Time-starved yet demanding consumers are evolving flavorful ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh food. The grocerant niche comprised of fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food, are building top line sales and bottom line profits in all sectors of the foodservice industry. The ability to mix and match meal components or ingredients for a particular meal or specific sandwich is empowering to the consumer. This niche is thriving in Convenience Stores, Restaurants, Drug Stores, and Grocery Stores.
Food Manufactures are focusing on restaurants and prepared food for the grocery sector. It is important to understand the differences between cooking a food product for immediate consumption and manufacturing a product with adequate shelf life and safety profile to be on the shelf. There are systematic differences between cooking ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food. Maintaining food safety and quality will allow products served at restaurants to also be available in the grocery store with brand integrity.
New non-traditional points of food distribution are cropping up monthly. Retail food brands must continue to find ways to place products in new avenues of distribution where current customers are going and future customers of the brand will come from.
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 products under for a different avenue of distribution i.e. grocery or convenience stores under the restaurants chain label.
Grocery store deli operators are now seeking private label fresh prepared proprietary menu items with identity for their 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 manufacture and or co-packer.