Saturday, February 27, 2010

Retail Food Brand Manager can find jobs in the grocerant sector.

Unbounded opportunity for food marketing brand managers is developing in the Grocerant niche. The unheralded stellar performance produced by national private label product brand managers established metrics for future success. In a recent issue of Consumer Reports in a head-to-head qualitative blind taste test 29 store branded food products were tested. Get this, 23 of the 29 private label – 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, Racetrac improving coffee and Quick Trip growing with solid consistent product offerings.

Branding the food offerings by day part or entrée time will bring with it the opportunity to build top-line revenue and bottom-line profits. Watch for Brand Managers being hired in each of these channels.

Foodservice Solutions the global leader in the grocerant niche! Grocerant program assessments and product opportunity annalist available at Foodservice Solutions, Tacoma WA or leave a comment. Consumer Discontinuity

Friday, February 26, 2010

Visceral attractiveness in packaging can be “green”

Success does leave clues and the consumers are leaving clues at the cash register for those paying attention. The grocerant niche is booming. Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods that are portable are a major contributor to that success.

Legacy restaurant chains at times are slow to keep up with the consumer Yum brands portfolio of companies and Wendy’s have yet to lead in green packaging and it may reflect in same store domestic year over year numbers. Quiznos on the other hand is playing into the consumer hand!

“Quiznos locations now feature several new types of packaging, including 100-percent compostable, wax-coated paper cups; pulp salad bowls made from renewable sugarcane; plastic lids made of 30-percent post-consumer-recycled PET bottles; napkins made from 100-percent recycled material and fibers (90 percent post-consumer); and catering lunch boxes made of 100-percent recycled paperboard (35 percent post-consumer). “

Burgerville USA continues to build top of mind consumer awareness with sustainable food programs and environmentally friendly recycled packaging throughout the operation.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. More about us: or leave a comment or question below. If you would like to read the latest interview of Steve Johnson on Grocerants here is the link: an interview of Steven Johnson at: or Consumer Discontinuity

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I phone for food, you can too!

The restaurant sector is not unlike the rest of the retail foodservice! Retail food companies with a focus on entrée or snacks that are hand held food for immediate consumption or fresh prepared meals that can be made portable are leading the way! Food that is prepared fresh with the option of portability ala the grocerant niche, is and will continue to propel both frequency and loyalty in all retail food sectors.

Technomic reports that “The proportion of consumers who order takeout 'on the go' from their car or elsewhere on their cell phone is growing rapidly. Nearly three out of 10 consumers (29 percent) who ordered takeout did so from their cell phone, almost twice the rate of on-the-go ordering just two years ago (16 percent).”

The reason that Technomic report is so important is: it shows just how integrated food portability is in the consumers daily life. Foodservice and technology go hand in hand. Food that is portable can go where ever your customers go!

Join me here on my blog for insights, information and inspiration. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Retail foodservice is more than sandwiches and burgers.

During the past 4 decades hamburgers drove sales and propelled the overall restaurant industry. Without a doubt the hamburger is now globally recognized as a penultimate American food. It is ready to eat, hand held and prepared to eat on the run; convenient, simple and affordable. Unfortunately the restaurant industry is showing a lack of innovation in new outlets or food products.

Might we have seen the tipping point now that, Bobby Flay, Emeril Legasse each have opened new gourmet burger restaurants. We have Wendy’s, McDonalds, Burger King, Sonic, In-N-Out Burger, and fast growing Fatburger, Smashburger and Five Guys with over 460 units opened or signed.

Simple and affordable is also arriving at C-stores, Grocery stores, Supermarkets in the form of Grocerant prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat single and two person meals or meal components. The attraction here is it’s more than a “burger” the segment is filled with flavors from Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Greek, Japanese’s, and American fare.

The grocerant sector is about more choice for the consumer with items portioned for 1 or 2 people infused with traditional flavors known around the world which bring an added simplicity in serving. The innovation is in choice with items that range from: Fired Chicken, Asian Cappellini, Spaghetti & Meatballs to Chicken Pad Thai Noodle or a Reuben Chicken Breast.

While the sandwich sector and hamburgers may rule the day in the Restaurant industry, consumers are finding flavor, choice and portability options in the grocerant sector of Convenience stores, Supermarkets, Mobile Trucks, Grocery Stores and Take-Away foods from restaurants.

Join me here on my blog for insights, information and inspiration. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Convenience stores bask in the Halo of fresh prepared food!

Foodservice Solutions long established prepared food position has been revalidated by NPD! Grocerant style fresh prepared food that has propelled top line sales and bottom line profits for Harris Tetter, Central Market and Whole Foods, continues its reach into the convenience store sector.

According to The NPD Group’s Convenience Store Monitor research which tracks 49,000 convenience store shoppers in the US. “In the third quarter 2009, more than half of fresh prepared food buyers at c-stores chose the store because of the foodservice offering”.

In addition “Fresh prepared food buyers also averaged 7.8 visits over a 30-day period vs. 5.66 for all c-store shoppers, according to the third quarter analysis of survey data. Additionally, fresh food buyers on average purchased 4.1 products vs. 1.64 products bought by all c-store shoppers, and their average check was $1.65 higher than all c-store shoppers. “

Wawa, Sheetz and QuickChek are companies that lead the way with high food sales and customer frequency. 7 Eleven which is in test with fresh prepared breakfast items and lunch/dinner items is set to regain ground and marketshare. That is if they can convince franchisee’s to roll roll roll away the roller grill. Legacy presentation will lead to legacy results.

Join me here on my blog for insights, information and inspiration. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit Read Steve’s article on Roller Grills at:, Roll, Roll, Away Roller Grill!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Are bundled grocerant food components going to be the food that defines a family meal?

What is in a family meal today? Can food research companies unravel what is today’s traditional 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 of which we have seen first hand:

1. Single family dinner occasions with meal components from McDonalds & Taco Time for children 14 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.

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

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?

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

Join me here on my blog for insights, information and inspiration. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit or Consumer Discontinuity

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Are you price positioning your food properly?

George Bernard Shaw said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”

There is no greater gift than customers that love your food, and will pay for it-but at what price? Food price value equilibrium continues it’s resetting? How low is your company going to go? Are you price positioning your food properly? Here is my formula for establishing customer focused price:

Price + Quality + Service + Portability = Value

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

Now, lets look at what is happening at different companies, price and channel of distribution are clearly challenging each other this is about share of stomach. 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.

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

5. McDonalds has three mini meals for under $3.00

The economy continues in a quagmire so price can be a determining factor. Be mindful that price and value are not the same thing.  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. Watch just what is happening in the Grocerant niche via Grocery stores, Convenience Stores, Mobile trucks and Kiosks food outlets or follow this blog.

Join me here on my blog for insights, information and inspiration. 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.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

QuickChek edifies foodservice offering with local sponsorship.

Well run retail foodservice operators understand quality, consistency and service contribute to a successful program. Outstanding retail foodservice operators build LTO’s (limited time offers) around special local events edifying a bond with the community.

QuickChek will again this year be sponsoring the annual balloon festival scheduled for July 23-25, at the Readington Township airport, NJ , “The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is the third longest-running, nonsports, title sponsorship of a major event in the United States, Quick Chek said in the report, citing sponsorship analysis firm IEG.”

Grocery stores, Supermarkets and Restaurants selling fresh prepared portable operators must remain vigilant in local communities with new LTO’s and community involvement. QuickChek is one of the regional industry leaders in retail grocerant style prepared foods. The community knows why! of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat program assessments. 253-759-7869 Contact us for more at: or leave a comment below

Friday, February 19, 2010

Foodservice success "Under The Tree’s" with fresh prepared quality food.

Few multi-unit retail operators run outstanding operations with customer focused food, service and ambiance within the grocerant niche. Mimi McCloskey runs eight units and I have to say she is doing a fantastic job. Her concepts are consumer interactive, participatory, and bundled with multi-choice meal components by daypart.

Complemented with well trained employees who execute the routine and the special request as if it was a pleasure not a job. Her locations are fill with consumer happy to return and even happier to share the worked about her concepts with friends and strangers. Few concepts so young are filled and elicit such professional foodservice evangelist. This is one expanding company that many industry professional need to watch.

The grocerant fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared portable food niche booming and Mimi McCloskey and her concepts Under the tree’s, Pointe Fresco, and my personal favorite Que Pasta are all grocerant style prepared fresh ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat and best in class. 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.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Grocerant prepared fresh Ready-2-Eat Bundled Meal Components are Propelling Success.

Leveraging simplicity and choice Supermarkets, Grocery stores, Convenience Stores and Restaurants are all vying will bring the family together for dinner. The grocerant niche continues to boom and it driven by consumers! Grocerant food refers to any retail prepared food component that is ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat and available in Grocery store, Convenience store, Restaurant as To-Go or Take Away, Dollar store, Mobile Truck or Kiosk format.

Grocerants developed as a result in of the blurring of the line between restaurants and grocery stores aimed at the time-starved consumer with ready-to-eat and or ready-to-heat prepared food components that can be bundled into a meal. Demand by consumers became visible shortly after Eatzi’s opened in Dallas, Texas and now spanning the country in the likes of Sheetz, Wawa, Boston Market, Marketside, Fresh & Easy, Greenwise, Culinaria, Safeway’s Lifestyle stores and Restaurants with To-Go or Take-Away food.

Globally we are witnessing prepared food sections in department stores, Mobile vans and trucks, shopping malls in Europe and Asia. At airports around the world we see kiosk selling meal components or meal kits. Combined the items can range from sauces, entrees to side items, salads, baked goods and fresh fruit deserts. Some examples of items range from Mango– curry sauce, fried chicken, lasagna, cream spinach, flat-bread sandwiches, steak, prime rib, various casseroles (hot-dish) to salads, side salads and single proportioned deserts. They can be picked up at the specific unit, or delivered.

The Grocerant sector is utilized by a multi-generationally customer base for varied reasons ranging from ease of cooking time, multi-culture flavor profile with unfamiliar cooking preparation formats, save time, portion size. The majority of Grocerant shoppers are looking for portions for one or two people, flexibility of components is key i.e. curry sauce may go on pasta, rice or a baked potato; empowering consumer choice. There is a growing focus on “better for you” aspect within the niche.

Most interesting is wide swath in which customers refer to “better for you” while shopping in this niche. Here are just a few examples: less packaging, save time, smaller portions, ability to accommodate entire family taste profile, ability to prepare singularly or family style, price, still a HOME COOKED MEAL.’

Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food aka Grocerant niche food accommodates today’s family in a style that is built for change. Is your company bundling for success?  For more go to: or

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

7 Eleven is scooping up locations and testing new products.

It’s no wonder that when people Email or call me about their favorite Convenience stores, they 9 out of 10 times refer to one of these four outstanding Convenience store companies: QuickChek, Rutters, Sheetz and Wawa. Having traveled to 49 states, sampling, viewing and listening I have to agree. When looking at food quality, service levels and customized food products they win hands down. I would say success leaves clues and any company that wants to expand their foodservice sales in the read-to-eat or ready-to-heat niche, must visit all of these companies.-

There can be no confusion in the fact that the Grocerant niche may be taking off in the Supermarket arena as well however from what I am hearing even they have been studying the NE Fab Four! Whole Foods just reported strong sales with ready-to-eat driving customers into the store. They are allowing consumers to define where they eat, how they eat and when they eat.

The current convenience store food leaders must heed the sleeping giant 7 Eleven buying and recurring new locations, combined with their fresh food program the entire food industry is being redefined.

Over the next decade as American’s eating patterns are revealed we will find that these Northeast companies provided the format and platform for a new era in food consumption patters. Interested in a emersion tour for Grocerants and developing food trends?

Contact us for more at: or leave a comment below. For more ready this article:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Food Manufactures; is grocerant fresh prepared food a creating a stifling quagmire or opportunity?

Trapped in the demand cycle of legacy clients wanting traditional products and innovative industry leaders building customer frequency with grocerant fresh prepared food that is ready-to-eat , ready-to-heat and portable. Regional prepared sustainable food manufactures appear to be capturing marketshare.

Foodservice retailers are entering the grocerant prepared food niche at break-neck speed. Recently Walgreens announced they too were entering the prepared food niche. If as we mentioned earlier this week they continue featuring legacy products from legacy manufactures the likes of Sara Lee and Conagara foods this is one program that will fail to keep pace with the industry and consumers.

The confluence of events stirring retail foodservice consumer discontinuity is well under way. These events may be blurring the traditional lines between retail foodservice niche players, but not the line to the consumer.

The food value proposition equilibrium for the consumer today balances; better for you, flavor, and traditional products all blended into something with a twist. In industry speak, differentiated does not mean different to the consumer it means familiar. Creating or identifying distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part is what is needed now. Understanding the unique balance between palate, price, pleasure and the consumer’s drive for qualitative distinctive differentiated new food consumables places me and Foodservice Solutions in a select industry grouping.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. More about us:

Monday, February 15, 2010

In retail foodservice visceral food presentation leads to top line sales.

The grocerant sector continues to grow margins, top line sales while increasing customer frequency. Grocery stores like Wegmans, Metropolitan Market Whole Foods and Central Market utilize dramatic visceral displays to portray the food in the prepared sections as fresh, authentic and qualitative.

Phil Romano who created such concepts as Fuddruckers, Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Eatzi’s, developed successfully the ideation of the interactive participatory look and we see around the industry today.. His concepts are consumer interactive, participatory, with visceral production customer vantage points located for customer creditability and authentic food actualization.

Subway does and outstanding job portraying freshness within their units. The product is made in front of the customer, empowering consumer choice with aromatic bread baking as a proactive kicker for the consumer buy in. Transparent Menu’s may soon become the next standard. No more hiding behind the in pictures!

Consumers are now demanding transparency concerned with more childhood obesity, more fat in food, salt and calorie options run amuck. Let’s give credit to Burgerville USA, for a Great Job with printing on the receipt information with recommendation on how to reduce calorie’s on your next visit. All Grocerants consider this as an option for their ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat foods.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing ready-to-eat and ready-to-eat program assessments. For more read this article:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Retail foodservice sales driven by changing values.

Legacy food retailers driven by outdated metric’s just may be unwitting marketshare capitulators. The consumer is redefining value at home, in restaurants including where they buy food. One needs only to look that the prepared fresh food area expanding in grocery stores.

Once called the deli now called the grocerant section, meal solutions, quick fix’s or ready-to-eat sections. Company after company is expanding, enlarging and repositioning this booming niche to accommodate the demand for increased options from the consumer.

Super Max is one food retailer that has done and outstanding job with both the breakfast daypart and lunch daypart. Safeway’s lifestyle stores are building on the lunch daypart and doing great things in the PM or dinner daypart. What are some of the new values driving consumers in the grocerant niche:

1. Ready-2-Eat

2. Fresh, local better for you

3. Portion size options, single serve

4. Multiple choice of sides and entree per day

5. Portability 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, February 12, 2010

Home Cooking, the new normal grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat.

What’s for dinner? If your cooking for an at home family meal for two, four, or five family members, chances are very good your buying several ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat foods. Grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants are all bundling fresh prepared meal components for the home cook. The home cook is responding buying individualized components.

Foodservice branded and private label food manufactures are all vying for your attention. Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods from Swiss steak, meatloaf, baked salmon, rotisserie chicken, pizza and lasagna fresh prepared, portioned and portable in portions for 1,2, or 5 are not available at most foodservice retail location.

Most exciting is the opportunity for new start-up’s and regional manufactures to produce sustainable business built on local, fresh and unique flavor profiles. Legacy national brand manufactures are experiencing an increased consolidation and acquisition activities. They have taken there eye off the customer and increasing new points of distribution.

Consumer are responding buying meal components in new food channels, experiencing new flavor profiles all the while individualizing the family meal. The foodservice industry is evolving with the consumer. Those companies looking for opportunity for growth times have never been better.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing ready-to-eat and ready-to-eat program assessments. For more read this article:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walgreens prepared food beverage offerings a step forward or a step back?

Walgreens is clearly the retail chain drug store niche leader. When they announced that they were considering entering the prepared food niche other sector food retailers took notice.

If the pictures above reflect what Walgreens planning to rollout, food retailers can sit back in their easy chain and take a deep breath and relax. The above pictures taken at a Walgreens position the beverage portion of the retail food offering as a step forward for Walgreens but a step back for the food retail industry. This set of offerings is completely void of contemporize consumer positive attributes. Disappointing coming from a retailer that has invested billions upgrading and remodeling stores around the country.

When an industry retail leader enters a new niche one would expect to see state of the industry offerings. If this is what they are planning it is a step back into the mid 70’s or early 80’s of food retailing. Consumer will not be compelled to buy or boast of the new offering. In fact it is a bit embarrassing to think this is what they are planning to rollout.

This particular set of offerings by Walgreens is neither interactive nor participatory for the consumer. We can only hope that the prepared food offerings don’t include a roller grill and harkin Walgreens customers back even further.

Niche industry leaders the likes of Sheetz, Wawa, and Starbucks have nothing to worry about. Global convenience store giant 7 Eleven is testing fresh food and produce around the world and will introduce a much more compelling set of offerings in the near term than it appears Walgreens is planning.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing ready-to-eat and ready-to-eat program assessments. For more read this article: or read my blog Roll roll roll away roller grill.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pueblo’s grocerant prepared food is perfectly positioned.

Clean well stocked stores that are beaming with patrons always are solid platforms for success. Pueblo is no exception. If your eye’s on the grocerant prepared food niche, Pueblo is one company that should be on your must visit list.

Professionally presented with clean, restaurant quality food presentation skill set, Pueblo clearly understands the positive halo affect a solid grocerant prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food program can have on the entire brand.

Time starved with diverse appetites after years of exposure to multi-cultural flavors profiles today’s consumer want prepared meal components that can be individualized not just family sized. Pueblo’s prepared food program does just that. With detailed attention to service, cleanliness and food quality its clear Pueblo is focused on growing this booming niche within foodservice retail.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche providing ready-to-eat and ready-to-eat program assessments. For more read this article:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Foodservice retailers thinking outside the box draw inspiration with traditional foods.

How does foodservice position a traditional product within a new niche to catapult sales of the product while building interest and greater value? The best example might just be the age old apple. Consultants at Foodservice Solutions knew sales would boom if you cut the apple first; then placed it into a different channel sliced and packaged sold as Apple Fries at Burger King and Fresh Better For You Wedges at McDonalds. If you were raised in Washington State you might have known there would be winners and they are the Apple farmer, the healthier consumer (kids) and the QSR niche via TOP LINE SALES & BOTTOM LINE PROFITS for all.

Winston Churchill once stated: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”.
With 20,000+ new SKU’s introduced into food retailing each year, many do not fly and fall to the wayside. If a company has a product that does not sell, and is not profitable at minimum a dramatic review is needed. Category managers look at flat categories and brainstorm on how to generate new interest in the product.

Grocerant products are a multi-channel products consisting of traditional foods prepared fresh that are ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods that are/can be portable; found in grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants, supermarkets, mobile food units and kiosk.

We are seeing each niche create its own answer for convenient ready-to-eat foods; and when they do the consumer rewards them with purchases and increased frequency. Utilizing traditional food and food product but updating with a new twist the grocerant niche booming around the world.

Success does leave clues, watch this niche grow and provide each niche the lift it’s been looking for. Consumers want ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food more often than in the past by all age groups and income levels.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. More about us: or leave a comment or question below. If you would like to read the latest interview of Steve Johnson on Grocerants here is the link: an interview of Steven Johnson at:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Retail foodservice customers expect Digital Signage with visceral attractive graphics.

Wal-Mart recently added digital signage to select end caps within their stores. I had a friend remark that after a recent visit to Wal-Mart she was impressed and please to see how viscerally attractive the store was. Digital Visceral attractiveness is now a contemporary standard in retailing.

British Petroleum is installing Digital Signage at the Pump and in the store at over 1,000 units. Digital signage is not an operational efficiency it is now a required step in the consumer’s path of contemporary progress. The consumer is not static they are dynamic all retailers must keep pace with the customer.

Supermarkets, Convenience stores and Restaurants all must avoid unwittingly practicing Brand Protectionism and saying no to items that consumer comes to expect. Visceral attractiveness is now as important as cleanliness and service. The Grocerant sector is leveraging digital informational tools to build a strong consumer base.

I was reminded as well that the NY Hilton hotel has had CNN in its elevator now for over 12 years. Visceral information is not new nor is it going away. Don’t let your brand unwittingly practice “Brand Protectionism”.

Foodservice Solutions is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Grocerant program assessments can deliver top line moving information. Contact Foodservice Solutions in Tacoma, WA at: 253-759-7869 for more information.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Consumers think better for you food just might be better, but that’s not always what they buy!

Foodservice consumer responded to a research survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) on Functional Foods. The survey found that “89% of Americans agree that certain foods can have benefits for long term health including reducing the risk of disease or other health concerns. Consumer identified the following:

1. Fruits and vegetables

2. Fish / seafood

3. Milk & Yogurt

4. Meat & poultry

5. Herbs & spices

What is most interesting to me is that the number one item on the list also appeared as the number one food preferred by college students in dorm meal plans for the past 20 years!

Now think about it, our customers are looking for better for you product when they go out to eat and at home. Grocerants are now providing more Apples via McDonalds and Burger King to family’s via Kids portable bundled Kids meal options than Grocery stores sell whole raw Apples.

What is also important is what consumers do, not what they say. Fired food continues to be king! Burgers, french fries, chicken. Grocery stores, restaurants and convenience stores are all migrating too these key products. Boston Market understands the consumers desire for fried foods and is wise to add french fries.

Prudent retailers will soon understand the power of the Grocerant niche! Ready-to-eat, Ready-to-heat quality bundled meal options that are better for you, create demand and new avenues of distribution.

Foodservice Solutions is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more read this article:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cardboard to Green Backs Domino’s wins.

The grocerant niche is revitalizing the food space including the restaurant sector, grocery stores and convenience store sectors. Domino’s pizza spent the last 25 years in business perfecting service all the while neglecting food quality.

Consumers are dynamic not static and 18 – 34 year olds today still love pizza, even more they are in love with hand held foods. The range of flavor profiles available to 18 – 24 year olds today is much different than it was 25 years ago.

Most legacy companies never would venture to change a core product. Recently when Coca Cola tried it the world watch as the PR debacle began. The new management team at Domino’s has the right bend of IQ & EQ and understands both strategy and tactics. Bold, brave are words to describe the leadership style combined with strength, focus with a talented new team.

Success leaves clues one of them is if your product is outdated, change it! Your customers are going somewhere if your food quality is lacking it must be fixed. With 85% new items on Domino’s menu within the last 18 months, sit back a watch them regain lost market share. Success does leave clues and good service combined with good food is another.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. More about us: or leave a comment or question below. If you would like to read the latest interview of Steve Johnson on Grocerants here is the link: an interview of Steven Johnson at:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grocery stores stuck in the middle focusing on category & brand managers.

With the consumer demand for ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food that is prepared, portable and profitable ala the grocerant niche. Why do many grocery stores continue utilizing procedures and operating paradigms of the 70’s,80’s & 90’s that have led them to lose market share.

When grocers are relying on category and brand managers that are focusing on buying shelf space and outwitting consumers with category management or continuous category management, results will continue to slip.

When successful companies are focusing on the consumer, making adjustments addressing concerns of the consumer, they gain marketshare. The average size of the American family is smaller today than is was 10, 15, 20 years ago, however category and brand mangers continue to focus on “basket size” rather than customer, customer frequency or measurable brand value attributes.

They continue focusing on increasing check size and bundling meat in packages of 30 pork chops, a chicken and a half in a package, or mix and match- buy any 10 for $1.00 each. What’s with that do they think the industry is going backward? What family are they selling too? Do brand mangers in the grocery industry have degrees in marketing?

Consumers want small portions or portions sized for today’s family and ready-to-eat meals. Buying 10 ingredients for one entrée or side dish is the not goal of 80% of consumer Monday –Friday. With family size much smaller than it was in the 70’s and people living longer while living alone, the demand for quality food prepared continues to grow. Look at the winners, Safeway’s life style stores – smaller check average and higher frequency the same holds for Harris Teeter.

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche. More about us: or leave a comment or question below. If you would like to read the latest interview of Steve Johnson on Grocerant here is the link: an interview of Steven Johnson at:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Private Label brand managers vs. legacy brand managers!

Private label brand managers have been more aggressive, more focused, and more authentic than most restaurant, C-store or grocery store brand managers and that is driving change within the retail foodservice space. 

What is the role of the legacy national brand manager in a world where private label is branded? National brand manufactures all of whom are highly valued continue paying slotting fees to grocery stores, c-store, and to chain restaurant advertising funds as the easiest way to reach the consumer. 

The slotting fee’s continue to go for space on the shelf but the key location End Caps are now being filled with the stores own private label products. Legacy national brands are cutting back in paying for end caps it may be time to stop the rest. 

The brand managers of the private label products have are utilizing a tool out of the National Chains Brand Managers playbook to build loyalty, reinforce value and generate additional sales and profits for the store and their particular private label product. They are taking the end caps for themselves! Ask Foodservice Solutions® team as they have rolled out the FIVE P’s of Food Marketing with great success. 

Price Chopper is utilizing what they call “power displays”. Wal-Mart is utilizing the end caps to reinforce value of their private label products and consumer is picking them up! Wegmans gets the customers coming and going utilizing the vestibules with the likes of Wegmans private label potato chips and the next week Wegmans own canned tuna and their own mayo for example. 

Deep in the store the private label battle continues with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh  portable food. All prepared fresh and in most cases right in front of the customer. Private Label Grocerant Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food now has brand managers of there own and they are building sales not slotting fees. Wait and watch if you will but some of these brands will break out. 

Since 1991 of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche, Foodservice Solutions FIVE P’s of Food Marketing or our Grocerant Guru® visit: or Email: