So, what is a Grocerant?
Where can you find Grocerant niche portable fresh food? Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ says this "Grocerant means any retail food item that is Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat and prepared fresh that can be made portable.
The word Grocerant is a result of the blurring of the line between restaurants and grocery stores created, defined, and first published as an Op-Ed article titled: Call Them Grocerants in August 1996 in FoodService Director and again in Nation’s Restaurant News authored by our own Steven Johnson to describe the undercurrents of food industry consumer changing eating a buying patterns.
On a side note Johnson and Foodservice Solutions received a US Trademark for the word Grocerant in 1998, subsequently gave it up to become the ‘Grocerant Guru™’. Today Foodservice Solutions® retail consultancy is the global leader within the grocerant niche.
Simply put today a grocerant is anywhere a consumer can find fresh prepared food positioned, placed, and priced for the time-starved consumer with Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meals or meal components that can be bundled into a meal and or packaged for Take-Out, Take-Away, or To-Go.
Today, grocerant meals and meal components are found in liquor stores, drug-stores (Walgreens), fast food restaurants, fast casual restaurants, full-service restaurants, and restaurants inside grocery stores, in legacy “deli” departments, furniture stores (Ikea), club stores (Costco) and clothing stores from Tommy Bahama, Macy’s, and Nordstrom’s.
When the Grocerant Guru™ say’s retailer, it is broadly defining supermarkets, mass drug merchants, C-Stores (convenience stores), Furniture stores, Club Stores, Clothing retailers and fast food , fast casual restaurants and full service restaurants selling fresh prepared food, and restaurant meals and meal components sold TO-GO or delivery.
What is Driving the Grocerant Trend?
Its 4 PM: your customers are just beginning to think about what's for dinner. 81% of American consumers are unsure about what's for dinner. Time Starved Consumers are looking for high quality Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared foods and Heat-N-Eat meal components. Today's time starved consumers have no desire to cook from scratch. They want to purchase fresh prepared meal components that they can bundle into a customized family meal that will please everyone without spending time cooking.
Most consumers may traditionally think these items can be or are found in grocery stores in the deli / lifestyle section, C-stores in the prepared food area and prepackaged, Ready-2-Eat items and in restaurants under the To-go, takeout or take away or delivery section of the menu or on the website. Ah the consumer and times have driven change.
The retail industry has expanded and is evolving to keep up with the demands of consumer’s desire to save time, improve quality, increase family fresh food flavor profile, while enabling personalization and family meal customization.
Examples of Grocerants
Restaurant examples range from McDonalds, Pret A Manger Burger King, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy's to Starbucks, each having a fresh Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food. In the Casual Dining sector Maggiano's Little Italy offers a buy one take a 2nd home for free in their Classic Pastas menu section, Olive Garden, Chili’s, Boston Market and Denny’s. That is to name but a few.
Drug Store examples few today consider Walgreens as a food destination yet Walgreens sells fresh soft-serve yogurt, coffee, sandwiches, salads and sushi at selected stores, although they are technically a powerhouse growth vehicle within the grocerant niche.
Convenience Store examples are Rutter’s Farm Stores, Casey’s General Store, 7 Eleven, Wawa, Sheetz, Sheetz, and QuickChek, all of which sell fresh and prepared sandwiches, pizza, sandwiches, salads, and yes beverages.
Clothing Stores Tommy Bahama, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Brooks Brothers all have or are planning restaurants selling fresh prepared food in-store. Fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food is garnering consumer favor in this sector. Expect to find more and more clothing retailers entering the grocerant niche.
Furniture Stores & Liquor Store example Ikea sells over $ 2 Billion a year in Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food in its stores (mostly meatballs-mash potatoes), Pinkies in San Angelo, Texas this past holiday season even offered complete fresh prepared full Turkey Dinners will all of the traditional side orders. All of the fresh prepared food is prepared on site and sold To-Go.
Supermarket examples are Whole Foods, Trader-Joes, Metropolitan Market, Central Market, Kroger, and Wegmans sell fresh prepared chicken, salads, sandwiches and most offer sushi and beverages. Many are now opening in-store restaurants including fast food, full service sit down and bars all offer fresh prepared To-Go as well.
The retail supermarket and convenience store sector have unique grocerant challenges. Presentation of the Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is important. When you get a meal at a restaurant, the plate and the food look great… let's call this "food for now". Many legacy retailers are primarily selling "food for later" or take-out and unless an item is a sandwich, the looks of Ready-2-Eat meals and snacks begin to change.
Why is it so hard to package food to go? In the Hot food section of the grocery store the food in most cases does not look appealing so our expectations drop when we get it for Take-Away. That may be one reason that many grocery stores are continue to open restaurants or “food courts” selling made to order fresh sandwiches or Chinese take-out.
In convenience stores like Wawa, the Ready-2-Eat food looks great in the To-Go containers. Why? Because Wawa puts the entire consumer food package together. They exert more control on the look and feel of "food for later".
Around the world we are now seeing sections in department's stores and kiosk in malls in Europe and Asia and airports around the world. The items can range from entrees to side items and deserts. Some examples of items range from fried chicken, mash potatoes, cream spinach, to liver and onions, pizza, hot dogs, steak, prime rib, various casseroles (hot-dish) to salads, side salads pie, cake and any single proportioned deserts. They can be picked up at the specific unit, or delivered.
Since 1991 we have assisted companies grow, expand, and excel within the grocerant niche. Are you ready for Outside Eye’s for inside profits? Have we completed a Grocerant ScoreCard for your company? Are you ready for a Grocerant program assessment? Call: 253-759-7869 today.
Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us if you are 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 or you can learn more at Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant Email: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information.