Thursday, December 31, 2009

Don’t count restaurants out in the battle for the consumer this is a GOOD drive-Thru!

If consumers want “better for you” food, fast service and moderate pricing with ease and convenience Taco Bell may just be the place. Fighting misperception of food quality and many times labeled as food bad for you. Taco Bell just might have the answer for families looking for a “better for you” food from a quick service restaurant. This is grocerant style portable food that is getting better. With approximately 70% of their business via the drive thru you just might call these options good to go!

The Drive-Thru diet as it has been tab has a menu with 7 products with nine or less grams of fat and here is a look:.

• Fresco Crunchy Taco – 7 grams of fat – 150 calories

• Fresco BURRITO SUPREME® – Chicken – 8 grams of fat – 340 calories

• Fresco BURRITO SUPREME® – Steak – 8 grams of fat – 330 calories

• Fresco Bean Burrito – 8 grams of fat – 340 calories

• Fresco Soft Taco – 7 grams of fat – 180 calories

• Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco – 4.5 grams of fat – 160 calories

• Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco – 4 grams of fat – 170 calories

The consumer will be seeing many new grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat menu items in 2010 that are “better for you”. This will occur in the prepared food sections of Grocery stores, Convenience Stores and other sectors of the Restaurant industry as well. I predict that all sectors will begin posting consumer relevant nutritional information.

Don’t however think that US consumers are giving up on there favorite fast food chains, Chick-fil and Five Guys Burger and Fries any time soon but you just might be seeing them introduce new items as well.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche to read more view the next post or ready an interview of Steven Johnson at:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What’s for dinner and where will your customers get it?

Restaurants, Grocery stores and Convenience stores have all been scurrying during this period of high unemployment for new or customers to replace those who have left or reduced check/basket size. Grocerant prepared ready-to-eat and ready to heat food is one niche that continues to grown.

What is most interesting is consumer are finding meals and prepared meal portable components now almost everywhere they look including dollar stores. In the December issue of Bon Appetit magazine here is there list of additional outlets:

• Surfas, in Culver City, Calif., a restaurant supply store with an adjacent cafe.

• Oxbow Public Market, in Napa, Calif., which has five restaurants, plus a micro-winery, culinary bookstore, and specialty tea store.

• Il Cane Rosso, an eatery in San Francisco's Ferry Building Marketplace in the Embarcadero, where you'll also find retailers like Sur La Table and Culinaire antiques.

• B&G Oysters and The Butcher Shop, eateries that are among four foodie places in Boston, all at the intersection of Waltham and Tremont streets. The others are Stir, which offers cookbooks and a demonstration kitchen, and Plum Produce, a shop for specialty foods.

• Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis, which offers more than 40 locally owned shops under one roof, including Taqueria Los Ocampo.

• Despana, in New York City, a boutique in Soho specializing in the foods of Spain. But there's also a hidden lunch counter serving tapas, sandwiches and small-plate appetizers.

• Bolsa in Dallas, which hosts a farmer's market and a cafe with wine and local products like chocolate, cookies and coffee.

Foodservice Solutions is the global leader in understanding Grocerant portable meal components, what drives the success of the niche and how you can win. Do you know where your customers are shopping for their next meal?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat grocerant food drives consumer loyalty and brand buzz.

Foodservice consumers are increasingly watching how much they spend on food. Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat portable components save the consumer time, reduce waste while enhancing the meal experience.

Bundling flavors, entrée’s and side dishes in single or two person portions enables the consumer to build a meal of their choice. Choice is extremely important in families because, collectively, it contributes to consumer satisfaction and customer repeat visit patterns that move a company above that “tipping point of profitability”.

Simply put successful companies drive business by creating an environment of customer retention that keeps customers a better than do their competitors. Grocerant prepared meals that are portable and portioned properly contribute to that end. Marketing dollars, then, don’t just replace customer attrition they build brand buzz while increasing consumer frequency building top line sales and bottom line profits.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche to read more view the next post or ready an interview of Steven Johnson at:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Do consumers consider your company contemporary in look and feel?

Visceral attractive, sometimes even “cool” looking is how consumers described many a restaurant. Independent restaurants are unique to there own location or part of the country. Decor, design and style are played a part in driving consumers to restaurants in all niches from the 1960’s to the 2005 or the golden era of chain restaurants.

Restaurants continue to report declining same-store sales. In fact for the 17th-consecutive month October, 2009 the National Restaurant Association states 61% saw sales decline in October at stores open at least one year. Sure some of this can be contributed to continued high unemployment but not all.

However, just for a minute consider how visceral attractive grocery stores are becoming with ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared better for you food. Flat panel TV style monitors at alternating end of isles with bright graphic’s depicting simple quality food fast. Grocer’s are experiencing resurgence in sales and improved staffing and service has followed with the new consumers. Ha maybe the chart above could mean that consumer are finding more options, less hassle and clean environments that are as friendly as restaurants once were.

Faced with lower sales volume restaurants are experiencing staffing tightness and pressure on operations staffs that is after 17 months putting a strain on the staff. Those of us who have spent years in operations know sales cure many a problem. Now is not the time for restaurants to squeeze much more or the service, quality equilibrium may just swing so far that it become to steep a hill to over come.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. We specialize in Grocerant program strategy development and rollout with consumer relevant contemporized components. Product positioning and brand re-positioning all within the Grocerant niche is something we have been getting calls for of late. Grocerant emersion tours are a top requested item.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche.

Restaurants, Grocery stores and the Convenience store sectors are all competing for share of stomach and the consumers are attracted to the options presented within the Grocerant niche. Is your company keeping up to date? Are you gaining share of stomach? Food Manufactures, packaging companies and software companies are repositioning to take advantage of the changing consumer. Foodservice Solutions leverages our relationships with Restaurants, Grocery stores and Convenience stores for you.

Differentiation in marketing builds strong brands. Understanding differentiation in market positioning and retail leads to industry leadership. During the past 15 years we have developed over 5.5 billion Dollars in avenues of new business revenue for clients and companies. We can help lead the industry, building top line revenue and bottom line profits.

Success leaves clues; consumers provide insights into preferred differentiation. Proven ability to succeed within the industry building top line revenue and bottom line profits will contribute to your success. Looking for results oriented professionals; strengths are in sales, strategic positioning, cross functional leadership, brand – niche development. We are traditionalist, who can work from within assisting you to capture additional market-share utilizing outside the box viewpoints. With the largest companies in the restaurant, grocery or convenience sector industry.

Transformational times require focus and experience with a qualitative edge. We both the focus and the edge. My outstanding balance of IQ & EQ which combined with vast and broad industry knowledge will contribute greatly to you and your organizations success.

Contact Foodservice Solutions at: 253-759-7869 or leave a comment below.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

In Food consumerism renaissance for 2010 is the calling card.

Foodservice Solutions based in Tacoma, WA understands that success leaves clues today we take five clues from Oxford Communications who work with grocerant retail foodservice leaders Wegmans and Quick Chek, "For 2010, marketers will use optimism and engagement as core messaging platforms to facilitate the return to consumerism."

Here are Oxford's five "Marketing Resolutions for a Brave New Year" are:

Work the crowd: Go beyond basic status updates and 'tweets,' and start embracing the power of online consumer conversations. Social media needs to work in perfect harmony with more traditional marketing; engaging consumers in dialogue; offering personalized guidance and assistance; and presenting exclusive sales, promotions, contests and games. Social-on-the-go will continue to grow in popularity as Smart phone usage soars, so brands must ensure they travel with consumers through mobile sites.

Be bold, take risks: When competing for consumer attention, only brand messages that are energized, confident and risky will cut through the noise, according to the agency. As the economy recovers, Oxford expects to see the return of big, bold campaigns, blended with messages that appear in unexpected places. Businesses should tap all of the senses to convey the taste, texture, smell, look and feel of the brand to consumers.

Harness the power of the screen: With ever-progressive innovations in online and Smart phone technology, digital distribution channels are the new frontier of marketing. Digital marketing delivers cost-effective, personalized brand messages to consumers with instantly traceable results and thanks to increasingly sophisticated behavioral targeting, is an effective way to reach the audience.

Be an open book: Brand trust will be a prerequisite to brand loyalty in 2010 as consumers question, research and compare before committing. Feed the appetite for facts and foster belief in your brand by giving shoppers details about product origin, brand stories, recommendations, craftsmanship briefs and company background. Consumers want to come to you with questions and know you'll give them a straight answer.

Cater to a conditioned consumer: A more confident consumer will be seen in 2010, but one that will continue to look for quality and value. Always ask, "How is my offer going to bring value to my audience?" If you can't clearly recognize your value proposition, you're most likely headed in a direction that isn't going to move your audience.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

"Christmas is forever, not for just one day,

for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away

like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.

The good you do for others is good you do yourself...

~Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guess who is selling bread on Christmas day.

Christmas is the busiest day of the year for 7-Eleven. Surprisingly they sell a lot of food on Christmas day and if you ever wondered here is a look of items that the company released information on.

Coffee: When it's cold, coffee sales are hot. December is the top-selling coffee month, typically 40 percent higher than the sultry summer months, the retailer noted.

Chicken wings: The holiday season is party season, and 1,500 7-Eleven stores will be ready with a selection of hot foods. Buffalo wings, all-white-meat chicken wings and whole pizzas are cooked hot while customers wait -- in 90 seconds or less and next year even more unit will be selling new food items.

Big Bites: Surprisingly, Christmas Day is one of the busiest days for Big Bite hot dog sales for the convenience retailer. One of the only places open Christmas Day where one can grab a quick meal, 7-Eleven offers not only its popular Big Bite dogs, but also spicy Go-Go Taquitos, fresh-made sandwiches and nachos.

Of course there are the forget me not’s : Whipping cream, sour cream and butter sales almost double the week before Christmas. In fact, Christmas week is the biggest week of the year for dairy sales, 25 percent higher than the year's biggest food holiday -- Thanksgiving.

Snacks: Snack foods such as chips, dips, canned nuts, cookies and crackers fly off the shelves during the holiday party and football season. Tortilla chips increase 20 percent during December and January. Likewise, nuts and crackers show sales increases between 25 and 30 percent. 7-Eleven has added a host of private-label snacks, including kettle-style potato chips, popcorn and nuts, which have shown significant month-to-month sales increases since being introduced a year ago, according to the retailer.

Bread: Sales of dinner rolls rise four times the week before Christmas and a remarkable 14 times on Christmas Day. Sliced bread sales more than double on Christmas Day what a day for making bread!

Based in Dallas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses roughly 7,900 7-Eleven stores in North America, and globally, more than 36,900 stores in 15 countries.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Food Fight: Retail Foodservice vs Restaurants who is going to win?

Mike Hughlett of the Chicago Tribune thinks “economic ugliness caught up with fast food. Customer traffic steadily declined through the year, and by the fourth quarter even McDonald's, which had held up best against the deluge, was experiencing a sales decline in U.S. outlets open at least 13 months.”

That is one point that I agree with him but there is an undercurrent of consumer empowerment some food retailers have grab a hold of and for them it paying big rewards. Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant analyst at market researcher NPD Group supports Mike’s conclusions but she may be a bit narrow in her approach to the situation only looking at the restaurant sector.

Other’s like Mac Brand of the Bellwether Food Group thinks "We believe there is a fundamental shift in the way consumers use restaurants. Consumers have realized they don't need to spend as much to enjoy themselves, and they don't need to go out as much."

Here at Foodservice Solutions we believe both views are narrow and miss the big picture. Consumers spending habits changed two years prior the start of the “economic ugliness” that began in 2007. In fact in 2005 the percent of income spent on food increased in the retail foodservice sector for the first time in 25 years and has continued. The customer moved first and since 2005 the percent of income spent on food in the restaurant sector had declined.

Safeway’s “lifestyle” stores selling ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared grocerant food are showing positive sales increase and Broad Street Licensing Group (BSLG) reports that innovative, interactive, Convenience store Wawa is seeing significant gains in the range of 7 %. Focusing on grocerant prepared foods that are better for you and offered with service, freshness and utilizing quality packaging they are garnering share from both Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds.

In addition BSLG states the top three priorities of the C-store shopper today are 1.) Friendly employees, 2.) fresh food, and 3) a variety of services. Offering bundled meal options with portability is a key to successful retailing.

The restaurant industry is not the only retail sector sell ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food. Consumer are attracted to fresh, bundled food options for the entire family. They are not shopping in one exclusive channel. Supermarkets and Convenience stores have spent years conducting research on the consumer and the restaurant industry and it looks to me as if it is starting to pay dividends.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below. For more read this article:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ground Branding in retail foodservice is about retaking marketshare.

Ground Branding is not back to the basic’s it’s a step into the future of marketing, positioning and essential for legacy brands continued consumer relevance. Ground Branding means repositioning a product, or a company focusing on the core foundation of the legacy product or companies value with a dramatic shift in contemporized customer relevance.

Grocery stores, Restaurants and Convenience stores are all scurrying to reposition their menu mix of better for you prepared food to garner an increase in share of stomach. Competitive may not be a strong enough word for the battle between sectors and companies for the consumer. The Grocerant niche is where all the action is consisting of better for you prepared portable ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food.

McDonalds, Wegmans, Starbucks, Sheetz, Boston Market and Wawa have done great things in the foodservice area but the equilibrium between financial success and breakthrough top of mind recognition might be amiss. In Seth Godin's new book Purple Cow where the entrepreneur wants to recapture some of the magic that the brand at one time had. Godin suggests that the key to success is finding a way to stand out and be remarkable, like a purple cow in a field of regular cows.

In January McDonalds will exhibit ground branding focused on it brands core and consumer relevant issues. This is going to turn the industries eyes at their Purple Cow the $1.00 breakfast and free internet service. This is going to be industry leading; capture additional marketshare and most important share of stomach.

Equally as bold is Domino's change to its core product its pizza and crust! This is the best example of ground branding, bigger than bold, this is a huge event, try it out yourself on December 28th you will see. This will work and change how legacy companies operate in the future. The new crust will be a garlic-seasoned recipe with parsley, and the sauce will be sweeter and bolder with a medley of herbs and a red-pepper kick." The cheese is made with 100% mozzarella, flavored with just a hint of provolone”. Not only are these moves bold, they are targeted directly at the consumer, grounded in consumer relevance. Congratulations Domino’s; marketer’s around the world will be watching in envy, wondering why they have been held back.

Both of these are examples of ground branding and solid Purple Cows. Will Domino's be another Coke? I do not think so. Domino’s has done a better job understanding their consumer and the niche that they operate in than Coke did. Domino’s is in a much different place; a key fact is they do not operate in a duopoly. Thus this I predict this will be a game changer and more importantly a marketshare gainer within the Pizza sector.

Safeway’s “lifestyle” are another example for ground branding a turn away form the middle of the store and focus on consumer relevant fresh, prepared food. These “lifestyle” units have proven a focus on the grocerant niche prepared food sector provides a halo for even the burdened center of the store. This is about winning the heart and minds of the consumer.

The challenged for each company is the ability to see and understand the customers focus at it’s core, not your brands core. Success does leave clues and companies leading the charge in 2010 will be leaders within there niche for years to come. Those that do not will be reading headlines that C-level change is coming or came. Without bold new leaders those brands may simply become non relevant. In the event that they are more about their brand than the consumer they will simply fall to the way side.

Does your team have the ability to ask outliner questions of researchers in order to identify outliner results for your product or brand? Have you identified a new avenue of distribution or a new product that can be your Purple Cow? Many companies are in turmoil due to the economic quagmire, very few companies will do something bold, new and fresh if they do they will garner marketshare for years to come. I 'can't run fast, leap tall buildings but I sure can think outside the box with a consumer focus. Do you need an outsiders eye’s with inside knowledge, capable of assisting you to break out of the quagmire and into a new leadership role within your niche. Now is when the next generations of industry leaders are being formed. We all know the status quo is not. Success does leave clues and looking forward is just one of them.

Foodservice Solutions has been based in Tacoma, WA since 1991 and is the Global leader in understanding the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below. I can be reached at 253-759-7869. Who’s fighting for your customers and winning?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Prepared food sales drive’s consolidation and competition in the Convenience store sector!

In the Seattle, WA metropolitan area 7 Eleven is going store by store hunting for existing operators to convert their existing convenience stores too a 7 Eleven. Including strong incentives for a rebranding program to include prepared fresh ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat quality foods, grocerant style. In the San Francisco bay area 7 Eleven will spend over $30 million opening 50 Northern California stores in the next two years. Plans will add about 20 new locations in 2010 and 30 in 2011. Half of the stores will be new; the other half will be existing mom-and-pop operations that opt to become 7-Eleven franchisees. Each new store costs about $1 million to build, and the conversions require an average investment of $255,000 by 7-Eleven

In New England 58 unit White Hen Panty is selling all of it’s stores to 7 Eleven. With it’s global food testing program well under way, the competition in the convenience sector is heating up. This is now about location and marketshare. What other regional players around the country may be next?

Regional players like New England based Tedeschi who have been in the area and stress local and family will have to step up their grocerant prepared food game. Currently they serve Green Mountain Coffee.and have a selection of fresh pasty and muffins for the morning daypart. The mid-day they have fresh subs or salads, however we have seen a much larger selection of food product in test at 7 Eleven and it will be interesting to watch what items and price that they roll with early in 2010.

Contact me for more at: or leave a comment below. For more read this article:

Friday, December 18, 2009

2010 Who will make food shoppers happy?

Studied to death yet still stuck in the middle Grocery stores continue to try to please the consumer. Benefiting for a weak economy sales are up at most grocery retailers. What is most notable however is that the grocery stores with a focus on “lifestyle” or prepared and fresh food are doing better than traditional units. What is also interesting is sales of the ‘lifestyle items are down” and sales of prepared food are off according to a recent study by Technomic, yet the repositioned units are performing well. In a recent study of consumers conducted by The Nielsen Co. found half (53 percent) indicated they "really enjoy" or "like" the activity (grocery shopping). After years of in-depth study the grocery industry is slow to change and consumer’s problems with the grocery sector remain largely that same as 15 years ago.

Suffering during the economic down turn is the restaurant industry which is capitulating share of stomach to the grocery industry unwillingly. 2010 just may be the swing back for the restaurant industry. In recent phone conversation I have heard of new and exciting Limited Time Offers (LTO’s) and services from several CMO’s of restaurant chains. Speed and service are a meal time advantage for most restaurateurs. McDonalds January rollout of five $ 1.00 breakfast items places price and convenience on top of that list as well. 2010 will be a competitive food year.

Convenience stores are ramping up the competition as well entering the grocerant prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food mix with alarming speed. The largest player is 7 Eleven and they have never been afraid to utilize price as a competitive advantage. Utilizing the global strength of their 38,000 stores purchasing power goes a long way.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Food Channel® presents its Top Ten Food Trends for 2010. The list is based on research conducted by The Food Channel in conjunction with CultureWaves® and the International Food Futurists®. Here’s what to look for in the new year:

Keeping it Real

In a back-to-basics economy perhaps it is natural to return to basic ingredients. This isn’t about retro, or comfort food, or even cost. It’s about determining the essentials and stocking your pantry accordingly. It is about pure, simple, clean and sustainable. It is—dare we say—a shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking, now that we have more time than money and more food knowledge and concerns.

It is a natural shift, when you think about it. The trend is toward concentrating on quality, basic ingredients and building a menu from there. That’s where the value is going to be in 2010. It’s partially based on how chefs eat at home—something we all know more about thanks to the increase in sharing from celebrity chefs, cooking shows and foodie blogs (a trend we predicted in 2009). It’s economy driven to a point, but think about it—we aren’t all digging out the Spam®. Instead, we’re exploring the extendability of known ingredients to prepare ourselves for the long haul of economic recovery.

Basic ingredients are trending high because people are still eating more at home, and they need a foundation for nightly meals. Expect to see more education that focuses on what you need in your refrigerator and pantry. Expect online shopping to focus less on luxury items and more on basics. People will be willing to spend more of their money on basics and will find that, in the long run, they end up spending less because they have less waste, higher quality and more value.

This will include some variety and the general acceptance of “new basic,” with some items we consider essential that our grandmothers may not have used—for example, olive and other oils in different flavors and styles. So while we are keeping it real, we’ll also be redefining what the staples are in many kitchens. We’ve already made a substantial shift in how we shop, prepare food, and eat, and we don’t expect this to change even if the economy improves. We are done with excess, and ready to knuckle down for an extended period to the essentials of life and of food.

Experimentation Nation

When’s the last time you sat down to fine dining at a taco truck? If you live in L.A., chances are you’ve at least given it a try (Kimchee quesadilla, anyone?). How about selecting your own wine by the glass after sampling a few from an Enomatic system, the way you can at Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria? Or, you sit down at a restaurant like Avec in Chicago and the complete stranger sitting next to you offers a sample of his focaccia with taleggio cheese, truffle oil and fresh herbs.

Restaurant concepts are in flux as people redefine what going “out” to eat means. Gastropubs, fusion dining, shareables, and communal tables are all being tried. While this started because of the economy it will finish because consumers will indicate what works for them and what doesn’t. New concepts around “fresh” and DIY will do well—what started as omelet stations in hotels are going to be extended to more involvement and choice in freshly cooked foods. You may even see restaurants that eliminate the server in lieu of a redefined self-serve (of course, food safety is a primary motivator in whether this will work or not).

The restaurant chains are losing ground in an over-saturated market, and we expect a market correction. We’re beginning to see some creativity, like the building that is a breakfast restaurant by day, and an Italian bistro by night. Sure, it’s a bit complicated, but the idea of fully utilizing space, sharing rent and utilities, and even sharing advertising . . . you have to admit that’s pretty innovative.

Restaurants that bring excitement to family dining will show gains, particularly because the “family” we go out to eat with may, or may not, be actual family. Who you are eating with is going to be more important than what you are eating. Experimentation is the trend, so we’ll see some concepts come and go. Here’s a tip: If you want to know which restaurants are in trouble, visit their restrooms. It’s usually the first sign of neglect.

More in Store

We predict growth in grocery stores, particularly as private label assumes prominence. Those old generics have morphed into their own brands, so that there is a blurring and less of a caste system—there is no particular glory in using a “name brand” anymore (unless you are ketchup). Why would you when there is little to no difference in quality, and the price differential is significant? In fact, you may see some co-branding between private branding and the big guys.

And that’s not the only way grocery stores are growing. They have been paying attention to the trends and are doing things such as upgrading their delis and fresh take out sections, all the way to returning butchers to a place of prominence. Yes, we know that we’ve spent years eliminating the in-store butcher, but we think you’ll see more of a specialty butcher presence in locally owned grocery stores. Just as in restaurants, the stores that can help redefine the family dinner table are going to show the most gains. We’re all looking for meal solutions for dinner that take us beyond fast food to good food fast. In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that grocery stores will be stealing share from take out when they offer good quality, pre-prepped convenience. Anyone who has picked up a rotisserie chicken knows exactly what we mean.

Grocery stores may well begin catering more to the aging population, both in selection and accommodation. Aisles that allow for mobile chairs, shelves that place things at eye view—it won’t be overnight, but it will happen.

And, expect people to shop everyday without apology. Yes, we’ll still buy some things in bulk to save money, but we’ll also be willing to supplement our practicality with fresh, wholesome ingredients that we pick up on the way home. Grocery shopping, in other words, is less of a chore and more of a way to provide personalization, fresh ingredients, and create less waste in the long run.

By the way, social networking will help with this, as we learn to use Twitter and locations searches to find the best deals and the best experiences, pre-sorted for us by others who have gone before—maybe just minutes before! This is happening in restaurants, like Order Pizza, a free iPhone app that lets users order from any number of local pizzerias. Yowza gives you coupons from multiple places. Watch for this to grow across everyplace you find your food.

American, the New Ethnic℠

This is all about flavor delivery. Immigration has come to the plate, and we are now defining a new Global Flavor Curve. Part comfort, part creativity, the latest flavors are coming from the great American melting pot. So, it’s about grandma’s food, but the recipes may be written in Japanese. American food is distinctive in its lack of identity outside of the hamburger—until, that is, you mix in our heritage. This is the year we’ll do it in a big way. The presentation of food, the flavor, and the experimentation is coming into its own in 2010.

It’s really a redefinition of “ethnic” to take it beyond even traditional thinking. Flavors from Africa and Japan and Asia are joining with Mexican and Italian as top-of-mind choices—“Let’s go out for Thai” is as common in many American cities as “I’m craving Mexican.” And, the menu in that Thai restaurant may well offer a side of French fries.

It’s not just about restaurants, of course. The true American ethnic is a merging of flavors at home. We’re taking those old recipes, and we’re applying our own cooking knowledge and available spices to make them “original” all over again. We’re pairing things differently, too—a little from this country, a little from that, and we have a new flavor and texture combination that is distinctly American. It’s a great time to be a spice.

Yes, some of these recipes and this experimentation means we are spending more time in the kitchen, but we’ve decided as a country to make that part of what defines us—cooking is part of our relaxation, our sense of accomplishment, and our social engagement.

Food Vetting

You are what you eat, and we are big into understanding ourselves! That’s what’s leading this trend—our constant need for assurance that we are eating the right things, that our food is safe, that we are not ingesting pesticides or anything that will someday prove harmful. If we can provide jobs, help the economy, protect animals and ensure a sustained food supply at the same time, well, that’s all the better.

Call it food vetting, sourcing or whatever you want—the issue is that people are asking where their food comes from. We call it the “new luxury food” because it can be more expensive to include that traceability into delivery, but we want it anyway. It’s everything from looking for mercury-safe seafood to wanting to know that humane treatment was given to farm animals. It’s about no hormones in meats, and organically-grown fruits and vegetables. It’s about Fair Trade chocolate and spices.

It’s about branded meat coming into its own so that you can trust the source and make your choices based on what the animals were fed, where they were pastured and how they were slaughtered. Expect to see more like what Dean & Deluca is doing with its Brandt Beef:

With roots in quality livestock dating back to the early 1900s, this single family of American beef producers has made it their passion and decades-old tradition to raise cattle sustainably, humanely . . . naturally.

We might even begin tagging our food so we can follow it from source, to purchase, to table.

While society is more than one step removed from much of its food source these days, Food Vetting is an attempt to pull us closer and give us an element of control. We want to know where our food comes from, how it’s grown and harvested, and whether it is truly good for us or not.

Mainstreaming Sustainability

We think people have mainstreamed sustainability. Unlike a year ago, when we were somewhat afraid to use the word, now it flows trippingly off the tongue. America in particular is just now learning how to be sustainable, and Americans are holding themselves responsible. They aren’t doing this to create an illusion—there are a lot of “green echo” people out there trying to make it look like they are green. In 2010 we’ll see people and companies becoming sustainable for authentic reasons; they are doing it to make a difference. After all, that’s what comes with understanding.

If we are going local and sustainable, some things are going to change. “Nearby” and “hometown” may help clarify that “local” designation. After all, how does a town like Las Vegas, that doesn’t really grow anything, offer local vegetables?

Packaging will be another key difference here. You’ll see more bamboo and biodegradable, and “nude food” that is more transparent with less packaging. Of course, it extends to the food itself as well. Eating local will be recognized as a sustainable way to eat. Eating seasonal and fresh is sustainable. Biodegradable packaging is sustainable. Grass fed beef—something we predict you’ll see more of in 2010—is all about sustainability as well as flavor. We are assimilating sustainability and making it work for us instead of fighting it.

Food with Benefits℠

Call it what you will—nutritional, healthful, good-for-you—but this trend toward beneficial foods is growing at a pretty big rate. Expect food to either have nutrients added, or have the word “free” (gluten-free, allergy-free). Just last year we talked about “functional food,” which was really about adding ingredients to pump up the nutritional value. Before that, it was “fortified.” Next year we see this idea morphing into a grown-up version.

Sara Lee, for example, is coming out with its new “Soft & Smooth Plus made with DHA Omega-3—the nutrient that has been identified as supporting healthy brain development during the formative years. We’ve mainstreamed probiotics, like Activia with Bifidus Regularis. We’ve become used to food with calcium added, or vitamins identified, but this year we’ll see a stronger statement—we will be defining “good for you” as, “includes specific vitamins and nutrients.” And, it will be across both food at home and away from home, so look for some company or companies to get on the bandwagon and be the ones to establish a uniform code so we can understand more about what we are buying. In fact, a leader is coming out of private branding with the NuVal™ Nutritional Scoring System. It is designed to help you cut through confusing nutrition information so you can make decisions about food quickly and easily, and feel good about your choices.

This is where we change the way we feed our children, starting with a response to education funding cuts and making sure that school lunch menus are built with beneficial foods and not just “cheap” foods. Expect to see more about how to feed a family for pennies and still ensure nutrition. Before we trusted; now we know more and we are getting involved with our food to know what it’s made from, what’s been added to it, and why we should care.

I Want My Umami

The “foodie” has settled into a more universal designation of someone who loves food—not a food snob. They are just as likely to want a PB&J as they are to try the latest soft shell crab sushi. And they may put French fries on it! The point is experimentation and a willingness to try new things. They are the ones who find their adventure leaning over the cookstove rather than climbing the mountaintop—although a mix of both would be just fine.

The new foodie is driving all kinds of adventures in flavor, too. A little butterscotch on my bacon? Sure. Onion rings on top of my double-cheese hamburger? Why not. We all love the juxtaposition of lobster with macaroni and cheese; it’s the startling mix of high brow and low brow that raises eyebrows! That’s a trend in and of itself: the whole idea of formal and relaxed going together, in one event, one meal, even one dish.

You can also expect more game meat to be found in fine dining (pheasant ravioli, anyone?). Smoked food is gaining traction. And, we’re seeing the trend toward upscale bar food (sushi instead of wings) and the new “bar chef” concept. It’s as though once we realized that there could be a new taste sensation (thanks to the identification of umami, the savory taste found in meat, fish, vegetables and dairy) to join sweet, sour, salty and bitter, we opened our mind to see what else might be out there! Mood foods? New colors? Surprising flavors? Who knows?

All of these mini-trends can be rolled into a new way of thinking about food and a new willingness for adventure and experimentation. Will the next interesting invention be yours?

Will Trade for Food

We’ve called it “the rental economy” and just plain ol’ bartering. In an era when you can rent a name-brand purse for a special event, we want to know how we can apply that same concept to consumables.

We’re hearing phrases such as “bring the bounty” tossed around in the UK, and we’ve heard all the past year about Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA’s. Farmer’s Markets have become a major commodity and roadside stands are considered chic. So what do we do in a bad economy when we have more time than money and skills that we still want to put to use? We barter.

It’s not a straight trade anymore, because people have come to realize that what one person makes may not be what the other person needs. But someone out there needs it—that’s why barter-exchange companies like BizXchange are springing up to redefine banking with “trade dollars.”

We predict that we’ll all see more of the barter system come into play now that technology can assist with the connections. You see it on everything from Craig’s List to Bright Neighbor. We’ll be trading skill and time for food, and vice versa. Not necessarily one-to-one, but through new networks made possible by technology.

We’ll also see a version of barter during this holiday season, as we exchange our old idea of a retail gift for a homemade dish. That giant red bow you used to see on top of a car? Put it on a casserole dish with the recipe attached. Exchange a little food comfort with your friends—beyond cookies; think homemade soups that you’ve frozen and paired with a loaf of homemade bread. And think a box of tomatoes in exchange for babysitting. It’s a simple idea that starts simply, and that we will embrace like never before.

I, Me, Mine

It really is about you. It’s the rise of the individual. While sharing has come into its own in restaurant concepts (goodbye additional plate charge), there is a separate but equal trend toward individuality. It’s part of the reason why we are making our own cheese, smoking our own meats, and making our own specialty desserts.

Blame the cupcake, which brought attention to the individual dessert trend, but people are now casting about for the next cupcake. Even pizza delivery got into the game with Domino’s individual lava cakes. Expect more attention to the individual, but it’s not just about portion size—it’s also about food that reflects personality. Expect places like Flat Top Grill, where you pull all your own ingredients for any meal of the day (what will you put in your pancake?) to thrive because they cater to you.

With the decline of the economy, it’s more important than ever that you have a voice. We are not letting go of our own M.O. In the Great Depression, people lost their individuality and became “the masses.” In this Great Recession, we are fighting to maintain our identity. So, we pull out the camera phone before we pull out the forks, snapping away at the food we have either prepared or special ordered to capture the creation.

Think about it—do the casual dining establishments have much personality, or do they all run together? The reality is most of them have a limited repertoire when it comes to seasoning, because that’s the only way they can control things with untrained cooks in the back-of-the-house. The trend, though, is toward infusing food and establishments with personality, and it’s why some of them have claimed celebrity chefs and more interesting menus to go along with it. Expect the flavor to begin to accommodate the rise in personal preference and expectations.

This special blog is a reprint of an Email I received from my friend Harry Roberts who knows I understand the food industry. It’s with his permission that I am sharing it with you.  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below.

Food Jobs abound for Foodservice Brand Managers

Unbounded opportunity for food marketing brand managers is developing in the Grocerant niche (prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat better for you food). The unheralded stellar performance produced by national private label product brand managers established metrics for future success. In the recent issue of Consumer Reports (October 2009) in a head-to-head qualitative blind taste test 29 store branded food products were tested. Get this, 23 of the 29 private label vs store branded products scored as good as or better than the national brand.

Grocerant food that is ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat is now finding it’s way in large store formats like Safeway’s Lifestyle stores, HEB’s Central Market, Harris Teeter and Buehler’s. Utilizing traditional category management techniques all of these companies are seeing success. However those that have incorporated Brand Marketing into their food offerings and positioning strategy have seen increased customer frequency and niche margins rise.

The same is occurring in the Convenience store side with companies like AMPM bundling meal deals and new products, and Quick Trip growing with solid consistent product offerings.

Branding the food offerings will bring with it the opportunity to build top-line revenue and bottom-line profits. Watch for Brand Managers being hired in all of these channels for both product development, daypart and in-store sections. Grocerant program assessments and product opportunity analyst available at Foodservice Solutions, Tacoma WA or leave a comment.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What is in a family meal today and where do people eat?

What a quagmire we find ourselves in today trying to understand what is a family meal. I recently went looking for answers from some of the food industry leading research companies. Each has a series of benchmark studies all “best in class” yet seems to answer or categorize only what product consumers are eating, when they are eating. Yet none could address what we found have witnessed or hear of as the “new family meal paradigm”. Here are three examples I have witnessed first hand:

1. Family dinner occasions with meal components from McDonalds & Taco Time for children 14 & 12 years olds and dinner for adults from Whole foods prepared meal section. This is dinner, is it a family meal. We say yes since they all eat together just not the same food.

2. During a recent visit to NYC after a client meeting we went to a business associates home ordered food-in. His wife, myself and my client we ordered from three separate companies (Italian Chinese, Greek) one was pickup next door. I was assured this was not unusual in their household this is a family dinner again.

3. Studies on Take & Bake pizza show it is the sole food item only 60% of the time. Generally complemented with prepared food from other outlets, who can we find out what and from where? This is part of a family meal. What else should Take & Bake pizza companies be offering?

Statistical analyst can track each of the sales, but do we get a clear picture of the family meal. We are in search of examples, stories, or case studies on new “defined” household units and what they eat and when. Please submit your example to Are Grocerant prepared food components the food that binds the family?

Who are we: Or for more on Grocerants view

Monday, December 14, 2009

Food price value equilibrium continues it’s resetting in Restaurants, Grocery stores and C-stores?

What is the price of breakfast? McDonalds is putting the US on notice that it does not plan any capitulation of breakfast marketshare! There is no greater gift than customers that love your food, and will pay for it-but at what price? Here is my formula for establishing customer focused price:

Price + Quality + Service + Portability = Value

Incremental Value = Constantly Changing Menu (Seasonally / Sustainability with creditability).

Now look at what has happened at different companies recently. While Subway started the focus on the $5 foot-long we can see just where it has gone.

1. T.G. I. Fridays announced it will offer Jack Daniel's® Burgers and Jack Daniel's® Chicken Sandwiches for $5 and will offer $5 off all Jack Daniel's® Grill entrees for a limited time at approximately 600 US based participating restaurants.

2. Steve Davis, Arby’s CMO said $5 has become a magic number for fast food.

3. Shane’s Rib Shack has a family meal (feeds 4) for $20. Part of Petrus Brands

4. Popeye’s now as value meals from $1.99 & $2.99

5. McDonalds has three mini meals for under $3.00

6. McDonalds had introduced 5 $ 1.00 breakfast items.

The economy continues in a quagmire so price can be a determining factor. Brand marketers must be aware of the new product and price points that non-traditional competitive channels will introduce. Including attractive packaging, new product bundling options which in turn will contribute to establishing new long term price value models going forward. Grocery stores, Convenience Stores, Restaurants Mobile trucks, Kiosks food outlets are zeroing in on the grocerant prepared food ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food niche and it is booming. Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quick Chek more than a convenience store, closer to a Grocerant!

Earlier this month we named Quick Chek as having introduced the most innovative potentially channel disruptive menu item for their Angus Burger for 2009. The Angus Burger garnered attention from the press, attention on its foodservice offering by customers and put notice to all industry competitors that Quick Chek was serious about building foodservice sales.

Building sales in the crowed ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat Grocerant niche is challenging lucky for Quick Chek John Schaninger, is vice president of sales and merchandising he understand the popularity of the niche and how to drive customer frequency. His successful “skinvertising” program this summer has been reinvigorated this winter to promote soup sales.

Here is how Quick Chek’s “skinvertising” works for this program. “Customers purchasing any size coffee between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. that day will receive a special "Warm Up Wednesday" stamp on their hand at checkout. When they return between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., and present their hand stamp, customers will receive a complimentary soup. They can choose from one of Quick Chek's many varieties, including Chicken Noodle Galore, Pot Roast Vegetable, Italian Wedding, Sweet Potato Bisque, Roasted Tomato and Garlic, and Spicy Chili, among others.

If success leaves clues Quick Chek is blazing a trail! Roll, Roll, Roll, Away Roller Grill was an article we posted earlier this month as well and this is another example of how fast foodservice is changing in all channels. Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Grocerants crafting success in ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared food.

A grocerant is a result of the blurring of the line between restaurants and grocery stores aimed at the time-starved consumer with ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat food components that are “better for you”. These components can be bundled into a meal of the consumer choice.. Grocerant food refers to any retail food item that is ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat / reheat sold in a Grocery store, Convenience store or restaurant To-go or Take Away format. Most retail companies goal is to create a collections of branded private label entrée and side dishes that have niche leading identity.

Traditionally these items can be found in grocery stores in the deli / lifestyle section, C-stores in the prepared food area and prepackaged, ready to eat items and in restaurants under the To-go, takeout or take away or delivery section. If success leaves clues most retailers having success have developed a reputation for their unique flavor profiles, right sizing packaging and creating a halo of better for you around their offerings.

Around the world we are now seeing Grocerant sections in department’s stores and kiosk in malls in Europe / Asia and airports around the world. The items can range from entrees to side items and deserts. Some examples of items range from crab puff pastries 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. Grocerant prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods contributes to making life just a little easier. For a Grocerant program assessment contact Steve Johnson at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions at: 253-759-7869.

For additional background on the booming grocerant niche you can read more at the following link:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Visceral attractiveness for Food retailers is as important as cleanliness.

Restaurants specifically Quick Service Restaurants (QSR’s) understand consumer contemporary relevance. The most frequent consumer are more visceral engaged on a daily basis than someone born forty years ago. They are in fact visceral a tuned, plugged in, online or utilizing mobile texting at the fastest rate ever. Visceral attractiveness in décor for Food retailers is as important as cleanliness don’t get left out in the cold.

McDonalds is testing its own proprietary entertainment network billed as “McDonalds Channel at 19 units currently. With wifi in must units around the US currently this program will ““will entice the customer to sit down and enjoy their meal — and perhaps to stay a little longer.” Competitor Burger King had introduced flat screen tabletops and reportedly will rollout the program nation wide.

Convenience stores and grocery stores will need to install at minimum digital signage in the “deli” or ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat sections of there stores. Visceral attractiveness and consumer relevance are moving forward hand in hand.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Private label food brand managers are out witting legacy food national brand managers.

If success leaves clues in a recent article at by Karlene Lukovitz she quoted noted supermarket expert Phil Lempert saying “next year we’ll see major food brands developing co-branded private-label foods with retailers, meaning private-label foods featuring brands' key ingredients.”

If Phil is right there is only one clear clue. It's clear that brand managers of “legacy " national food brands have Failed. Yes, they missed the mark simply put they failed to keep pace with the consumer, quality, flavor profiles, price equilibrium and consumer relevance. This act is a simple act of marketshare capitulation by the legacy brand managers. It’s the easy way out blame the economy, point fingers and make excuses then join the other team.

What has happened is private label companies and products now have quality educated brand managers and they are doing a better job! Success does leave clues and the opportunity for good brand managers is growing with private label products.

Does it make sense to other industry proffesionals for food brands to take it a step further by providing ingredients for and co-branding store labels? Bill Cross, VP, food licensing for Broad Street Licensing, “says he can't imagine major food marketers engaging in this strategy, given that they're in a "dog fight" with retailers aggressively pursuing private-label growth.” Bill understands the value of a brand and how consumer relevance plays an important role. If you’re a brand manager in Grocerant ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat foods build your brand not your competitors.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Top Five Innovative Disruptive Food Menu’s or menu items of 2009 penciled in.

Restaurants, Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores and Supermarkets were all competing for a larger share of stomach this year. The companies that appeared to introduce the most innovative potentially disruptive menus or menu items all were focus clearly on the US marketplace and evolving points of distribution as the end game. Each company keenly realized the importance of demographic, psychographic and behaviorist research including new econometric food modeling. Then blended the findings into the companies or niche market food marketing mix. Research intelligent quotient (IQ) blended with understanding the industry consumers emotional quotient (EQ) will propel either the company or the product itself too a new level in coming years. So here are the top five innovative potentially disruptive food menus or menu items for 2009:

1. Angus Burger by QuickChek

2. Fresh prepared Hot Breakfast by 7 Eleven AU

3. Wood-fired Pizza by Müvbox,

4. Crispers by Publix & Next Door Bar & Grill by Wegmans

5. MightyMunch-Meals by:

Leading the way is QuickChek with it’s fresh Angus Burger taking customers outside the Convenience store box thinking and head on with QSR’s. Without a doubt the 2009 company with the most proactive global food innovative footprint test going on is 7 Eleven. They have exciting new coffee formats, pizza and fresh prepared breakfast, this is the sleeping giant of the foodservice industry. I for one think that they are waking up. How cool is Müvbox portable Wood fired Pizza taking fresh to any neighborhood in the world fast. Joining the success that Publix has found in Florida with it Crispers restaurant, Wegmans now is stepping out with a freestanding concept. In both cases quality leveraging buying power, supply chain and regional marketplace knowledge into non-traditional points of distribution and success. Then there is a better for you meal for kids, ready when they are, nothing is better than that. 2009 was a outstanding year for the Grocerant niche. For background on the booming grocerant niche you can read more at the following link:

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment or question below.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Drive-Thru’s much more than Burgers, Sodas, Fires and Coffee now Beer and more!

Prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food has been the staple of the QSR industry for years. Most offer bundled grocerant meal solutions with three choices small, medium or large. Recently the Convenience Store sector has been working hard to expand fresh food offerings via drive-thru’s. It looks as if Texas based Pak-A-Sak Inc. might just have found the right formula. The first drive-thru opened now accounts for 33 percent of all grocery sales at that store. Given the positive customer response, all new Pak-A-Sak convenience stores will have a drive-thru a third is already under development. The largest selling items for Pak-A-Sak reportedly are cigarettes, fountain drinks and beer.

Pak-A-Sak joins a long list of other convenience stores operators who are using or testing drive-thru’s including Quickie Mart Hackensack, N.J. Dairy Barn, New York. Bennie’s, drive-through convenience store Arizona, The Kwik Trip convenience store chain, Wisconsin. Loveland Farms Drive-Thru Albuquerque, New Mexico.

If success leave clues there will be many corporate visitor heading Texas visit Pak-A-Sak Inc. new drive-thru stores and then calling the design firm Paragon Solutions. What is your company doing with it’s fresh food. Consumers are flocking to the grocerant sector and C-stores are taking advantage of the opportunity. Marketshare can be won or lost early in this fight for the transitioning consumer. Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. View my complete profile at: or leave a comment below.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Convenience stores have learned menu bundling from Quick Serve Restaurants.

Grocerant prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food is booming in the Northeast United States Convenience store sector. According to Convenience Store news;” Rutter's Farm Stores recently expanded its fresh-food menu to include turkey wings and sliders, which are available in all 36 of its stores that offer touchscreen ordering. The wings, which are $1.39 each and can be ordered one, two or three at a time, comprise 2.25 ounces of meat that is marinated and then fried. They can be ordered with original, buffalo or spicy seasoning, according to the convenience chain.”

What I like is the fact that Rutter’s utilizes restaurant industry bundling options for items; “ new sliders offer a hamburger or fried chicken patty served on a fresh-baked roll. Yellow American cheese, pickle and onion can be added at no additional cost. Sliders can be ordered in quantities of one ($1.29); three ($3.39); six ($5.94); or 12 ($9.96) at a time.

QuickChek, Wawa, Sheetz and Rutter’s all have a strong fresh fast quality food program. Products that are priced with many would say is at a competitive advantage or many Quick Serve Restaurants. Recently we discussed all of the new product in test at 7 Eleven. This sector in currying favor with consumer and retailers are responding.

Contact me for more at: or leave a comment below. For more read this article:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bank stocks are up but Food Bank stock is down.

Top of the day to you! 2009 is winding down and with the stock market well off it’s lows for the year many investors are rejoicing. If nothing else they are collectively taking a deep sigh of relief. I was contacted by my local food bank this week and asked for an additional contribution. With unemployment hovering around 10% nationwide we must remember everyone deserves a meal.

The focus of this blog in the Grocerant niche, which is prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat better for you food. We must never forget those with children and the elderly or anyone who can’t afford food. I urge everyone who can to contact a food bank in there area and offer your time, talent or food. It may be December and cold outside, but we can warm one another with a gift of food.

For more on Grocerants or to view my complete profile utilize the following links: or leave a comment below. Or for more on Grocerants view or

Friday, December 4, 2009

Food shoppers psyche: from outer fringe to main street consumer are cutting back.

In a recent report by HealthFocus® International entitled Grocery Buying in the Current Economy there was alarming news for anyone in the retail food business. Consumers are cutting back on purchases at Grocery stores, Convenience stores and Restaurants. In large part due to the rising unemployment, uncertainty in positive changes to our current economic conditions. 56% of all consumers have or are cutting back! Here is the list of where respondents to the study say they are cutting first:

1. Fast Foods 79%

2. Pizza Delivery 75%

3. Soda’s 70%

4. Grocery store prepared meals 66%

5. Cookies 62%

6. Beef 59%

7. Ice Cream 59 %

8. Chocolate 58%

9. Frozen Snacks 57%

10. Alcohol 52%

What is quite apparent is consumer are concerned. First about there the economy second about their health. Consumer want better for you food and better for you products. I continue to believe that the new promo from Kentucky Fried Chicken 395 calories for a price of $3.95 will be a big hit. More important it will spur many other to copy this new formula.

View my complete profile at: or leave a comment below. Or for more on Grocerants view or

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Roll, Roll, Roll, Away Roller Grill! Don’t become Square.

Harkin back to the days that employee’s uniforms were back & white. Employees all dawned paper hats, a time that the roller grill was introduced and ready-to-eat hot prepared food was introduced in the Convenience store channel. It was a time when the availability of food staples in extended hours of operations drove sales in this dynamic channel. The Convenience store channel continues to be dynamic, currently it is booming in the prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food sector or what I call the grocerant sector. I believe that differentiation does not mean different it means familiar within each food niche and this one is no different. Consumers young and old are demanding more choice, fresher quality and more contemporary food options.

Niche and industry global leader 7-Eleven has left the roller grill at the back door and recently has introduced Stay Fresh Bananas, Pizza, Chicken Wings. They are testing in new pilot stores their “latest insights into market trends to provide a range of 45 freshly prepared food products, including a hot breakfast menu and toasted sandwiches cooked to order.” This test includes a “café-esque range of hot lunch alternatives and will combine with Lavazza to offer barista-made coffee.”

Sheetz & Wawa both offer a full range of prepared food choice including fresh salads and fruit options. Good companies do good things over and over again. Recently Wawa CEO Howard Stoeckel detailed several efforts the convenience store chain is undertaking in during the economic slump the US is in, He stated "we're performing better than the vast majority of retailers," Fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food products are strongly contributing to on-going sales and profit success. Game

On my post for yesterday garnered so many Emails and question about product positioning. Here is KFC’s new meal and focus for this “holiday promotion for its Kentucky Grilled Chicken combo meals. The meals, which contain a grilled chicken drumstick and thigh, green beans, and mashed potatoes and gravy, are now on sale at participating restaurants for $3.95. Louisville-based KFC Corp. said in a news release that the meal is rated at 395 calories. That I felt the need to repost this about the roller grill to add light on the changes underway. View my complete profile at:

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