Friday, July 31, 2009

Not your Mother's Leftovers continued

Top of the day to you! Results of a new survey by Consumer Reports that will be appear in the September 2009 issue of ShopSmart found that only one in ten women won’t serve leftovers. Here is what is interesting if as we discussed yesterday leftovers were restaurant quality would that make a difference? I for one bet it would. Are ready to eat foods from HEB taken home leftover or fresh? Would the same hold true for Whole Foods hot food from meal stations? Here is the rest of the poll as obtained from Progressive Grocer. The telephone survey of 1,001 women age 18 and over was conducted in late April by the Consumer Reports National Research Center and is included in a ShopSmart feature on saving more at the supermarket.Among the survey’s additional findings were the following:--Women are making fewer trips to the grocery store now vs. 18 months ago.--Seventy percent of married women do all or most of their household’s grocery shopping.--Forty-two percent of women are stocking up on on-sale food items more often, and 35 percent are buying more generic or store-brand items more often, due to the economy.--Seventy percent of married women are mainly responsible for cooking weekday dinners.--Most women (55 percent) don’t mind cooking weekday dinners; 18 percent dislike it.--When deciding what to cook, women go through the refrigerator and pantry to see what they have (86 percent), decide what can be prepared quickly (78 percent), and pick what will be nutritious or healthy (72 percent). Less than a third (29 percent) said they budget or estimate how much the meal will cost.--Thirty-eight percent of women are cooking at home more often, and 35 percent are preparing less expensive meals more often, because of the economy.--On average, women spend 45 minutes cooking a weekday dinner and 31 minutes eating it.--In a typical week, women eat about five home-cooked or home-prepared dinners. “
If you would like to understand more about the Grocerant niche Foodservice Solutions can be your guide.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Leftover’s stylish and true restaurant quality!

The Grocerant sector continues to show growing interest for share of stomach by all players. Starting in August a new promotion by Maggiano’s Little Italy a restaurant chain owned by Brinker International will begin. It’s called “Today & Tomorrow” it’s a new twist on the buy one get one offers restaurants have offered for years. This time however at Maggiano’s you order two meals one cooked for you to eat; the other will be cooked and packaged for you to take home and eat tomorrow.
Grocerants ready to heat and ready eat products are so consumer friendly and well accepted today, I am prepared to say that this offer by Maggiano’s will be a smashing success. In fact it will be so big others on the Restaurant side will add a twist to it and copy! Success does leave clues and this one leads directly the consumer!

Supermarkets, Grocery stores, Convenience stores all have a big stake here. It is all about share of stomach. If Maggiano’s gets dinners two out of seven nights in a week, well that’s big? When the other players jump in, the race for the consumer share of stomach begins a new and will reach a new level! of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat program assessments aka Grocerant Niche assessments. 1-253-759-7869 or or leave a comment below.

For a state of the art grocerant program review leave a comment or contact Steven Johnson of Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions. .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Duel focus the new normal.

Nothing is more important than food safety. However time constrained multi-tasking consumers focus on the need for convenience is relentless. Grocerant ready to eat and ready to heat food that is prepped and portable truly hit the mark for the consumer. Eatzi’s Bakery & Market is a perfect example of a company that understands both how to be a successful merchant & retailer.
What does that mean to the consumer to be both a merchant & retailer? In the case of Eatzi’s it means authentic, fresh and individual; all of which are consumer empowering. Whole Foods is doing a good job at bridging the gap with the consumer. Empowering choice of duel Private Label products one packaged the other fresh ready to eat. Quick Chek understands this as well and continues to see success in the form of customer frequency levels.
The new normal is being able to do more than one thing at a time and the ability to do it well. Grocerants are the next level of foodservice! A&;P is on the move and in the right direction. What else can you do that will fit within your organization. The customer is ready for more options, ready to heat & ready to eat are booming. Is your company ready to open up dialogue on the Grocerant niche? of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat program assessments aka Grocerant Niche assessments. 1-253-759-7869 or or leave a comment below.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The answer is Quick Chek

The Grocerant sector is booming with reports of niche consumer acceptance from Maine to California and Florida to Washington State. Rarely does an industry have a fast developing niche that consumers are flocking to that is a platform for higher margins and a driver to increase customer frequency while building customer loyalty. However that is what we are finding in the Grocerant niche. The Grocerant sector filled with ready to eat and ready to heat food continues to flourish. Let me ask a coupe of questions and let’s see if who can get the right answers.

Who has the best vertically integrated marketing program for their ready to eat or ready to heat products, Village Pantry Convenience Stores or Boston Market?

Which company has the highest percent of food sales from the Grocerant sector products per store, Wawa or Safeway’s lifestyle stores? What Convenience store has the best Angus burger?

Did you know that THE NEXT BIG WAVE IS GROCERANTS? If not it may be time for a Foodservice program re-assessment or Grocerant program assessment from Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions. of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat program assessments aka Grocerant Niche assessments. 1-253-759-7869 or or leave a comment below.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Food Success Clues

Twice baked bacon stuffed potatoes, Frappuccino, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Sizzli, Chili Cheese French fries all of these items are signature items at Grocery stores, Restaurants and Convenience stores around America. Since 1991 here at Foodservice Solutions we believe that Differentiation dose not mean different in new food product development, it means familiar.

 Consumers young and old are demanding more choice. Today that means they look for the choice in different ways, at different times. Why people eat and when they eat is paramount to where and what they will eat. More and more consumers of all ages are looking for food with fewer calories, less fat or bolder flavors. Positioning consumer friendly options directly for the consumer is always a win-win. How well do you think Ahold USA or Aldi are doing? Highland Park I think they are doing a great job what do you think? Is Cracker Barrel or Loves Travel Stops meeting your expectations?

The Grocerant niche filled with ready to eat or ready to heat portable foods is exciting. Just one of the over lapping hot button trends in this niche is better for you foods. Consumers are utilizing new tools to identify, quantify and qualify where and what they will eat. Where you find quality better for you foods today, Winerschnitzel, Quick Check, Maverik stores or Harris Teeter? of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat program assessments aka Grocerant Niche assessments. 1-253-759-7869 or or leave a comment below.

 Send your comments directly to Steve Johnson or post them here. For more on Grocerants the next big wave click this link:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stop stifling food creativity

The quagmire of reality that corporate foodservice menu managers find themselves in to day is stifling. The day to day task required by many chain restaurants, grocery stores, Convenience stores in the foodservice / Grocerant ready to eat or ready to heat sector stifles pro-active development. Each company within the niche seems to impose odd regulations on it’s teams.

 The stated reasons range from; food safety to labor guide lines, food costing goals etc all non consumer focused reasons. No matter what the reason they are self imposed, self regulated, and limiting. Some of the best chains utilize guidelines that are restrictive. They include, Corner Bakery, Wegmans, Sheetz, Central Market, HEB, Publix, Albertson, Boston Market, Starbucks, and A&P.

When equilibrium is reached in the corporate world in the grocerant nice; that means or so I have heard that “marketshare is growing, profit margins are higher than other sectors”. The reaction to that is; STOP, lets saver this and most importantly maintain what we have in niche customer satisfaction levels and profits.

This quagmire of internal regulation stifles creativity, limits growth and reduces the chance of true breakout products within the niche. One company Technomic a highly respected foodservice research firm has insights with their Retailer Meal Solutions Monitor that can assist you to break out of the confines of your day to day routine. Keeping up with the grocerant niche at a minimum or break away and lead the pack, the information is a platform for success. Companies from Brookshire Grocery, Bristol Farms, Lowes Foods, 7 Eleven, Houchens, Kroger and Kwik Trip can gain valuable insights. Steve Johnson and Foodservice Solutions understand this niche better most. of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat program assessments aka Grocerant Niche assessments. 1-253-759-7869 or or leave a comment below.

 For more here is link to a recent article written by Mr. Johnson.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Food Price Portion Product

Might it be restaurateurs have missed something? Could it be that the consumer is shifting spending and consumption habits? As Nielsen’s channel blurring study has stated year after year, channel blurring is not in the mind of the consumer; it is only in the mind of the BRAND MARKETERS! Restaurant brand marketers are more focused on controlling the brand than cultivating it. The food industry PRICE, PORTION, PRODUCT equilibrium is resettling and it is all about share of stomach. Better for you is on its way. That includes less fat in food, less calories and less PRICE!

Menu boards with calories on them are having an affect on consumers if you want a point of a solid point of differentiation; you had better understand that. It is my belief that copy cat niche chains have no marketing differentiation. Restaurants, C-stores and grocery operators are all faced with this new unstable paradigm. Grocery stores and C-stores on the East Coast have repositioned themselves with solid research, new highly educated staffs, and a laser focus on the consumer. Here is how I think they are winning: Packaging, Price, Portion, Portability and Purpose. Targeting the Grocerant consumer and sector!

Many in the food industry are reluctant to spend on research, quick to hire recycled industry vets, and even faster to copy what worked for others during the past 6 months, while looking no further. The Grocerant sector is full of opportunity for manufactures of food, food packaging companies, operators of Restaurants, Supermarkets, Convenience Stores and Dollar stores for new product ideation, positioning opportunities. of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat program assessments aka Grocerant Niche assessments. 1-253-759-7869 or or leave a comment below.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cooking 1, 2, 3 2009

I was invited over to a new neighbors for dinner and of course accepted the invitation. The previous home owner had lived there 20+ years and was a great neighbor, friend and cook. I was amazed with the young couple (26ish) display of food when I arrived. Several other neighbors were also invited, kinda a meet and welcome. I was asked if I could come over early to introduce everyone and since I wanted to see what they were cooking I simply jumped at the chance. This was my lesson in Cooking 1,2,3! Boxes and bags were stacked on the counter top. I could see COSTCO, Metropolitan Market, Trader Joes, and Safeway labels, bags and containers.

Starters: Packaged, pre-cut, pre-washed vegetables, wings, meatballs;

Salads: Tabouli, broccoli slaw, beet salad;

Entrees: Pulled Pork, Rotisserie Chicken, Ribs;

Desserts: Cream Puffs, Fresh Fruit, Individual Petifores.

Ready, Set, Cook! Then in less than 6 minutes the food was unpacked placed on serving plates and one pour a beverage for me while the other took out the trash. Everyone came the party was a smash hit and the food was GREAT! I was raised on slow cooking, planning and hard work. This my friends is much better! In fact FUN! At the time they did not know what I did for a living. It is just one of the reasons I get it. Grocerant ready to eat and ready to heat food is here to stay. I hope these neighbors stay as well. Interested in positioning your Grocerant food for success. Leave a comment and we will help.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Work Place media study

I found this at Progressive and wanted to share. "A survey from WorkPlace Media, a Cleveland, Ohio-based marketing solutions firm that specializes in targeting people in the workplace, has found that the economic recession is having a impact on workers’ eating habits, and possibly their health. Overall, 31 percent of the 760 workers surveyed last month said they were making less money because of the economy, and 76 percent said they had cut down in some way on food and beverage consumption. Additionally, 34 percent said that cheaper fast food trumped health considerations during the recession, while 66 percent disagreed.Other findings from the WorkPlace Media survey include the following:--Changes in breakfast consumption:37 percent said their breakfast habits had not changed35 percent said they prepared breakfast at home more23 percent said they lessened the amount of times they purchase breakfast out10 percent discontinued purchasing breakfast out9 percent said they rarely eat breakfast anymore3 percent said they chose cheaper fast-food alternatives for breakfast--Changes in lunch consumption:40 percent said they lessened the number of times they purchase lunch out39 percent said they prepared their lunch at home more28 percent said their lunch spending habits had not changed8 percent said they chose cheaper fast-food alternatives for lunch7 percent discontinued purchasing lunch out3 percent said they rarely eat lunch anymore--Changes in dinner consumption:48 percent said they lessened the number of times they purchase dinner out42 percent said they prepared dinner at home more23 percent said their dinner spending habits had not changed7 percent said they chose cheaper fast-food alternatives for dinner5 percent said they discontinued purchasing dinner out2 percent said they rarely eat dinner anymore--Changes in grocery store habits:57 percent said they use more coupons50 percent said they buy more generic products31 percent said they save their trips for larger stockup trips23 percent said they buy fewer items on stockup trips17 percent said they shopped more during lunch or on the way home from work“When it comes to how the recession has affected the daily routines of workers, fewer working consumers are purchasing breakfast, lunch and dinner out. Some have even resorted to skipping meals to save money,” said WorkPlace Media CEO Stephanie Molnar. “You can expect even more changes to these habits as the recession plays itself out -- and hopefully recedes. But staying in touch with these changing attitudes is utterly crucial for any company looking to stay in step with today’s working consumer.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Food getting better for you!

Consumers are rethinking what they buy. When consumers are rethinking what they should buy; are they considering your brand or product? During our current economic rescission and continued slump many consumers are rethinking what type of food and where they will buy it. Several recent studies have come out of late focusing on the Premium customer and the “low end” consumer. Each surprisingly signaled that the consumer is willing to trade up for products that they believe are “better for you” “sustainable” or even “organic”.

No matter the reason the rescission is top of mind for consumers and health is there as well. If customers have lost hours per week or lost employment both the high end consumer and the low end consumer are willing more conscious about spending money on food. They are showing signs and sending messages with their spending that they care about Health, Good Health and want a “better for you” product.

Quick service Restaurants are now posting calories on menu boards, many restaurant menus do the same. The information is a powerful veto over time for legacy menu items loaded down with fat and calories. Change is coming, it will continue in this area to come at a slow pace but very steady. Interpreting consumer data and global patterns is all part of Grocerant Program assessments, for one leave a comment. Who has the worst food in America for fat and calories? Albertsons- Fried Chicken, KFC, Pizza Huts Stuffed Pizza? Where is the best? Eatzi’s – salads, Wegmans, or the New A&P? Grocerant program placement can help you position for success.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Re-evaluation of food priorities

“Give a man food, and he can eat for a day. Give a man a job, and he can only eat for 30 minutes on break." — Lev L. Spiro
The consumer price, service, value equilibrium is being reset. The consumer is re-evaluating priorities around time, income and activities. Many strong retailers understand that and are addressing the issue head on. The pro-active retailers can be found in the Convenience Store sector, Grocery sector and Restaurant sector.
Kwik Shop, the convenience store chain owned by Kroger, is considering adding pharmacies to its stores. Kroger understands that the consumers like the attributes of Kwik shop; additionally realizes the consumer wants more! Grocery stores like Central Market have added hot food to-go of restaurant quality. Starbucks realized that people do not want less coffee; they want more experience so they are extending the experience into additional brand food print to accommodate their consumers. Foodservice Solutions understand it as well. The Grocerant sector is not static, it is dynamic and booming. Interested in an understanding traditional positioning in non-traditional times? Need to learn more about a Grocerant tour, Grocerant program assessment or simple in-depth consultative understanding of the growing Grocerant niche? Read more on this blog or contact me directly for more information.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Time for Picnic Food

Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know. ----John Keats
Summer is the time to picnic! Today choice’s are outstanding. Do you want to stop at H. E. Butt and pick up a complete Grocerant meal with all of the components easily available. You can stop at Exxon’s On The Run and pick up any thing from sushi to salsa. Stopping at Metropolitan market one can get Breakfast bundled to go. Food Lion has the On The Go Bistro where bundling grocerant style components is the key element. Then there is Hess Express where ready to eat or ready to heat food is positioned to sell.
Looking around the industry it is easy to see why the Grocerant sector is booming. Day or night high quality food can be found ready to eat and or ready to heat. Is your company on top of the Next big wave Grocerants? Grocerant program assessment are available and industry research can assist you in positioning your self for continued success. Foodservice Solutions is having a picnic today!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

British Petroleum understands franchisee empowerment. BP’s Franchisee have a basket of opportunity to chose from when it comes to offering food at their units. The range is runs anywhere from Burger Kings and McDonalds to Sushi! Yes, made to order ready to eat sushi. In Memphis, TN the BP on Poplar Avenue sells fresh made to order Sushi. One would ask who would eat Sushi at a gas station? Well the answer is lots of people from Attorneys to college students. In fact “J.J. Lee who manages the business reports that they are taking in about $1,500 per day in Sushi sales.” That my friends that is a lot of Memphians.
The grocerant sector is about consumer choice in ready to eat, ready to heat food. Don’t let Brand protectionism get in the way of your companies success. In this and many other cases the customer is the answer. Leave brand protectionism to brand manages that do not understand channel blurring. Want to keep up with what is happening in the Grocerant sector? Contact me directly and I will send you a copy the new Technomic Retailer Meal Solutions Monitor. Success can be found from 7 Eleven, Boston Market, Holiday Food Stores, Kwik Trip, Gaint Eagle and Eatzi’s. Success leaves clues, first clue is keep informed.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Top of the weekend to you all!
What a great week it was. I want to take this time to thank all of you that I so that called and I spoke with, Email and those of you who left me messages. The Grocerant sector is truly taking hold, from North to South and East to West. This week I spoke too many of you directly about Technomic’s RMS Monitor. I again want to take this opportunity to recommend the Monitor here on my blog. The information contained within the RMS Monitor is niche focused, powerfully relevant, consumer reflective and regionally revealing.
Many of you asked about the possibility of a Grocerant Tour, without doubt, that is something that we can arrange and do. For those of your interested feel free to contact me directly via phone or Email. So far the request have been on viewing ready to eat hot food and interesting packaging products. Any suggestion or specific geographical local or company specific request will of course be considered. Keep in mind that we also conduct Grocerant program assessments.
The Ready to eat, ready to heat prepped and prepared food niche or Grocerant niche continues to build momentum with the consumer. Companies from Piggly Wiggly, Vons, ACME, Aidi, HEB, Sheetz, and Wawa all are active in the Next big wave; The Grocerants niche!

Friday, July 17, 2009

In a recent report conducted by New York-based Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods found that consumers are eager for innovation when it comes to packaged goods, household and personal products. Most notable “Eighty-nine percent of consumers said they would be interested in trying new food products at the grocery store.”

Then when questioned which product categories are most likely to introduce services and products that are new and different from what’s currently available, 34 percent of respondents indicated household products, 28 percent included personal products, and only 26 percent indicated food and beverage. Again when questions which products were the most innovative according to 60 percent of respondents. “Electronic media (58 percent), cameras and video equipment (54 percent) also ranked highly.” The food industry has not been meeting the needs set of the consumer when it comes to innovation.

Well enough said! Why do we still see a majority of Grocery stores, Convenience stores sell fried chicken as there featured retail meal solutions? The consumer has and is moving on. The consumer wants Grocerant style food that is ready to eat, ready to heat and portable.

On the restaurant side perceived better for you products are driving sales for Yum brands KFC, and we all know of the success that Chipotle is showing. Whole foods is turning heads with quality ready to eat and ready to heat foods. Grocerant style food is leading the way in portability and consumer choice. It is different, comes in a different format and packaging. The opportunity is out there for all. If you would like a Grocerant program assessment feel free to contact me directly or leave a comment.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Convenience Store News today published this article; Quick Chek Asks 'What's Your Beef?' Pleasse read it and think again about channel blurring? Is it important to you?

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. -- Quick Chek, a chain of 119 convenience stores throughout New Jersey and southern New York, is launching a new collection of quarter-pound Angus beef burgers.The six unique varieties include:-- The Classic American with yellow American cheese, pickles, tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, ketchup and mustard on a Kaiser roll;-- The Bourbon BBQ with cheddar cheese, bacon, red onions and bourbon barbeque sauce on a Kaiser roll;-- The Spicy Buffalo with white American cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and spicy buffalo sauce on a Kaiser roll;-- The Roasted Tomato & Garlic with roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella and roasted tomato and garlic spread on a Kaiser roll;-- The Southwest with Monterey Pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise on a Kaiser roll; and,-- The Ultimate with provolone cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and Texas horseradish sauce on a Kaiser roll."We're happy to bring our customers another new and exciting choice on our expansive fresh food menu," Jennifer Vespole, senior category manager of foodservice, said in a statement. "The launch of our new quarter-pound Angus beef burgers represents our commitment to offer a wide variety of menu choices that satisfies every craving morning, noon and night."Regularly priced at $4.49 each, Quick Chek customers can try a new Angus beef burger of their choice for $2.99 each every Friday for a limited time. In addition, on July 17, from noon to 4 p.m., the retailer’s own Burger Brigade will visit Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth, N.J., where they will offer shoppers the chance to share their own "beef" on videotape. Each participant who records their own "beef," will receive a coupon for a complimentary Quick Chek quarter-pound Angus beef burger.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”
Grocery Stores, Convenience stores and Supermarkets have upped the quality of prepped and prepared meals. The stated goal is to compete with restaurant quality food products. Central Market, Whole foods and Wegmans are doing an outstanding job and obtaining customers reviews at times higher than many restaurant chains. Albertsons and Safeway are vastly improving in quality and pushing price points that draw customers back for more.
The deep discounts that chain restaurants have been offering to lure cash-strapped customers out of their kitchens may coming back to bite them. There focus has gone from “quality” food to food price focused. Restaurant chains ranging from Denny's to Applebee's this year have been giving away food in special promotions or special offering deals to boost customer frequency. While Yum Brands Inc., who’s Taco Bell and Pizza Hut brands have been emphasizing low-priced seems to be the only focus.
Grocerant ready to eat ready to heat food must first be GOOD, Second better than one can make at home and third be portable in consumer friendly packaging. Foodservice Solutions offers a Grocerant program assessment. Interested in a Grocerant program assessment, leave a comment or contact me directly.
George Bernard Shaw said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” There is no greater gift that customers that love your food, brand and service. What are your customers putting in there shopping basket and how is your food stacking up?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fresh & Easy it is not: but looks at the casualties in the Marketplace where Fresh & Easy is! While legacy regional chain Grocery Stores companies struggle, one example is Phoenix based Bashas Fresh & Easy with its prepared prepped component foods is making friend with consumers. Some regional chain players are excelling at Grocerant style foods that are prepped and focus on local / seasonal flavor profiles. Foods to make and serve at home received very favorable rating over all multicultural categories this is truly where the opportunity is coming from. Consumers palates are a custom to more that one flavor profile. Restaurant Brand managers are concerned more about the “Brand” than the consumer one might think. Maintaining a very narrow focus and losing consumer frequency and dollars.
While the vast majority of Convenience stores in America are franchised owned that is the largest reason many C-stores are slow to enter the Grocerant sector. Franchisee in many cases utilizes family for a work force and think low labor equates to greater profits. It is not untrue. However the chains that are privately owned focused on the consumer are garnering large share of new customer base from there Grocerant style ready to eat and ready to heat meals. The opportunity is tremendous however breaking the labor metric mentality is an entirely different issue. The focus needs to be on the unmet consumer need set, then volume and profits will follow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The price, value, service equilibrium is resetting in Grocery stores, Restaurants and C- stores. Each is reconfiguring their ready to eat ready to heat Grocerant™ niche food product lineup. Looking for new product, packaging and consumer price points that will drive traffic. All have noticed a discontinuity in consumer food shopping behavior and all are fighting for share of stomach. Contributing to this displacement is a focus by restaurant chain leaders on short term market metrics particularly price and away from the consumer. Which in turn has caused a loss is consumer traffic as important as price might be other attributes are much more important. The consumer is turning to the grocery store hot food section (ready to eat). The problem is the grocery stores were not ready for it. The have dropped the ball, food quality is reflective of a bygone era of fried food or heat lamp food warm with few qualitative attributes. Groceries do not understand foodservice customer service in the hot food ready to eat niche! There are of course exceptions like Wegmans, Central Market, A&P and Metropolitan Market. Consumers will not stay long if things don’t improve rapidly. The battle for the consumer dollar continues in the Grocerant ready to eat ready to heat niche is on.
Or Grocerant The Next Big Wave can be found at:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Convenience Stores, Grocery Stores, Supermarkets can benefit greatly by branding and building their private label ready to eat ready to heat Grocerant™ style food. Recent comments to Convenience Stores News global research specialist The Nielsen Company CEO David Calhoun when asked about the growth of private label or store brands, “Calhoun observed that retailer brands will continue to gain at the expense of secondary and smaller brands. "U.S. retailers are still in catch up mode toward world class brand strength," said Calhoun, who added retailers’ move into store brands is "not a zero-sum game. It’s a partnership to fulfill consumer needs."
The opportunity in private label ready to eat Grocerant™ has never been better. Most organizations now have category managers and brand or product private label brand managers. Resetting of the price value quality equilibrium will benefit those whose brand established brand identity with validity. That is just what brand managers do. Grocerants the next big wave article can be found with the following link.
or additional article at:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Does one go from Deli to Grocerant or Grocery Store to Grocerant? When the consumer cooks at home more often than not it is a component bundled meal. Delis have been packaging up ready to eat and ready to heat meals around the country many for over 50 years. Grocery stores on the other hand focused on raw ingredients, struggling with cost of distribution, and fluctuating commodity cost. The consumer does not pay specific attention to either of those cost. What the consumer pays attention to is the end price. The value that the consumer is willing to pay is higher on a prepared meal than raw ingredient. Recent studies show that the margins are substantially higher on prepped and prepared food. No matter what business your in today, you will be getting into the grocerant business soon enough. The metrics of how it works is difficult for long established companies to overcome. Department “rice blowing” will have to end the big picture will be on the end result a happy customer not which department managers wins.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Supermarket, Restaurant, Grocery stores and Convenience stores have witnessed the rapid rise in organic foods. Grocerant style ready to eat and ready to heat food is no exception. The “organic” niche continues to widen its points of distribution and can now be found on nearly every isle at Wal-Mart. Research firm Mintel and SPINS state that sales of organic food increased 51% between 2002 and 2004 from $3.5 billion to $5.3 billion. Today the organic/sustainable push is coming in the way of Restaurant food within chain restaurants several are leading the way. Just one example is Burgerville USA located in Vancouver Washington with most units in the Portland, Oregon area is leading the way in local, fresh and authentic menu items. In the Grocery and C-store sector we are seeing more and more local, “sustainable” or organic products all the time. Organic, sustainable or local; grocery stores and C-stores will all benefit from this fresh trend and are now incorporating them into there menu mix. Incorporating the halo of sustainability into your Grocerant program is something that we look at in during our Grocerant assessment program review. For more on Grocerants read this article in food-and-beverage by Steven A. Johnson at:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Grocerant food from Supermarkets, Convenience Stores and Restaurants comes ready to eat or ready to heat. However Kids meals are not positioned or presented as predominately in any of those locations. That by no means that grocerant style food is not available or convenient for children. While the avenues of distribution of food continue to evolve and develop, kids meals are as well. No only are grocerant kids meals growing in popularity they can be found on line at:
MightyMunch kids meals look fun, they sound tasty, MightyMunch says that they are kid-tested and good. What I saw on the site and like was “Each kids meal is balanced to limit overall fat, saturated fat and sugar content, and contains protein, grains & fruit as well as a sweet treat and a fun surprise. Natural ingredients are at the core of MightyMunch kids meals – our food contains no trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial flavors or artificial colors. MightyMunch kids meals also have no peanut or tree nut ingredients. Every food product includes full allergen and manufacturing warnings about cross-containimation. Each food item is individually packaged and needs no refrigeration or heating – that means you can eat MightyMunch kids meals anytime, anywhere!” The fact that each packet needs nor refrigeration or heating is appealing to time starved parents. The opportunity of Grocerant style food for all segments is growing and so are the avenues of distribution. Success leaves clues and Foodservice Solutions can assist you in building a successful grocerant program starting with a ready to eat ready to heat niche program opportunity assessment.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Industry giant NPD who is now a food research leader in 9 developed countries released a report by Ann Hanson called A look into The Future of Eating on Tuesday July 7, 2009. In the press release most interesting was the note that Restaurant meals eaten in-home would rise 20 during the next ten years. This report appears to reaffirm ilk reports from The Hartman Group, and Technomic that “better for you” food and how people are eating is changing. Restaurateurs may face the largest challenges for restaurant quality style, packaging and a large variety of prepared food components that are portable are surfacing in Supermarkets, Grocery Stores and Convenience Stores. I call this trend that is obviously garnering much attention the Grocerant niche.
Restaurant quality food, prepped and portable is empowering the consumer’s choice on what and where to eat. No longer do consumers have to drive out of there way to a “destination” restaurant they can stop on the way home and pick up a variety of qualitative food components ready to eat. In the Grocerant sector the competition is heating up in Take-out & Take-Away. Bundled meal components are changing and evolving by region and family size. If you would like a strategic grocerant niche opportunity assessment leave a comment or contact Steven A. Johnson Foodservice Solutions in Tacoma, WA.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

When 4 PM rolls around most Americans start wondering what am I going to have for dinner and very, very few will even entertain the idea of cooking from scratch. Most people don’t have a clue what they want let alone what is for dinner. At least that is what research has shown over the past several years. At 4 PM it’s time to turn up the competition between Supermarkets, Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores and Restaurants. The Grocerant sector, that is to say ready to eat or ready to heat foods is booming. Restaurants tout rapidly growing takeout or Take Away foods. Grocery Stores and Supermarkets are pushing the high margin prepared portable food section all the while Convenience Stores are bundling and pricing ready to eat or ready to heat food extremely competitively. Here at Foodservice Solutions we specialize in understanding successful bundling of the ready to eat ready to heat food niche. It is the profitable and growing in ever sector these are the good times. Bundled meal components are changing and evolving by region and family size. If you would like a strategic grocerant program assessment leave a comment and someone will contact you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Looking for good examples of a vertically integrated ready to eat or ready to heat quality portable grocerant style food is not limited to traditional Restaurants, Grocery stores or Convenience Stores. Uwajimaya is a west cost leading niche Supermarket chain that is growing and perfectly integrates ready to eat and ready to heat Grocerant style food into their weekly, monthly marketing advertising programs. Uniquely position they integrated a multi-ethnic ready to eat advertising with all other department products into their Flyers, radio and in store messaging. The ability for them to focus on items the likes of “Draper Valley” Fryer Wings to “Niko Niko” Humbow and Mongolian Beef Sandwich is outstanding. Understanding product integration and channel blurring Uwajimaya successfully mixes traditional and niche specific products in an inclusive style that is consumer friendly while being inviting and intriguing. They understand that differentiation means familiar not different in food products. Successful integrating ready to eat within the stores drives frequency garnering a halo of fresh authentic quality. Which in turn garners top line value and bottom line profits.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Price wars are nothing new. McDonalds vs. Dunkin Brands is but one example. Both of them have positioned their price points directly at Starbucks and from all accounts it working. Dunkin Brands are growing strongly and customer frequency is holding solid or growing, While Starbucks continues to close stores and report a drop in frequency. We have been hearing of strong European competition in the Grocery and Convenience store sector currently British Supermarkets have sparked a new price war with Britain's pound shops as reported in the London Mirror. Here is what they are saying” High street giants including Tesco and Asda are launching a series of cut-price promotions for under £1. The aim is to win back customers from the growing number of discount chains such as Poundland and 99p Stores. But Poundland has hit back with a new range of £1 sandwiches. Asda, which has more than 7,000 lines at £1, said: "It makes shopping on a budget easier for customers." I feel it portends things to come here as well.
The price, value, service equilibrium is being reset. Morton’s closed 3 units on July 1st and continues promoting bundled value meals. In New York City at the high end we are witnessing the same occurrence. When will it end? Only when the consumer is on the upswing. I predict that we will see increasing competition in the US between Grocerants, Convenience Stores, and Dollar Stores, Supermarkets all focusing in on US chain Restaurants. Yes the competition is heating up and the grocerant sector is on the move and price value of bundled product offerings is the reason.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I found this posted on Burbed July 3rd it is their 4th of July 3 city cost of Groceries, since I received many comments via Email to the last price listing here we go again: This is "Burbed's latest installment of "Groceries cost more in the Bay Area." As usual, I have compared 3 cities where Safeway is available: Cupertino, Seattle (possibly our new enemy), and Washington D.C." Since I live in the Seattle area and completed my college in SF and then owned my first restaurant in Santa Clara I enjoy looking at these numbers and am sure you will as well.




Washington DC

More than Seattle

More than DC

Coke (12 pk)

$ 6.29

$ 6.29

$ 5.99



Beef Back Ribs

$ 5.98

$ 3.58

$ 2.98



Pork Loin Bank Ribs

$ 17.99

$ 18.99

$ 17.99



A1 Sauce

$ 8.23

$ 5.56

$ 5.99




$ 0.89

$ 0.89

$ 0.79



Ground Pepper

$ 2.99

$ 2.69

$ 1.99



Red Potato

$ 0.37

$ 0.37

$ 0.32



Can of Corn

$ 1.49

$ 1.15

$ 1.15



Gravy Mix

$ 1.45

$ 1.39

$ 1.09



Chicken Breast

$ 8.99

$ 8.99

$ 8.99



Match Light Charcoal

$ 5.59

$ 4.49

$ 3.99



Lettuce Blend

$ 3.79

$ 3.49

$ 3.49



Madeleine Cookies

$ 4.29

$ 3.99

$ 3.99



Organic Corn Chips

$ 2.99

$ 2.99

$ 3.49



Sheet Cake

$ 21.99

$ 17.99

$ 20.99



Dinner Roll

$ 0.59

$ 0.59

$ 0.59



Red Roma Tomato

$ 0.54

$ 0.40

$ 0.54



Dill Pickles

$ 4.19

$ 3.29

$ 3.79




$ 2.99

$ 2.39

$ 2.59




$ 1.99

$ 1.75

$ 1.89



Red Onion

$ 0.97

$ 0.74

$ 0.97



Beef Franks

$ 5.29

$ 4.99

$ 4.49



Paper Plates

$ 3.29

$ 2.49

$ 2.49




$ 0.99

$ 0.99

$ 0.99





$ 114.16

$ 100.48

$ 101.57




Friday, July 3, 2009

Here are just some examples of where Grocerant style meals can be found around the country that are delivered right to your door. Supermarkets, Restaurants and grocery stores are all getting in on this growing trend of convenience with such variety available why cook? Cracker Barrel into your kitchen with home cooked meals to go! Gourmet Meals to Go Dine Wise makes it possible to enjoy gourmet food to go without ever leaving your house. Furr's offers the taste of home - this is food you grew up eating and the kind of food you'd make everyday if you could. A&P here is adding to its prepared foods menu, with grab-and-go whole meals and a takeout chicken restaurant. Personal Chef to Go provides prepared gourmet meals delivered to your home or hotel. ... Enjoy fine dining restaurant quality meals at half the cost! Bruegger's Launches "Meals to Go" Nationwide : New carry-out catering service is a first for Bruegger s. Enjoy take out meals to Go by Mrs. Mack's Bakery & Restaurant, Worcester, MA American Grill Restaurant at L'Enfant Plaza has Thanksgiving to Go Meals for the Holiday. For those families wishing to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at home, without the hassle. Snuffy's Family Restaurant guarantees one thing: a down-home ... of his new passion for making good, home-cooked meals ... You can even take a meal to go. Visit WPEC for restaurant reviews, directions and special offers for Colombo's Market & Meals To Go in Lighthouse Point, FL. Organic To Go is the nation s first fast casual cafe chain to be certified as an organic retailer in Seattle. You can see that from coast to coast you can find any type of food you like. Grocerant ready to eat or ready to heat is ready for you!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Top of the day to you! We all have heard about Pop up stores they are used to create product buzz and media hype! Recently McDonalds utilized one that just sold the Big Mac: if product buzz is what you want a Pop Up store will do the trick. However it is time we utilized them to introduce new products or customer favorites in a new market. The above picture is of a Foldout restaurant that has solar power and will travel. Why grocery stores don’t place one of these in a coroner of the parking lot to focus on a daypart or new product I am not sure. I do think if they placed it at a construction site 3 blocks away and featured customers favorites it would build the brand value and garner new customers. Restaurants creating new industry buzz for a new product or best selling product in a new market or existing one it would do the same thing. Think out side of you four wall-go to the customers with food; we all know sampling is the best way to sell food. The customer will come back to you time and time again if they like the product!
The Müvbox, pictured above is a standard shipping container that's 8ft deep and 20ft long. The wonder moment comes when it is miraculously turned from a container into a 'chic fast food' restaurant in 90 seconds at the touch of a button. Müvbox features a fully functional kitchen with enough space for four members of staff and a wood-fired pizza oven. The walls of the container collapse to create a covered patio with enough room to serve 28 people, half of whom can be seated at small bistro tables. The concept has some laudable eco features, too: the structure is a reused container and little construction is needed to install it. Müvbox's floor is made from recycled tires and its roof contains solar panels to provide up to 40% of required energy. And it's easily shipped by land or sea. Müvbox wasn't developed as a one-off restaurant: it's a business concept that can be used the world over.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Top of the day to you!
BYOB bring your own bag the next time you go to a Grocerant. World wide this recycling ideation is picking up steam in 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags. Here on the West Coast San Francisco, Seattle Los Angeles, and Portland have or may impose a tax soon. In Canada a fee on bags is in place and the proceeds from the charge on plastic shopping bags will be used to support WWF Canada’s conservation efforts. Most notable is the fact that since the fee began this year a reduction in excess of 66% has been see at Superstores parent Loblaw. In Ireland after an advertising awareness campaign this began to happen; the result noted a 94 percent drop in use of plastic bags. They have been replaced by reusable cloth bags. If your in the Restaurant business, Grocery, Convenience Store or Dollar Stores ready to eat or ready to heat grocerant sector recycled cloth bags might just be something to look at. Globally the consumer is obviously very receptive, don’t fight a strong trend, and remember the trend is your FRIEND!