Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat Fresh Food Migration Where is Your Customer?

Sometimes food industry experts pontificate why sales are flat, why the sectors down, why customers are spending, when what they should say is simply we blew it. The accelerating success of the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh food grocerant niche is one of the fastest growing industry undercurrents that companies the ilk of Technomic, Mintel, NPD and Nielsen have missed. 

Many legacy companies benchmark annual reporting metrics back to 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s providing great lessons is what was.  We have gone from black and white televisions, family size of 3.4 people per family, Pizza Huts you actually ate in utilizing tables and chairs.  Then came restaurants with drive-thru’s, bank machines, color TV, family size of 3.2 people. Dial Up computers were next, coffee shops that sold coffee only, wireless phones. Now we have global internet, 90% of people have their own mobile phone, and food deliver from Steak-Out steaks, Burger King burgers, Amazon groceries.  Benchmarking industry metrics is a good idea.  However in-order too foresee what’s coming the time frame of the metric and the metric’s must be up-dated from time to time.

Today, 50 percent of Americans over the age of 18 are single.  Food consumption behavior for single consumers is driving the evolution of retail foodservice at a faster pace than ever before. While the economic recession created consumers that became increasingly “needs-based” their needs are distinctively different today, transforming retail foodservice. The same is true around the world.

 Along with the increase in single consumers are those that are over 60.  In 2000 the over 60 sector represented an all-time high of 11% of the global population. In 2050 it is estimated to be 22% or 2 billion. 
In 1980 that family of 3.2 sat down and everyone share the dinner with the same entrée. Today, when the kids graduate from college they return home as boomerang kids and eat hand held food, not from home. They have a desire to continue discovering particularly when it comes to food and food outlets.

Information about food abounds today 15% of U.S. adults have shopped for groceries online. In fact 75% of all consumers shop online. Big Data has big insights that legacy companies benchmarked legacy metric’s simply did not could envision.  Today 54% of all consumers leverage social media to discover new foods or new avenues of food distribution.

When it comes to ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food consumer are delighted when they find places the ilk of Pinkies Liquor stores in Texas, Whole Foods ready-2-eat food stations, Casey’s General Stores hot Pizza and or delivery, Price Chopper’s new concept with 16 different eateries inside, Central Market where fresh prepared ready-2-eat is driving growth, Wawa and Sheetz made 2 order fresh food, and Eatzi’s where quality is complemented by employee training and food quality.

When the household make-up has changed so dramatically, driven in large part by singles the value of peer influence has never been greater.  That influence is magnified when one considers how social media, TV, Radio, and the internet interconnect with things like Skype, Youtube, iPad, and Kindle. 

When I asked “Where is your customer” the answer is buying ready-2-eat meals, meal components and bundling meal components for a non-traditional family meals and or meals with friends. If you want better answers you must ask relevant questions.  Who are you selling food for and where are they?  We know, We have Known, and We can help. 

Interested in learning how the 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization contact us via Email us at: or visit Johnson, or

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