What do consumers think is a Grocerant? Well according to Steven Johnson, the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, the man to coined the term Grocerant he says that: "a Grocerant any retail food item that is fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat or ready to Heat-N-Eat. Traditionally these items can be found in grocery stores in the service deli, C-stores in the prepared food area and prepackaged, ready to eat items and in restaurants under the To-go, on the takeout-menu, via a drive-thru or offered for delivery section of the menu or on the website."
Increasingly Grocerant fresh food can be found at retailers the ilk of IKEA, Ralph Lauren, Barns & Noble, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Costco Wholesale Club Stores. Digital innovation as created a platform where food trucks, food carts, pop-up restaurants, and virtual (no-storefront) retailers are garnering consumers attention and dollars for meals and meal components.
When I say retailer, it is broadly defining supermarkets, mass drug merchants, C-Stores (convenience stores), grocery service dli, and fast food or fast casual restaurants where and the meal or meal components can be made portable and mix & matched into a unique family meal.
What Drives the Grocerant Trend a Battle for Share of Stomach.
Its noon customers are just beginning to think about what's for dinner. In fact, 81.7% of American consumers are unsure about what's for dinner at noon and 64.1% don’t know what’s for dinner at 4PM according to Foodservice Solutions® most recent Grocerant ScoreCards.
Time-starved Consumers are looking for high quality ready to eat foods and ready to heat meals. Today's time-starved consumer wants to purchase meal components that they can bundle into a customized family meal that will please everyone without spending time cooking.
Retail supermarkets and convenience store sector have gained momentum with innovating new fresh prepared food offerings within the grocerant space garnering market share back from the restaurant sector all the while cannibalizing legacy CPG sales; creating a bit of a conundrum.
Many legacy grocery stores have a fresh food “presentation problem’ according to Johnson. Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat must look fresh and taste great, and it’s the look fresh most legacy grocery and c-store chains stumble with.
When you get a meal at a restaurant, the plate and the food look great… let's call this "food for now". 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 meal components is evolving albeit not quite fast enough according to our Grocerant Guru®.
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. In convenience stores, like Wawa, the ready to eat food looks great in the to-go containers. Why? Because Wawa puts the entire package together. They exert more control over 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 desserts. 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.
In summary, a Grocerant is a result of the blurring of the line between restaurants and grocery stores aimed at the time-starved consumer with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meals or meal components that can be bundled into a perfect family meal that is portable.
For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson 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. For more information visit www.GrocerantGuru.com , www.FoodserviceSolutions.us or call 1-253-759-7869