Do you have time to eat, time for dinner, or even time for cooking at home today?
If you are "Ready-2-Eat" there is a very good chance you are looking for fresh prepared multi-flavor, multi-ethnic Grocerant meal components. Heat-N-Eat and Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared food with portability are driving retail food success in 2013. Where are you shopping for you food today is not the same place your mother was nor is the meal prepared the same way.
As long as multi-generational family's gather for meals together, the demand for more divergent flavors continues to permeate. Grocerant mix and match bundled meal component offerings allow for increased family integration, understanding and acceptance in less time without a required cook from scratch skill set.
In the 1940's cooking from scratch was the normal. The average home cooked meal took 150 minutes to prepare. Everyone sat down at the table and enjoyed it or not but they all ate the same thing. Today's "home cooked meal" takes on average less than 30 minutes to prepared. In most cases at least two different entrées are served.
The average time spent inside a McDonalds in the 2,000 was 11 minutes. Today 65+ percent of all McDonald's food is sold via the drive-thru. U.S. fast-food chains are increasingly remodeling restaurants in an effort to garner additional drive-thru customers inside and increase sales, simple because the drive-thru can't hold all the cars.
According to the New York Times Magazine - McDonalds Came Back Bigger Than Ever McDonald's Corp. saw a 50% increase in sales during the first quarter of 2012 after opening a remodeled restaurant in Riverside, California, that features a new décor, solar panels on the carport, and ceiling panels that contain L.E.D. lights. During the first 12 months, sales at this restaurant increased 20% overall.
Walgreens is creating and bundling distinctive differentiated food consumable's as an entity with identity by day part in a mix and match meal component format in select urban setting targeted at both the office worker for lunch and meal components for them to take home for the family dinner. It is a successful program. With over 7,550 units operating in the United States Walgreens has the potential to become the most disruptive force in food retailing in 50 years. Walgreens with its modular mid-sized foot-print is garnering customers from both restaurants and grocery stores.
Consumers Want Easy to Prepare Meals
The grocerant niche continues to grow with companies like Central Market, Whole Foods, Wegmans and 7 Eleven entering the fresh prepared better for you space. Meal time is now becoming a time of convenient meal participation, with differentiation and individualization for the entire family. Safeway with its lifestyle stores are heading in the right direction however the stores are so large consumers are forced to spend more time in them than they want.
More often than not the multi-generational family today is multi-ethnic as well. Creating a demand for more varied flavors and additional cooking skill set that is simply not there. Grocery stores, Convenience Stores, Restaurants and Chain Drug Stores are all selling ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food. Is your focus family dinning? Are you selling meals or meal components for Take-Out, delivery or Take-Away?
Lacking the skill set to prepared fresh prepared multi-ethnic meal components at home coupled with the time it takes to prepared a home cooked meal it is clear the buying habits of consumers will continue to evolve. Bundling mix and match meal components into a meal is one key driver within the grocerant niche. Given that most American family are comprised of multi-cultural background. The fight for share of stomach will only intensify.
Restaurants menu's at one time were very narrow in focus and have moved more upscale with offerings such as Oriental; Chicken Salad, Southwest Chicken Salad, along with a chef salads. Grocery stores on the other hand are expected to sell complete lines of reay-2-eat multi-ethnic food. That places higher expectations on grocers than restaurants or a company like Walgreens. Walgreens might just be in the perfect spot to expand fresh prepared food offerings capturing customers from both restaurants and supermarkets.