Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 C-Stores Less Gas More Grocerant Niche Fresh Prepared Food

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® began focusing on Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  We were so successful in identifying, quantifying, qualifying customer adoption and migration that Steven Johnson our Grocerant Guru® even gave the intersection of the undercurrents of customer retail adoption and migration a name the Grocerant niche
Johnson, was first to write about the Grocerant niche in Nation’s Restaurant News, August 19th, 1996 in an opinion called Home-Meal-Replacement is the future of foodservice and in FoodService Director in an article called Call them Grocerants. Since Johnson and the team at Foodservice Solutions® has been quoted on Television, Newspapers and Magazines worldwide.
The distinction between Home-Meal-Replacement (HMR) and Grocerant niche fresh is wider today than ever.  We note that the legacy retailers, consultants and research houses still using the term HMR have largely closes, been sold, or are capitulation customers too those that have evolved with the consumer.
In 2017 the grocerant niche will continue to evolve however it is now moving from a niche to center stage.  One example is the Convenience store sector where innovative new Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food will become the main focus for the entire C-store sector as that sector continues gaining share of stomach from all other retail food channels.
Tom Cook principal at King-Casey recently stated "Innovative c-stores — such as Sheetz and American Natural — have led the way in improving their food and foodservice offerings," "Now the rest of the industry has noticed, with the result that foodservice will be the primary area of focus for c-stores looking to build their brands and bottom lines."
Cook continued “c-stores will place a concentration on providing prepared foods, made-to-order sandwiches, fresh ingredients, healthy options, quality baked goods and barista-style coffee, espresso and tea beverages.” "We believe foodservice sales growth will significantly outpace that of in-store merchandise".
There was a time that historical lines of distinction between c-stores, fast food outlets, and fast-casual restaurants were clear and according to our own Grocerant Guru® that will not change much in 2017.  However Convenience stores with a renewed focus on grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food will continue to garner top line growth and bottom line profits that outperform all other foodservice sectors. 
It will be 2018 and 2019 that both the fast food sector and fast casual sectors seriously explore grocerant options to recapture market share and garner a larger share of stomach. Is your company waiting and watching? Are you ready to drive incremental top line growth and bottom line profits?
Legacy grocery stores feeling the heat of competition from c-stores will find regional success selling grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food but will not implement lessons learned provided C-store incremental reasons to push their grocerant programs harder and faster.
Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Hub-Box Package Security in Click and Collect World

Did porch pirates find you’re your packages when you were not at home? I bet that if they did not; that there is a very good chance that they found your neighbors packages even while you were home.  There is a company that is a delivery service for those not at home it is called Hub-Box.  So how does Hub-Box work?  Here is what they say:

HubBox is a Click & Collect service that has pulled together a network of thousands of convenience stores, pharmacies, dry cleaners and other local retailers in the U.K. The idea is that when you shop online, instead of having parcels delivered to your empty home, they can be dropped off at a shop on your local High Street, ready for you to pick up at a time that is convenient for you.
The clever thing about HubBox is that it can be used at any online retailer. E-commerce sites do have the option to plug it into their checkout process, but customers can also sign up for their own account and then just use their HubBox ID in the delivery details when they complete a purchase.
The way to use it is that when you are ordering online, just enter your HubBox ID instead of your last name, and the Collect Point Address instead of your home address. From there, Hub Box should be able to work with your local Collect Point, and let you go and grab it.
Delivery of Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared food growth shows no sign of ebbing.  One way grocerant niche and other retailers can safely expand and compete against the likes of Amazon is with Hub-Box according to Foodservice Solutions® European colleagues. 

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Starbucks is Not Standing Still

Forty-Five years ago the first Starbucks opened in Seattle in Pike Place Market.  Today there is little doubt that Starbucks is anything but an old tired brand according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
Starbucks is in a race to the first foodservice / restaurant company to reach the 50 year mark with more customer relevance today that it had in any of its first five years of existence.  Not only does Starbucks continue to lead its sector and is an example for the entire restaurant industry that evolving with the consumer works. How will Starbucks stay relevant?  Here are 10 things they are working on now:
1. Starbucks unveiled an innovative conversation ordering system, called My Starbucks Barista, powered by groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Starbucks Mobile App. Customers will be able to place their orders via voice command or messaging interface. The AI feature will roll out first on iOS in limited beta in early 2017 and be made available to more iOS and Android users in subsequent releases. 
2. Starbucks offers the largest mobile ecosystem of any retailer in the world, with more than 12 million Starbucks Rewards members, 8 million mobile paying customers (1 out of 3 use Mobile Order & Pay), and more than $6 billion loaded onto prepaid Starbucks Cards in North America during the past year alone.
3. Leadership in coffee is at the heart of Starbucks innovation. Born from the Seattle Roastery, Starbucks will introduce the Cascara Latte to customers nationwide in January. Made with the fruit of the coffee cherry, Cascara lends subtle notes of dark brown sugar and maple to classic Starbucks Espresso.
4. A new breakfast option arrives in January of 2017 with the introduction of Sous Vide Egg Bites—a wheat-free, low calorie, high protein, convenient breakfast. That will be followed by the spring launch of a Certified Gluten-Free Breakfast Sandwich.
5. Expect more food innovation from Starbucks early in the year with the regional rollout of organic soups, expansion of Starbucks Bistro Box selections, and introduction of more fresh grab-and-go lunch choices—salads, sandwiches and desserts—made fresh and delivered to Starbucks stores daily.
6. New products showing up in the grocery aisles during the spring of 2017 include: Bottled Starbucks Cold Brew Cocoa and Honey with Cream in select markets in the U.S; and ready-to-drink (RTD) Teavana Craft Iced Teas in partnership with Anheuser-Busch. The new RTD teas include Pineapple Berry Blue Herbal Tea, Peach Green Tea, Mango Black Tea and Passion Tango Herbal Tea. Later in 2017, select flavors will be available in Starbucks stores too.
7. Starbucks global real estate teams and design offices are creating the most dynamic and immersive coffee retail experience for customers around the world. The most premium of these retail experiences are Roasteries. Since opening two years ago in Seattle, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery has become recognized as the most dynamic and immersive coffee retail experience in the world. Starbucks will open its next Roastery in Shanghai in 2017, Tokyo and New York City in 2018, and a fifth location in Europe to be announced early next year.
8. Starbucks expects to have more than 37,000 stores by 2021. That’s an additional 12,000 new stores globally elevating the Starbucks Experience around the world. Some of these customer experiences will be Reserve stores. Starbucks Reserve stores are a new retail format that will integrate the theater and romance of the Roastery with the unique culinary experience of the company’s new Italian food partner, Princi. Starbucks is also extending elements of the high-end Roastery experience to its core Starbucks stores by adding Starbucks Reserve experience bars in up to 20 percent of its total portfolio.
9. Starbucks plans to open standalone Princi stores in Seattle, New York and Chicago by 2018. Rocco Princi, who opened his first bakery in Milan in 1986, expanded to five renowned Princi specialty stores over the years, and is now bringing his signature artisanal baked goods to all new Starbucks Roastery locations, including Shanghai and New York. In a place where the roasting and brewing of the world’s finest coffees takes center stage with small lot Starbucks Reserve coffees, the Roasteries are the perfect environment for Princi’s masterful creations.
10. China is the largest international market for Starbucks, with nearly 2,500 stores in 118 cities and more than 30,000 partners (employees). The company is opening over one store a day in China and remains on track to open more than 5,000 stores in China by 2021.

Success does leave clues and the team at hopes you pick a couple of clues from Starbucks.  If not you just might have another look at the list above.  Will your brand be stronger next year?  If not contact: Driving Top Line Sales and Bottom Line Profits since 1991.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Meal Assembly Foodservice Secret Sauce

Family meals today are no longer cooked from scratch for the most part.  In fact Foodservice Solutions® team found that in 2016 84% of meals prepared in the home had one or more meal components that were fresh prepared at a retailer purchased for convenience / time savings.  
Consumers are dynamic not static and food retailers and private label fresh food manufactures are evolving, searching and identifying way improved ways to track consumer dynamics, convenience, and household trends to save consumers both time and money and a vast majority of that focus is on grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food as regular readers of this blog know.  
Sarah Schmansky, director of Nielsen Fresh stated “Understanding the choices consumers make in the grocery store are vital in helping retailers drive image, reputation, and trips to the fresh prepared and deli section,” …Improvements to drive increased fresh-prepared purchases can be approached in many different ways, including meal solution type, operational improvements, and aligning specific food items and featured cuisines most closely to the intended store audience.”
While only a portion of the home assembled meal is comprised of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food.  Nielsen’s new report Power of Fresh Prepared/Deli sheds additional light to help retails evolve. 
Here are some key findings from the report:
·         Driving image, reputation and trips is important to grow deli/fresh prepared, particularly as store/deli visits are declining. Fresh/deli prepared had 96 percent penetration yet only 12 percent of shoppers visit the deli with regularity across channels and banners. Making deli/fresh prepared a true point of differentiation can pay huge dividends for the department and total store.
·         Tying into mega trends and touting health and wellness claims may accelerate sales growth in deli/fresh prepared. Shoppers are interested in seeing deli/fresh prepared featuring organic, locally-sourced, non-GMO, gluten free and other mega trend- inspired foods that are aggressively growing sales in other parts of the store.
·         Focus on convenience as the overarching advantage of deli/fresh prepared versus home-cooked meals. Extensive variety helps suit different preferences among household members. Other advantages include saving money on potentially discarded food and offering more convenient options for those who do not or cannot cook on a given occasion.
·         Elevate the profile of the food itself: driving food theater, ambiance, customization, professional chefs and meal inspiration. When compared with restaurants, shoppers see the ability to combine errands and time savings as the top two advantages of deli/fresh prepared.
·         Offer variety across all types of meal options, including number of options, cuisines and regular rotation of offerings. Constant innovation is required to stay on top of flavors, ingredients and customizable options, primarily around mainstream, premium and value options.

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Foodservice Faster Service is ‘Better for You’

 Retailers that are improving the speed of customer service are reducing the size of outlets. One of the sure signs that grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food is driving customer adoption and that successful retailers are paying attention is the fact the size of the retail outlets are become smaller according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
Today retailers are smart, they understand that they must follow the consumer.  Things don’t changes much today large stores still account for 51% of global sales, smaller channels like drug stores and convenience stores are growing sales up to eight times as fast their larger counterparts according to Nielsen. 
Driven by increased offerings of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food consumers are making more” frequent trips—an average of 2.5 per week to buy fresh food—and taking advantage of new e-commerce options for hard-to-find products” according to Nielsen. 
While consumers continue to be time starved.  Simply put walking around those big box stores looking for a dinner solutions or for a food product that you have to cook from scratch is simply not top of mind for the consumer according to our own Grocerant Guru®.  Are you focused on the consumer or are you doing what you have always done?
Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom line profits.  Are you Looking A Customer Ahead?  Visit   or Contact for more information.  Remember Success does leave clue and we just may have the right clue for you.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Pizza’s Popularity Prospers

The foodservice industry is dynamic not static and customers are as well.  During 2016 the Pizza sector was the beneficiary of a consumer on the evolving foodservice landscape. The simple truth is consumers habits have not changed they are not eating less they are simply eating somewhere else according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®

Cheaper grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat hand held food immediate consumption at Convenience Stores, combined, cheaper Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche offerings at supermarkets, driven by overall food deflation, and the HDTV Syndrome are enticing Americans to save a buck by assembling meals at home according to Foodsericve Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson. 

2016 is the year when U.S. restaurant chains have continued to experience falling or sluggish customer traffic, experienced an uptick in competition from grocery stores and stood-by watching convenience stores eat their lunch by selling more and more  hand held food, specifically pizza

The lingering effects of the great recession continue and let’s face it pizza is cheap, fast and increasingly offered at all retail outlets.  Today driven by user-friendly mobile-ordering apps and technology that lets diners order from Facebook, Twitter and Apple TV all contributed. 

Stephen Anderson, an analyst at Maxim Group  stated "Restaurants that have succeeded this year have been the ones that have addressed convenience," …The pizza chains have done a good job at this."
Domino's same-stores sales gained 13 percent in the U.S. last quarter, while Papa John's sales climbed 5.5 percent by that measure in North America. Shares of Domino's Pizza are up 45 percent this year. And Papa John's International is up more than 60 percent. Compare that with a 3.4 percent gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Restaurants Index.

While Casey’s General stores, Wawa, Sheetz, and 7-Eleven are all offering fresh fast food. Fast-food outlets, fast-casual restaurants rivals have tried to follow suit, but Club stores the ilk of Costco continue to grow grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food sales particularly Pizza

Convenience of delivery pizza has been a big part of the sectors success according to Foodservice Solutions® Johnson.    Then this is the issue of technology which has help drive $1 billion in delivery sales for McDonald's in 2016 and that is without sales in the United States. 

Ivan Feinseth, an analyst at Tigress Financial Partners stated "There's been a lot of competition, The pizza chains have "promoted the value pricing well, and they have incorporated technology to make the buying process really convenient and fun."  Pizza companies also have aggressively advertised cheap deals to lure budget-conscious diners. Domino's has a two-for-$5.99-each menu, while Papa John's is promoting two large pizzas for $8 each

That’s a meal for two for only $8.  The Foodservice Solutions® Price, Value, Service equilibrium within retail foodservice has changed according to our own Grocerant Guru® Do you understand the undercurrents driving change within retail foodservice?  Our team does, since 1991 has led the growth of the Grocerant niche.  Are you ready for success growing Top line sales, bottom line profits and year over year customer counts? Contact:


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Want Millennials Foodservice Customers Try Pricing, Authenticity, Digital

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson stated “digital availability, pricing transparency, and in-store fresh prepared food ethnically authentic combined attract both Gen Z and Millennial consumers.  Garnering Gen Z and Millennial customers is not as difficult as many make it out to be.  Remember consumers are dynamic not static and your brand must try new grocerant focused tactics to succeed.
Here is one example Costco recently revealed an increase focus on organics and tests with coupon websites like LivingSocial as appealing particularly to Millennial and Gen Z consumer. During Quarterly results they “Now, it was just a couple of years ago when the average U.S. Costco adult member was four-plus years older than the population as a whole. Now, it's a little under two.
Acosta Senior VP Colin Stewart stated that “The typical grocery store, especially center store, is the same as it’s been since the 1960s.” Today Generation Y seeks experiences, and seeks everything digital.
Stewart continued “(grocery stores…need to figure out the right way to integrate digital into all of that to make sure it’s relevant for that younger shopper group.” He went on to say Millennials’ need for an experience at the grocery store is that they prefer to shop with other people. Over three-quarters of Gen Y  shop with someone else, compared to 60% of the overall population.
“In general, Millennials are a little bit more experiential, and I think shopping with others is part of that shopping experience,” said Stewart.  Gen Yers are most often shopping with their children (41%), but also shop with a spouse or partner (38%) or other adults (29%), such as parents, friends, roommates or other relatives.
Marianne Quinlan-Sacksteder, Acosta’s director of insights, noted Hispanic Millennials use grocery shopping as “a social experience” where they can go out into the community and interact with friends and neighbors. Hispanic Millennials are even more likely to shop with others, with 88% visiting the grocery store with someone else.
Acosta’s latest research The Why Behind the Buy also found Millennials want digital to be a big part of the grocery shopping experience. “When you look at the numbers, obviously Millennials outrank any other generation on just about anything to do with digital and shopping, whether that’s looking up prices, looking up product ingredients, [or] looking up reviews on products,” said Stewart. “But I think it’s really almost just an expectation of Millennials that there’s going to be some sort of way that they can use that device in their hand,” for food buying and preparation.
Digital matters in markets where grocery e-commerce is available, 64% of Gen Yers said they shop online at least once a month, compared to 43% of all shoppers. Millennials are also far more likely to have tried a meal kit delivery service. Six in 10 Gen Yers have ordered from a service like Blue Apron, HelloFresh or Plate, compared to 10% of Boomers.
According to Stewart, meal kits speak to multiple Millennial desires. Forty-five percent of Gen Y shoppers want to take cooking classes to learn how to prepare new meals and dishes. Meal kit recipes also tend to include ingredients perceived as healthy. Acosta’s research found 39.1% of items in Millennials’ shopping baskets are organic, vs. 25.5% for all shoppers.
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 participationdifferentiation, and individualization? Email us at: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.usor visit: for more information.