The grocerant niche comprised of fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food continues to drive top line growth and bottom line profits in all sectors of the foodservice industry. The ability to mix & match meal components or ingredients for a particular meal is empowering to the consumer. This niche is thriving within the Convenience store sector, Restaurant sector, Grocery/Supermarket sector, Drug store sector, and Dollar store sector.
Food Manufactures are focusing on each sector developing “restaurant quality” prepared food for the every retail sector. Consumers are finding “restaurant quality” fresh food offerings at new non-traditional points of distribution.
This is a brilliant way for retailers to extend the retail brand when current customers are migrating to fresh meal assembly and where future customers of the brand will come from. Consumer are not burdened with problems of retail food channel blurring. Channel blurring is only in the mind of the brand marketer. Consumers want food ready-2-eat when and where they are and when they want it.
Many Co-packers of refrigerated entrees and side dishes are preparing products for quick casual restaurants and even fine dining chains. Then they manufacture the similar product under for a different avenue of distribution i.e. grocery or convenience stores under the restaurants chain label or a private label.
Grocery store deli operators are now seeking private label fresh prepared proprietary menu items with identity for national grocery/ supermarket distribution. With sales picking up month after month in this category this will become a very successful business proposition for many a manufacturers and co-packers.
Consumers now consider Sheetz not a convenience store but a restaurant with gas. Safeway each week positions ready-2-eat fresh prepared food in every printed ad. Walgreens in Boston,New York, Chicago, and San Francisco offers fresh prepared and Made-2-Order food or fresh prepared meal component bundling options. Success leaves clues and one clue is Grocerant Niche fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food is a customer favorite in every retail food channel.
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Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant