Saturday, June 4, 2016

Fresh Prepared Food Saves Time

Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food continues to drive customer adoption, visit frequency, incremental impulse buying according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® has conducted over 6,150 Grocerant ScoreCards, 2,025 within the past 24 months tracking the quality and consistency of the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared offering around the country and world.  

The grocerant niche is about meals now not filling the pantry for next winter.  Customer migration to the grocerant niche filled with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is blurring the line between restaurants and grocery stores. Grocerant food targets the time-starved consumer, not with ingredients to make from scratch rather with Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat food components that can be bundled into a personalized and customized meal. 

Consumers today shop looking for meal components to ease preparation. They might buy a rotisserie chicken, pick out something from a salad bar and maybe an appetizer at the deli service case. Those are components vs. buying uncooked chicken, a head of lettuce and then having to clean, cut, season and then season and spend time cooking.

Steven Johnson is the Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solution® and defines the niche this way "Grocerant means any retail food item that is Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat that is fresh prepared and more often than not has the “halo” of better for you in the minds-eye of the consumer.

These items can be found in grocery stores in the deli / lifestyle section, c-stores in the prepared food section, can be prepackaged ready to eat items, and in restaurants under the To-go, takeout or take away or delivery section of the menu or on the website and now at Chain Drug Stores Walgreens / Duane Reade, Liquor stores, and Dollar Stores."

The Force Driving the Grocerant Trend

At noon your customers are just beginning to think about what's for dinner. 83.7% of American consumers are unsure about what's for dinner. At 4:00 PM 68.7% still don’t know what’s for dinner (Walgreens-Foodservice Solutions). In 2012 38% of meals were eaten alone 2015 42% are eaten alone (Hartman) 2016 54% eaten with others 46% alone (Hartman).  This year 53% of Dinners are planned within 1 Hour of Eating (Hartman Group 2016).

Legacy grocery stores have a conundrum that is consumer’s attraction to quality grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food has proven to bedevil the sector. While consumers love the fresh food offerings of Harris Teeter, Safeway, Albertsons, Mariano’s, and Main and Vine driving profits through the units prepared focused stores bottom line is more elusive. Consumers are thinking meals and the grocer is thinking pantry; thus the conundrum.

The grocery sector needs to Look A Customer Ahead leveraging outside eyes to garner the insights, recommendations, and key drivers of the evolving foodservice retail landscape.    In order to edify any retail brand today the retailer needs to understand ‘Share of Stomach’ not just their own sector.  The focus must include consumer fresh food purchases from Chain Drug Stores, Grocery Stores, Chain Liquor Stores, Chain Dollar Stores, Convenience Stores, Chain Restaurants particularly Quick Service Restaurants, Fast Casual, Full Service Restaurant chains and Meal Kit companies.

Still Time Starved Consumers are looking for high quality Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meals. Today, time starved consumer want to purchase meal components that they can bundle into a customized family meal that will please everyone without spending time cooking.

Around the world we are now seeing fresh food sections in department's stores kiosk in malls in Europe, Asia, and airports. 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.

The Grocerant niche is a result of the blurring of the line between restaurants and grocery stores aimed at the time-starved consumer with Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat food components that can be bundled into a meal. Retailers need to focus on Share of Stomach and look for new non-traditional points of distribution as the retail food landscape is evolving and new competition opening daily.  Your brand is under attack. Are you ready for outside eyes? 

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 participationdifferentiation and individualization? Email us at: or visit: for more information. 

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