“Technology has permanently changed the way we experience food,” said Justin Massa, founder and CEO of Chicago-based research firm Food Genius. “We are at the start of a dramatic shift in how most people interact with any kind of product, and food is no different.” While these days it’s hard to imagine a world without smartphones, that was not the case less than 10 years ago. Now consumers use them for everything, including getting directions, accessing emails and, yes, ordering food. “That’s a massive change in consumer behavior,” said Massa.
Digital menu boards and web-based ordering are part of our lives now, too. “There’s this explosion of new entrances to the food arena,” said Massa. Here is but one example, NCR recently debuted a mobile app that provides pump-only c-store customers with food offers inside the store. Ordering, upselling and payment are all handled through the customer’s smartphone. Wonder why restaurant customer migration is growing?
Given the economic turmoil and the downturn today we have 49 million Americans on food stamps. Those consumers have been forced back to grocery stores. And while the economy has slowly but surely recovered, said Massa, consumers haven’t shifted their focus back to dining away from home.
But that doesn’t mean consumers are necessarily cooking more at home. Rather, they’re starting to turn to grocery stores, c-stores and other retail outlets for convenient food options that require little or no prep. According to a recent Technomic study, 37% of consumers say that they purchase Ready-2-Eat foods from a supermarket or retail store weekly or more often.
In fact, 87% of retailers say they expect foodservice business conditions to improve over the next year, according to CSP’s 2014 State of Foodservice Study, and Massa agrees. “Today a new battle is brewing one for ‘share of stomach’. The customer is most often found at the intersection of Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared food and technology according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™.
Time and the Customer
A Foodservice Solutions® study found that in 2011 81% of consumers don’t know what they are going to have for dinner at 4 p.m. in a 2014 survey the numbers changed 87% don’t know what’s for dinner at noon and 64% at 5 PM still don’t know,” Today portability in food marketing, portable meal components, complemented by fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat are the platform drivers for food sales success in our convenience-driven time starved world.
Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way? Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization? Email us at: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information.