Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Millennials want Ultra Convenient Fresh Food

 Millennials want food that is fun, flavorful, fast, filled with discovery we are talking everything from grandma’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes to a corner stores curried vegetables on flatbread. Most important according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® millennials want food that is inclusive of all the experiences they have had, read about, or want. 

Millennials are searching for food with authenticity.  Grandma’s mothers recipe, baked beans prepared in a family heirloom croc, fresh flavor prepared from a food truck, a meal from a ten seat ‘tuck-away’ restaurant, Ikea enough said. Y-Pulse survey found five clear trends that operators in search of Millennial customers should be mindful of and here they are: 
1.       Influential Foodie Culture
With 71 percent of respondents saying they love to attend food-focused events and 81 percent stating that they enjoy exploring new cultures through food, it’s clear that for millennials, dining outside the home transcends even traditional “eatertainment” platforms to become something that combines socializing, entertainment and education in one experience.
Y-Pulse cites developments like the rise of food halls, fancy food emporiums and food festivals that offer fully immersive experiences as reflecting this trend, but it can also be seen in the increasing diversity of food concepts demanded in college dining venues by students.
Just as one example, students at Washington & Lee University in off-the-beaten-path Northwestern Virginia, recently voted for a quirky Turkish/Persian/Greek food concept over more traditional Mexican and Asian options as their choice to occupy a major dining venue on their campus.
2.       Memorable Tasting Experiences
Nearly half (48 percent) of the young consumers surveyed said they seek out restaurants run by critically acclaimed chefs and over two-thirds (69 percent) said they love restaurants with chef's tasting menus. Meanwhile, 61 percent wished they could dine on more foods that remind them of their grandmothers' cooking, and 69 percent wished for foods that remind them of their childhoods.
What to make of these seeming contradictory responses, in which novelty and nostalgia teeter in precarious stalemate? “Whether they target the nostalgia or provide sophisticated tasting adventures, foodservice operators need to aim for ‘unforgettable’ experiences,” is how Y-Pulse explains it. But one possible compromise area is menuing more “comfort foods with a twist” where traditional favorites are served in innovative versions.
3.       Speed Versus Savoring
Of course, not all outside-the-home dining occasions need to be once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Sometimes a meal is just a refueling occasion, and for such instances, millennials are out to be the ultimate no-muss/no-fuss crowd. For example, 48 percent of the Y-Pulse survey respondents said they prefer eating meals on the go and 44 percent said that convenience is more important than cuisine(!). Y-Pulse interprets this as a demand for more grab and go, but it can just as easily be a demand for electronic preordering and quick, efficient delivery options. It might also be interpreted as a growing market for more service points with fast, convenient access such as kiosk carts and strategically placed food trucks. 
4.       Food Trust
It is a commonly held belief that millennial consumers have much more concern about where their food comes from than previous generations. The Y-Pulse survey supports this, with 68 percent of the survey respondents saying they prefer local sourcing of ingredients and 66 percent indicating they are willing to pay a little more for food that comes from local producers.
This is certainly borne out by the experiences of college dining operators, who see growing calls for more local sourcing, a trend deeply burrowing into all onsite segments, even K-12 schools. Operators can maximize the impact of these procurement strategies by highlighting the growers/producers whose products are featured on the menu through signage, menu board mentions, etc. 
5.       High Expectations
If equal yearnings for both grandma’s and Mario Batali’s cooking or for memorable food experiences and convenience over cuisine weren’t contradictory enough, the survey also showed 67 percent of its millennial respondents saying they love ordering healthy options offered at restaurants and 63 percent saying they love restaurants that offer "over-the-top" menu items.
Y-Pulse explains it as “[t]oday's consumers want it all” but perhaps it’s a bit more subtle than that and a dilemma for foodservice providers who must cater to both indulgence and temperance. Hence the presence of both salads and double cheeseburgers on QSR menus and of mac and cheese bars sitting side by side with sushi bars in college dining halls.
"We found that young consumers, between ages 18 and 34, are greatly influenced by the foodie culture that surrounds them," summarizes Sharon Olson, executive director of Y-Pulse. "These trends highlight the direction of the foodservice industry in future years."
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869

Monday, February 27, 2017

Can Legacy Grocery Stores Survive

With Alibaba, Amazon, Aldi, and Lidl all focused on opening new units and new avenues of fresh food distribution. Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® wonders have legacy grocery stores done the same thing so long, done it the same way is there any way they can adapt to the new evolving fresh food formats focused on grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food in time to save themselves?
What other choice do they have even a FMI thinks that the “grocery business industry truly is at the tipping point of great change. More than driverless vehicles or delivery drones, the digitally engaged food shopper will fundamentally transform how food is bought and sold.” Wow  the team at Foodservice Solutions® has been saying that since 1991. 
Nielsen and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) revealed initial findings from its Digitally Engaged Food Shopper study. Quite frankly the findings were distressful if you’re a legacy grocer.  Here they are:
1.       Multi-channel shopping: More shoppers are buying more of their groceries across channels.
2.       Digital experimentation: Grocery retailers and manufacturers are meaningfully experimenting with business models and technologies to find their way online. However, the road to success has not been paved.
3.       Grocery saturation: Grocery shopping will reach digital maturity and saturation faster than other industries, such as publishing or banking.
4.       Center store migration: Center store categories are already migrating online, and we expect this migration to continue.
5.       Young and digital: Younger, newer and more engaged digital shoppers adopt grocery-related digital technologies more quickly and will hasten the expansion of digital grocery shopping further.

Regular readers of this blog know companies the ilk of IKEA, Pinkies Liquor stores, and CostCo are all selling both Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche food will little sign of regret. Alibaba, and Amazon rule the digital world as legacy stores fumble with click & collect most spending more on technology than they receive in food sales. 

Dollar stores have defined the grocery sector as no longer relevant, resulting in 50% fewer legacy grocery stores today than 15 years ago.  There is no grocery saturation problem, grocery stores have a Dollar store problem. 
Gen Z and Millennials don’t find fresh food discovery at a legacy grocery store they find a maze designed to consume time exactly the opposite of their goals.  Maybe it’s time that legacy grocery stores quite thinking about incremental change and get some Outside eyes that can help them drive top line sales and bottom line profits. 

www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  is the global leader in grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Aldi, Lidi, Success Clues KISS

Did I really have to tell you what your learned as a child the golden rule of business KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid).  Well I have to admit that the team at Foodservice Solutions® at times reminds me as well.  So when I read the results of this new study I just had to share it.   According to Siegel+Gale  a global brand strategy firm “Brands that embrace simplicity tend to enjoy increased revenue, valuation, brand advocacy and employee engagement”. They revealed the top finishers of its seventh annual Global Brand Simplicity Index. 
To no one’s surprise “low-price grocery chain Aldi retains the number one spot as the world’s simplest brand, followed by Lidi, a German discount chain. Other top finishers are Google, Netflix, Ikea, Amazon, KFC, YouTube, McDonald’s and Subway.”
Also revealed “simplicity earns a premium: 64% of consumers are willing to pay more for simpler experiences. Simplicity also builds loyalty, with 61% of consumers more likely to recommend a brand because it is simple.” 
Brands that don’t provide simple experiences are leaving an estimated share of $86 billion on the table, according to the study.  “Ignoring that kind of ROI is crazy,” said Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer, Siegel+Gale.
Maybe most important simplicity pays off with happy employees. Sixty-two percent of employees at simple companies are brand champions — versus only 20% of employees at complex companies. Five out of six brands representing the restaurant industry are in the top 15, indicating that quick service often means simple service.  Our success clue of the day is KISS.
For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us  the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information

Saturday, February 25, 2017

HoneyBaked Ham Adding Retail Relevance for Returns

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson as regular readers of this blog know understand the undercurrents of foodservice customer migration from legacy traditional avenues of distribution the ilk of restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores to new non-traditional outlets.  Well HoneyBaked Ham does as well and this year Johnson expect HoneyBaked will set new sales records this holiday season.

We all know Harry J. Hoenselaar opened the first HoneyBaked Ham store in Detroit, Michigan, like most great companies, he did so because he believed in an idea. An idea that produced what is regarded today as the best tasting ham in the world. The Foodservice Solutions® agrees with them. 

Recently The Honeybaked Ham hired the former head of the Lane Bryant and The Limited clothing chains as its new CEO. Linda Heasley. She was previously CEO of Ascena Retail Group, with responsibility for more than 800 Lane Bryant, Catherine’s and Cacique stores. Earlier, she had served as CEO of The Limited. All that means is Heasley had what we in the grocerant niche call retail chops!
HoneyBaked Ham has understood the undercurrents of the evolving foodservice consumer and expanding its retail offering well beyond it 400 cafĂ©’s offering grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food in multiple alternative channels simultaneously.  The results are clear they have edified the brand with consumers of every age while expanding brand relevance.
The team at Foodservice Solutions® believes that Heasley is the right person at the right time to evolve, elevate, and edify the brand.  We believe she will expand avenues of distribution, locations driving top line revenue and bottom line profits. Why the product.
Yes, HoneyBaked Hans stands out with its sweet, crunchy glaze enhancing the flavor of the bone-in smoked ham, Harry’s patented spiral-slicing process made HoneyBaked Ham the easy-to-serve centerpiece, that set the standard as a comfort food staple at holiday dinners, Easter celebrations and meaningful meals shared and savored by family and friends.
Does your brand look more like yesterday that tomorrow? Are you doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  HoneyBaked Ham is not.  They are growing with customer relevance.
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.us or visit:  www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information.