Monday, September 30, 2013

Walgreens Up-Market Focuses on What’s for Dinner

Up-Market Walgreens new focus continues to expand the depth and direction Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food aka Grocerant niche meal components.  The grocerant niche is a result of the blurring of the line between restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores all selling fresh prepared, portable convenient meal solutions.

Targeted at the time-starved consumer with Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food components that are “better for you”, portable and portioned for one or two. Walgreens gets it and is positioning for a much larger share of the fresh food retailing dollar.  With less than 13% of household income allocated to food competition is you might say heating up!  At 4PM you may soon be picking up dinner on your way home from work at Walgreens.

In a programs rolled out from Boston to San Francisco, Los Angles to Chicago consumers can now find fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, sushi , sandwiches and Heat-N-Eat meat loaf. In addition Walgreens spokesman Robert Elifinger stated “ Our San Francisco area customers are already buying a lot of food in our stores, and there are requests for more product offerings," he said.

In addition to the items listed above - and Walgreens' more traditional offerings, including candy, potato chips and soda - there'll be meats, wraps, soups "and other on-the-go meal options, as well as convenient alternatives for tonight's meal,"  Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat meal components are a hallmark of the grocerant niche.
With this new market test underway, Walgreens is now testing fresh food in New York via Duane-Reade, Chicago and the San Francisco bay area. For all of my regular readers you have heard it hear before but this trend is sweeping the country from coast to coast. 
These expanded points of distribution may well challenge many a legacy fresh food retailer including chain restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores for market share. Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Restaurateurs Looking for Sales Think Women.

Restaurants recovery has been agonizingly slow while other sectors have seen 29%+ increases since 2009. The National Restaurant Association  Hudson Riehle  reported that  the amount of dollars spent on food continues to decline and is not standing at about 13% of income. He sees an increasing competition between restaurants, grocery stores and C-stores.

Our findings concur showing restaurant customer migration has accelerated since 2008 creating a platform of success for non-traditional fresh food outlets. Many legacy restaurant chains have been focusing on 18-24 year old men just might have over looked the most important group, women. More women are entering college than men, more women are graduating from college then men, and more women are in graduate school than men. Need I say more.

When the Hartman Group reported that “More than half (53 percent) of all eating occasions are snacking occasions.”  They went onto say "Health" is an important consideration on 56 percent of snacking occasions. On any given day, one in ten (10 percent) of non-restaurant eating occasions takes place within an hour of purchasing the food and/ or beverage consumed (what we term an "Immediate Consumption" occasion). And, according to our Hartman Eating Occasion Compass data that consists of more than 41,000 total eatings, consumers are four times more likely to go to a convenience store (C-Store) for an Immediate Consumption occasion than for a non-Immediate Consumption occasion (14 percent vs. 3 percent, respectively, sourcing from C-Store). “  We knew that women were driving change.

The battle for share of stomach can clearly be seen in the shift of core convenience store shoppers.  Here again is what the Hartman Group found: “Women's on-the-go lifestyles and efforts to balance work and family make convenience stores an increasingly appealing option:   Women now use convenience stores as much as men,  on average, women spend more time than men in C-stores, Women are the largest consumers of coffee and fountain beverages”

The Hartman Group identified features that especially appeal to women they are “size food selections, New product selections, Quick in and out service.  Regular readers of this blog know that we have documented that the ability to bundle and sell meals and meal component mix and match bundled options that can be customized and personalized are key to success in fresh food retailing today.  Women understand how importantly those options are and how they can include a dinner meal and a gallon of milk for cereal in the morning expanding day-parts for both today and tomorrow.

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization contact us at:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quality Competition not Economy Driving Grocerant Niche Success

Success does leave clues and the expanding growth within the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food niche is nothing other than stunning.  The NPD Group is reporting that “Visits to retail stores for prepared foods at lunch increased by double-digits since 2008 and restaurant lunch visits have declined”.

Regular readers of this blog (which there were 25,000+ last month) know that one of the hallmarks of the success within the grocerant niche is the ability to bundle meal components for family meal cohesion.

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Steven Johnson successful implementation of the 5P’s of Food Marketing into non-traditional fresh prepared food channels the ilk of chain drug stores, supermarkets, liquor stores and Kisok has played a significant role in extending grocerant niche success.

Consumer perceive that the abundance of choice a grocery store deli offers as a distinct advantage over restaurant offerings particularly when bundling meal components for an family of office setting.   NPD reported that the supermarkets have an advantage “over restaurants, particularly quick service restaurants (QSRs) is the availability of healthy options, good variety of foods, light meal offerings, affordability, and one-stop shopping convenience”

NPD reported that since 2008 those key attributes were key drivers for “the 29 percent visit growth for retail prepared foods at lunch” They went on to blame “High unemployment and shaky consumer confidence are among the reasons that lunch visits to restaurants have declined by one percent since 2008.”

We completely disagree, the economy affected each equally.  The differences the retail grocery sector stepped up quality, increased choice, and extended marketing to include Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy. is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Friday, September 27, 2013

Saladshots: Fabulous, Fast, Portable

Saladshots’ salad dressings are fast becoming the cornerstone for a new approach to healthy eating. “Better for You” food is a key driver within the Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared food grocerant niche.  Saladshots introduces the notion that fun and healthy can co-exist by leveraging amazing good-for-you flavors, convenience and portability.

Saladshots’ portable individual serve dressings have flavors that echo "Ben & Jerry's", and include: Mac-N-Cheese, Mint Basil, Citrus Ginger, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Rose Petal and PB&J to name a few.  The creative style of “Ben & Jerry’s” has made its way to dressings...finally.

In addition, eating healthy "on the go" is a real challenge, and Saladshots transforms that paradigm through the low eco footprint of its packaging, and the shelf stability of its products.  You can take them anywhere, any time. 

Saladshots explored every possible avenue to offer salad dressings in the most eco-friendly way possible. With state-of-art packaging technology specifically, a BPA-free pouch that better protects flavor and nutrients, and requires lower, shorter heat times, codifying quality while providing portability.

Saladshots has developed the ultimate salad dressing experience:

re-sealable 2.5 oz. shelf stable, individual serve pouches that can be used for pouring and dipping with salads and vegetables. Consumers are time-starved, on-the-go, and demand flavorful choices from ‘better for you’ products. Saladshots has filled a gap in an eco-conscious way and this is Better For You.

Focused on quality, flavor and portability, Saladshots’ dressings are consumer-inviting, interactive and participatory, all while being focused on adults, kids, and families “on the go”.  These family friendly dressings are built around: taste, originality, complexity, nutrition and fun!

For more on Saladshots visit: Website:

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy. is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leveraging Restaurant Brand Power via “The Frozen Food Court”

If success leaves clues and listening is a key to success then we all need to listen when grocery store category managers refer to the freezer aisle turning into the new restaurant "frozen food court".  Regular readers of this blog know I first wrote about the “Frozen Food Court” in 2009. Expanding restaurant brands has never been as important as it is today.

Channel blurring only exists in the blind eye of Neanderthal restaurant chain brand managers. Today restaurant brand managers must understand their brand and their customers. If they do they can integrate marketing plans that complement their consumer’s food consumptions footprint while positioning the brand in multiple channels of distribution. 

Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Safeway each has incorporated a "frozen food court" in the frozen food aisle. Utilizing both national and regional restaurant branded food. Companies the ilk of Boston Market, TGI Friday's, PF Chang's, California Pizza Kitchen,  Taco Bell, Burger King are the most-thorough players with complete or nearly-complete programs at retail. But many restaurants are either looking at leveraging their brands or are jumping in feet first, including Romano's Macaroni Grill, El Pollo Loco, Captain D's, O'Charley's, while others are like Darden trying it by just dipping their toes in. The grocery store and the restaurant brand all garner additional top line revenue and bottom line profits leveraging branded products.

Repeated evidence shows that the distinction in differentiation is a value of the brand. Leveraging that value within additional retail segments is simply contemporary consumer relevance. Is your brand relevant? Restaurant consumers are dynamic not static, leveraging new channels of distribution works wonders.

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy .  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Meal Time is Anytime.

Non-traditional fresh food retailers have expanded consumer’s choice in where consumers buy, eat, and enjoy fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat, and Heat-N-Eat food. Fuel by an abundance of newly created part time jobs, irregular working hours, free time today the food landscape filling with non-traditional retailers.  Those retailers simply put have seized the opportunity directly from existing operators.  Creating havoc for legacy food retailers that continues today.  

The prized millennial consumers are breaking legacy stereotypes forcing old school food marketers to adjust offerings. The food industry must redefine the very definition of “meal occasion” for expanding consumer choice combined with new avenues of fresh food distribution have created a platform new was for consumers to prepare meal on the go, at home, or when out and about. This new platform is focused on consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization.

Gone are the days of “three square meals a day”.  A recent studies finds that millennial's are eating as often as five times a day.  That baby boomers are now eating four meal periods a day.  These new meal periods are comprised of smaller meals or what was once considered snacks are evenly split in both groups between AM and PM day-parts depending to individual lifestyle and schedules.

Food marketers are not unaware and have followed the customers into this new era growing at 6.9% these new “meal occasions” add up to over 420.3Bn  occasions across the quick-service, full-service, mobile carts and trucks, vending and other new non-traditional points of distribution.

Here are some chain restaurant examples garnered from reports by both NPD Group and Mintel International:   Boston Market’s “Market Sliders,” Subway’s 6-inch sub, Long John Silver’s Lobster Bites Snack Box, Caribou Coffee’s calorie-laden chocolate specialty drinks,[2] and McDonald’s Big Mac Snack Wrap and smaller McFlurry ice cream cup. Taco Bell is riding its Fourthmeal promotion (the meal between dinner and breakfast). Full-service restaurants are countering with small plates (also known as appetizers or tapas) in conjunction with happy hours. “

Meal time is anytime, what are you doing to capture a larger share of stomach? How many day-parts do your customers leverage at your outlets? Is your brand consumer interactive, inviting and offering convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization?

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Visit the global leader in the Grocerant niche  or Johnson,, Call: 1-253-759-7869

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Time-Share, Hotel Room or Home, Fresh Food is Getting Quick n Easy

Are you attending yet another tradeshow in Las Vegas? Taking the family on a get-a-way at your time-share?  After standing up on the Las Vegas convention center floor in the same spot all day, or simply waking the floor you are in no mood to go out and stand in line once again for dinner? 

Not to worry with the launch of Quick n Easy Couriers you have a new affordable way to rest, eat and get off your feet.  Quick n Easy Couriers is customized just for its customers. Currently with over 2,000 SKU’s in stock Quick n Easy is grocery food delivery that “stocks their online store with new products based on customer requests and can deliver products from multiple stores.”

Traveling to Las Vegas Quick n Easy Couriers offers a superior grocery delivery service at a fraction of the cost of other grocery delivery services with an unlimited number of potential items.  There is no charge to open an account simply visit: then you can follow Quick n Easy Couriers on Facebook and receive additional discounts on select items, go to

Quick n Easy Couriers platform offers a dynamic user experience and offers products based on customer demand - not supply. If you don't see your favorite brand, you can simply submit an email request to to have the item added within 24 hours.

The next time you are visiting Las Vegas in a Hotel Room, Time-share or staying with friends create your own welcome mat order from Quick n Easy in fact you can order up too two weeks in advance. So, get off your feet, put your feet up and enjoy your next trip it just might be Quick n Easy.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® has been the leader in the grocerant niche.  Contact us via Email at: Johnson, or

Monday, September 23, 2013

Can Wild Oats Tame Fresh & Easy?

Wild Oats halo of fresh prepared “better for you” quality food and build in customer base accustom to Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food could be the catalyst for success that Fresh & Easy needs. Success at Fresh & Easy will prove disruptive both for the California Convenience store sector and the Grocery sector.  

Consumers today assemble meals they do not cook from scratch unless it is a “special” occasion.  Research shows that those special occasions are becoming fewer and fewer. Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Steven Johnson recently stated “Mix and Match meal components contribute greatly to the success of the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food grocerant niche. They are consumer interactive, participatory and a platform for customization and family meal cohesion.”  

It was not so long ago that Wild Oats had a strong base of “better for you” customers.  Not so long ago that Wild Oats was leading the industry with fresh prepared “better for you” mix and match meal bundling components. Wild Oats help create an industry platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization that continues today.  

Wild Oats customers remember being both interactive and participatory with the brand, the food, and meal assembly. If success leaves clues leveraging the successful attributes of both the Wild Oats name and the evolving grocerant niche might be a clue for Fresh & Easy. 

I firmly believe that a name change to Wild Oats replacing Fresh & Easy combined with an updated integrated consumer focused platform of convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization will be successful, consumer driven and industry disruptive.

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Visit the global leader in the Grocerant niche  or Johnson,,


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Has Legacy Restaurant Food Innovation Become Copy The Other Guy?

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Steven Johnson often says “Today differentiation does not really mean different it means familiar with a twist.” The problem is copy-cat product and copy-cat marketing only works in a duopoly.  The restaurant industry is not a duopoly. Some are going to lose, soon.  

Corporate marketers with legacy restaurant chains strive to keep up with their competitors. When they fall behind (lose market share) in days gone by they would lose their job! Not in today’s world, they simply copy what the industry niche sector leader is doing, quieting disgruntled franchises or shareholders. 

When this occurs success is based on points of distribution and product price, rather than creating incremental brand value. Everyone loses; stakeholders, shareholders, franchisees most importantly consumers.

Management complacency and mediocrity seem to be today’s status quo rather than consumers focused driven brand teams.   Life is simple for chain C-level executives, don’t risk innovation, follow the leader, and maintain niche equilibrium and the stock options and paychecks keep rolling in.  The loser may not just be the consumer from lack of true innovation, brand values drop, consumer brand apathy increases, and market share capitulation is a direct result. 

In reality differentiation becomes product price and points of distribution rather innovative new products, or service.   Then price and location become more important value than the brand.   When looking outside in from the consumers perspective there is very little overall difference between; TGI Fridays, Houlihan's, Bennigan’s for example or between McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King.  Within the Pizza sector, a similar set of problems from the consumer perspective exist between Pizza Hut, Dominos; Papa John’s Godfathers they all having the same number one selling pizza pepperoni.          

Legacy brands simply capitulate market share as an unintended consequence copy-cat marketing and executive compliancy.  More and more copy-cat marketing can be the seductress of compliancy and mediocrity for CEO’s & COO’s of major restaurant chains today.  When C-level officers and brand marketers are more focused on the controlling brand; staying within their niche and within their four walls rather than paying attention to the consumer, a loss of market share is sure to follow.  Innovation must continue in-order to maintain consumer relevance.

For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact visit   

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Private Label and Menu Development Professionals are Needed.

Ready-2-eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food aka grocerant niche retail food offerings are driving top line growth in every sector of retail food service. Increasing top line revenue, customer continuity, bottom line profits in the food industry should be an ongoing focus of all retailers. New menu and private label professionals are urgently need to continue grocerant niche growth.

 Customer continuity means maintaining a level of excitement in your menu or food products that drive contemporized relevance.  New differentiated items stimulate  your customers and drive increased frequency levels.

Creating or identifying distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part is an area each brand must focus.  Understanding the unique balance between palate, price, pleasure and the consumer’s drive for qualitative distinctive differentiated new food consumables will place you in a select industry grouping.

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.  Private label brand managers have been contributing by expanding quality offerings while displacing national brands.  Are you edifying your menu or product offerings?

Outside eyes can bring new light and assist in your pace of growth, redevelopment and deployment of your new menus with appropriate COG’s. Foodservice Solutions® is very good at assisting people reach their goals. The grocerant niche is in need of private label menu developers to assist in building long term brand value for both individual product and brands for companies around the country like:
1.       Super Max, San Juan
2.       Metropolitan Market, Seattle
3.       Super King, Orange County
4.       Duane Reed, New York
5.       Wawa, Philadelphia
6.       McDonalds, Chicago Coast to Coast and around the World its “My McDonalds”
7.       Trader Joe’s

If you have experience within the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food niche as a menu/product or LTO developer you are in the right space at the right time. If you are not sure what the Reasy-2-Eat and Heat-nN-Eat fresh food aka Grocerant niche is visit

 Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® has been the leader in the grocerant niche.  Contact us via Email at: Johnson, or

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Chain Restaurant Status Quo is Broken

Traditional restaurant brand building practices are no longer effective; they aren't just broken, they simply no longer work. They are Kaput, Dying, Replaced, they are Yesterday.  The customer has moved.  Have you? Has your brand?  

The retail food consumer has moved, competition has increased, and Multi-channel retail has been replaced with Omni-channel retail.  Simply put, the playing field has changed, and if you're still playing on old turf with yesterday's rules, you are in trouble and you’re company is in big trouble.   

If you are sitting back waiting for the economy to rebound, food prices to drop or customers to come rushing back in the door.  It just might be too late. Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Steven Johnson has been following the consumer since 1991 and outlining the new universal success clues, actions, and language of the consumer.  

The rise of the grocerant niche has not been sudden, not dynamic, rather a steady evolution highlighted and accelerated by an economic down turn.  The consumers has new priorities, protocols and engaged new technologies, is more informed, embracing new avenues of fresh prepared food distribution.  Gone are the days when having a “restaurant quality” dinner means going to a restaurant exclusively.  

Gone are the days of Top Down Menu Development. In the new evolving world of Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food it is about the consumer. It’s about creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization. It is no longer about you promoting, you selling, you pushing or your LTO. It is about the consumer, the community, inclusion.  

Success comes in this new era of Omni-channel fresh prepared food by empowering franchisee to test, to try, to fail.  Success will come when you empower all customer-facing teams in daily cross-functional engagement, from C-level to line level. Success will come when you invite, include, empower customer input.  

The customer has moved.  Restaurant brands today must move with the consumer or risk losing consumers to new avenues of fresh food distribution. The gone are the days of brand protectionism practices at all cost. Today brand protectionism is a brand that is consumer interactive and participatory.

Visit  If you are 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.

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Breakfast Finding Success in All Channels

Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat Fresh and prepared food aka grocerant niche food is evolving faster than many legacy food potentates would like you to believe. Breakfast entrée’s and beverages have been driving top line sales and bottom line profits within the QSR, Convenience store, and Grocery sectors consistently the past three years. 

While many dismiss the viability of fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat breakfast within the grocery sector we know better. Companies the ilk of Metropolitan Market, SuperMax and Hy-Vee all have had success in breakfast.  In fact we tracked over 200 customers at one SuperMax location this year in one hour between 6AM and 9AM and regularly average 100+ per hour.  Breakfast can be an AM Day-Part Driver.  

Hy-Vee has been serving breakfast for over 35+ years.  Regular readers of this blog know breakfast is nothing new to any of these sectors.  What is new is consumers are increasing frequency of purchase of breakfast in each of these sectors and more and more within c-stores and grocery stores.
In the case of Hy-Vee Brooke Barnes, director of restaurant development at Hy-Vee said:
Advertisement“Breakfast has been a significant piece of our business model for years, and we have a solid reputation for both quality and value in the customers’ minds,… This long-lasting breakfast offering means Hy-Vee’s breakfast is already part of consumers’ routines.”

Barns continued “We have a full sit-down area, but of course people can take it to go if they prefer.” The Hy-Vee  breakfast menu, is typical with standard items like eggs, hash browns, French toast, omelets, breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches and skillets, are priced for value from $2 to $7.99. Barns stated that “The most popular breakfast items would be the breakfast traditional of two eggs, cooked to order, golden hash browns, and choice of meat — bacon, sausage patties or links — and toast.” 

Hy-Vee is evolving with the times Barnes said: “We’ve stayed with the traditional offerings, but in recent years we kept our focus on quality while adding a variety of things such as breakfast sandwiches — the Texas 2-Hand and the Breakfast Deli Stack — and all the way to adding larger breakfast items such as our skillet breakfast, our Hy-Five [pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns] and larger omelets.”

Non-traditional fresh food convenience stores have had breakfast for years as well.  When I went to school I had breakfast at Wawa daily. I can state Wawa had more customers in the AM day-part than the local McDonalds.  In fact Wawa at times had 30 cars in the parking lot to two in the drive thru at McDonalds.  Breakfast and coffee can be huge in the C-store sector.

Today C-stores are not sitting still either, evolving new product offerings with the consumer 7 Eleven has breakfast empanada bites and Wawa has breakfast quesadillas. Success does leave clues and Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food for Breakfast is your clue for today.  

Visit If you are 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.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® has been the leader in the grocerant niche.  Contact us via Email at: Johnson, or

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Safeway’s Footprint Malaise Contributing to Customer Migration

Safeway excels implementing tactics within the retail food space. However, tactics no matter how good do not replace an integrated strategy.  Safeway continues to suffer footprint malaise.  Bigger is not always better.
Safeway when implementing its new “lifestyle” stores did a great job understanding the consumers focus on Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food aka grocerant niche food. Legacy companies sometimes make legacy leadership mistakes and Safeway added new space to many stores adding the grocerant niche product offerings.
Consumers do not want larger footprints. Consumers are time-starved and research has indicated this for 20 plus years.  Consumers want to get in and get out, so why did Safeway do it?  Simple they wanted satisfy an outdated legacy Wall Street metric “basket size” utilizing a legacy mind-set bigger store, bigger basket.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru, Steven Johnson has stated “frequency trumps, basket size”.
In Canada from 2009 until 2011 the entire grocery sector capitulated very close to 2% of market share.  While that was in Canada, the US experienced similar declines and Safeway was forced to sell its Canadian division this this year.
Safeway is the second-largest U.S. grocery-store chain it still suffers from footprint malaise all the while benefiting from 42+ million SNAP program subsidy.  When the economy turns around and the number of people in the SNAP program diminishes; what then? That is not just a Safeway problem that is a grocery sector problem. Wonder where consumers are migrating to other than dollar stores, and C-stores? A recent Foodservice Solutions® study “Food Parity for America” found McDonalds is an aspirational brand for SNAP program consumers.  
Joe Feldman at Telsey Advisory Group a New York based retail analyst said Safeway ”has cleaned up its business recently by agreeing to sell its Canadian stores and conducting an initial public offering of its gift-card unit. The moves may help increase its free cash flow, making it more attractive to private-equity buyers”, …“Maybe there’s the thought that with the cash flow you could take on more debt,” 
Safeway, operates close to 1,400 stores in the U.S., last year it had free cash flow of $1.57 billion, a 69 percent increase from the previous year. The chain’s price-to-earnings ratio of 13.1 trails the 18.2 average ratio of S&P 500 Consumer Staples Sector Index companies. The numbers look good? But remember that in the past 10 years there are only 350 additional grocery stores in the United States. Safeway and the grocery sector are experiencing customer migration at an ever increasing pace. That can not last.
Yet during the same 10 year time period there were an additional 11,500+ dollar stores and 16,200+ additional C-stores each selling food, in a smaller footprint?  C-stores selling more and more fresh prepared food in a smaller footprint and many consumers consider C-store food quality “restaurant quality”. 
While Fresh & Easy or soon maybe “Wild Oats” is on hiatus; Safeway will be getting a break in its strongest home territory.  Food retailers that edify their brands within the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food niche aka the grocerant niche will garner market share.  Safeway has time to edify it’s footprint by not expand existing footprints, rather expanding Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh  prepared food aka grocerant niche food offerings.

Visit If you are 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.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® has been the leader in the grocerant niche.  Contact us via Email at: Johnson, or

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Texas Tamale Company Thriving in the Grocerant Niche

Omni-channel restaurant success is not limited to chain restaurants. Take for example Texas Tamale Company an independent restaurant focusing food and consumers desires for “better for you” products. The Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared better for you food space aka the grocerant niche is garnering attention from consumers and both larger and small retail food operations.  

Here is how the Texas Tamale Company background unfolds: “In the early 1980s, a West Houston couple was making a name for themselves by creating fresh gourmet lard-free tamales and fresh salsa in their home kitchen. As word spread of the great taste of these fresh and healthy tamales, the demand for a lard-free tamale grew. Enough interest was generated so that the couple began selling from a street-side cart on the far west side of Houston….

It did not take long to outgrow their home kitchen and Texas Tamale Company. “The Mexican Deli” was opened on Fountain View, just a few miles from Houston’s prestigious Galleria area. Commitment to quality and customer service soon made them a well-known Houston tradition serving some of the tastiest tamales in town.” 

Authentic quality food that is Ready-2-Eat and or Heat-N-Eat branded, bundled, differentiated as an entity with identity no matter what the size of the company can find success in an Omni-channel retail world.

Texas Tamale leveraging mix and match meal component bundling one of the hallmarks of the grocerant niche entered the online ordering space and now ships to all 50 states.

Independent restaurants can leverage multi-channel opportunities to sell more than just food like Texas Tamales they can extend the brand into non-food products as well.  Success does leave clues and Texas Tamale Company success within the grocerant niche is a clue for large and small companies alike.

 Visit If you are 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.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® has been the leader in the grocerant niche.  Contact us via Email at: Johnson, or