers of this blog why; consumers still don’t want to cook, they want to assemble a meal at most.
“From a sales growth standpoint, in recent years supermarket foodservice has consistently been one of if not the strongest performing segments of the industry that we track,” said Jenny Anderson, director of research and consulting for Technomic. “We expect that momentum to continue and consider supermarket foodservice to be in a solid position going into 2012.” Most important, 77% of consumers say that they purchase prepared foods from retailers at least once per month, according to the 2011according to Anderson.
While Balzer believes the demand for convenience and value are driving a long-term shift in consumer preference our research show that Mix and Match meal bundling that allows meal component variety is just as important. Jeff Culhane vice president of perishable marketing for Tops Friendly Markets noted that prepared food departments also offer a variety that most QSRs simply can't match.
Successful retail food operators today are using or understand Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price. Then they are using them to build strong sales with an integrated grocerant niche food program leveraging distinctive differentiated food consumables as an entity with identity by day part.