Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The price, value, service equilibrium is resetting in retail foodservice.

Grocery stores, Restaurants, C- stores and now drug store chains are selling quality ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food. Each is reconfiguring their ready-2-eat ready to heat-N-eat food product lineup. Most interesting, the new food items are not niche focused but are consumer focused with a mix and match bundled component.

Each company is now looking for new product, packaging and consumer price points that will drive traffic. All have noticed a discontinuity in consumer food shopping behavior and all are fighting for share of stomach.

Contributing to this displacement is a focus by restaurant chain leaders on short term market metrics particularly at price and away from the consumer. Which in turn has caused a loss is consumer traffic as important as price might be other attributes are much more important. The consumer is turning to the grocery store hot prepared food section and the C-store sector in greater numbers.

The problem is the grocery stores are not ready for the volume increase and have lost focus on the customer service component. They have dropped the ball much of the food quality is still reflective of a bygone era of fried food or heat lamp food warm with few qualitative attributes.

There are of course exceptions like Wegmans, Central Market, Whole Foods and Metropolitan Market. Consumers will not stay long if things don’t improve rapidly. The battle for the consumer dollar continues in the Grocerant ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food niche.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

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