Where are we going for dinner? Today the options for dinner have turned to opportunity for many non-traditional food retailers including grocery stores. Going out to dinner was once a treat, then the norm today consumer content with their 65 inch HDTV’s are asking: Where are we going to get dinner?
Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Chicago based Technomic states that “consumers turn to retailers for prepared food most often in the evenings”. Restaurants need to recognize that increase competition for share of stomach comes from non-traditional fresh prepared food retail companies the ilk of grocery stores, Drug stores, C-stores and Club stores.
Technomic’s research found that customers of non-traditional fresh prepared food from the aforementioned list of new competitors rated “supermarkets and c-stores equal to or better than limited-service restaurants”. His examples were; “53 percent of consumers say the freshness of prepared foods at conveniences stores is on par with that of limited service-restaurant fare”. Supermarket offerings did just a little better than that “54 percent said food freshness is comparable at supermarkets with 24 percent saying supermarket prepared foods are fresher”.
A full one in five consumers today identified grocery-store prepared food as a Top alternative to a restaurant. Regular readers of this blog know we have been providing the success clues for the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food niche since 1991 and none of this is a surprise to us. The rest of you however must the momentum within this sector is building and the current numbers alone are impressive. The grocery and c-store sectors account for $37 billion in U.S. sales alone with $20 billion for grocery and 10.7 for c-stores according to Technomic. That number grew $2 Billion dollars from 2010 to 2012.
This niche has more than resonated with consumers it is now either a preferred choice or a clear option. Restaurants need to be mindful of the momentum in consumer satisfaction, industry growth rate and the new retail food price, service, equilibrium being established.