Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chef’s Find a Fist Full of Cash in Grocerant Start-Ups.

What’s for dinner tonight?  Who’s cooking Dinner tonight? Most likely you are not cooking tonight. Time starved and cooking skill-set deprived around the world consumers are looking for solutions to the age old question Who’s cooking dinner?

Consumers never take a step back in food quality.  Yet that does not mean they want to eat out at a restaurant every night. Nor does it mean they want to or have the skill-set to cook the multi-ethnic full flavored food that they have become accustom too. Here is just some of what we found in Australia’s  The Advertiser :

Many chef’s today are migrating to grocery stores for employment and are in high demand as Austria’s Woolworths reports fresh prepared food in the “ready to cook”  category is up 30% in just the past year alone. Today’s food quality of ready-2-eat and heat-n-eat fresh prepared food from grocery stores is deemed by most customers as “restaurant quality” and even more as “better than I can prepare”.

Opportunity knocks for others in the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared grocerant niche. “ In 2011, with both her sister and sister-in-law struggling with newborn babies, Ashleigh Martin decided the best help she could offer was to make meals at home, pack them up and take them over to the new mums.

They were so popular, Ms Martin, 30, started Mashfood, a web-based home-cooked meals business, which quickly moved from her home kitchen to a church hall and now supplies 20 Adelaide families with $60-$100 weekly orders of main meals and side dishes.

"I'm creating meals they would do at home, had they the time," said the 30-year-old whose most popular dishes are chicken and leak pie and lasagne which have no nasty numbers or brackets in the ingredients list.

"It's usually for young families, or single males but I have been getting inquiries more and more about elderly people who want to continue to be independent but don't like Meals on Wheels or other options.
"Its usually a push by family members," said Ms Martin.

Then there is Sidney’s Dinner Ladies, “The Dinner Ladies started after friends Katherine Westwood, 46, and Sophie Gilliatt, 45, needed to offer a decent feed to time-poor friends plus their own families after finishing netball or football, or returning home late from school or work.

While some may see the category as a cheat, Ms Gilliatt said it was equally important for people to eat well at the family dinner table. "Its a special moment of the day for people, and they shouldn't be eating crap," she said.

"They are watching Jamie Oliver, they are watching Heston Blumenthal, they are aware of exciting flavours but it doesn't mean they can be bothered cooking at the end of the day."The Dinner Ladies offer everything from salad in a bag with a separate dressing to chicken with 100 almonds made from Ms Gilliatts mothers original recipe.

Success does leave clues and when any niche is growing as fast as the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food aka the grocerant niche is growing opportunity will abound. Grocery stores are seeing 30% growth year over year in many parts of the world in ready-2-eat fresh food. All legacy food retails must be understand the consumer is dynamic not static. Chef’s, cooks, and entrepreneurs, are all entering the retail food space creating new points of fresh food distribution while elevating restaurant consumer discontinuity.
Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a global  multi-unit operator, consultant and brand/product positioning. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. ,via Email at: or visit Johnson, or

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