Monday, February 29, 2016

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® the Grocerant Niche Keeps Growing

Back in the day say the mid-1980’s Home Meal Replacement / Solutions (RMS) was the talk of the retail food industry. Many research companies and retailers dismissed RMS as it morphed from a sideshow to the main stage.  Foodservice Solutions® team did not.  In fact Foodservice Solutions® team and our own Grocerant Guru® reclassified, quantified, qualified, and named the Grocerant niche. All while creating a platform of success with progressive retailers and fresh food manufactures.  

What many legacy grocers failed to understand was the opportunity for fresh prepared food as a day-part meal opportunity / solution because most grocery retailers do not believe they are in the meals business. More important most grocery retailers did not want to be in the fresh prepared meal business, they wanted to be in ‘fill customers pantry’ business. The fill the pantry business has long since vanished as have many legacy grocery chains

Grocery retailer’s mind-set in the 1980’s was Home Meal Replacement specifically in store fresh prepared food cost too much to produce, threw their labor out of line, created scheduling problems, and had too much wasted food.  That same mind-set holds true today for many legacy grocery retailers today.  

Maybe that’s why most legacy grocery stores continue to struggle driving profitability with grocerant Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  Just look how Kroger stumbled with their new concept Main and Vine. Winn Dixie on the other hand opened a new customer focus fresh food focused new concept store to find incremental success and increased customer relevance. 

Legacy grocery retailers simply did not want to deal with fresh prepared food back in the day nor do they today.  I guess that is why they cut corners, mass produced product that they call fresh, packaged it like it was a CPG brand, and let it sit on display or under heat lamps way to long.  In short they blew it then and most are making the same mistake today. 

The pantry business is rapidly diminishing according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®. While category managers can quickly tell grocery retailers what is selling inside their stores, how to price it, and where to position it.  Category managers have no idea where the customers went.  Nor can they explain how start-up mail-order meal-kits companies in three years have annual sale of $1 billion a year.  That is pantry disruptive growth, and a concern for legacy retailers.

In an era of consumer transparency category management tactics have fallen out of favor with consumers.  Or as our Grocerant Guru® put’s it “the consumer is not stupid, they have figured out what retailers are doing and dislike any company trying to trick / fool customers into buying a product in the era of transparence legacy retailers utilizing such tactics will face customer rebellion.”  Fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food has the ‘hallo’ of ‘better for you’ from the consumer perspective and continues gaining momentum. 

Consumers are dynamic not static, the Grocerant niche continues to grow around the world and our Grocerant Guru® has been leading the drive for top line sales and bottom line profits within the grocerant niche since 1991.  
Food manufactures are searching for new, fresh food opportunity and that is something Foodservice Solutions® continues to excel at.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™  as regular readers of this blog know has repeatedly stated that “consumers never take step back in food quality or freshness”.   The food retail industry today is no longer at a crossroad.  The consumer has moved.  It’s simply a question within the legacy grocery retailers if they want to move forward with consumer or not.  

Back in the day it used to be restaurant chefs were the industry tastemakers and retail eventually playing copy-cat caught up with the trends. Today many tastemakers come from Grocerant niche retailers. Yes, the times they are a changing. 

Driven by increased demand and customer migration from cook from scratch to Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food  everyone from Soccer Mom’s to Senior Citizens are putting pressure on retailers for fresh prepared food.  All retailers are in a fierce battle to garner a larger share of stomach and the battle for customers is taking place within the grocerant nice Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food space.

Grocery stores are now playing catch-up with the fast expanding Convenience store sector that is focusing on Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  Companies the ilk of Wawa, Sheetz, and Rutter’s Farm Stores all are finding success with fresh prepared food.  Overall convenience stores are doing a better job within the grocerant niche than legacy grocery stores according to our Grocerant Guru®.

Seemingly trapped in footprint malaise traditional grocery retailers are closing stores, capitulating market share. Success does leave clues and legacy food retailers must adopt a new view, and new business model, the Grocerant model.  Foodservice Solutions® can help any retailer looking to drive top line sales and bottom line profits within the Grocerant sector.   specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities for your product or your brand.  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche since 1991 Contact:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Thorntons Food Quality Ready-2-Eat Fresh Food

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson believes when the “customer moves successful companies move with them.” That is exactly what Thorntons, the brand once known for gasoline, candy bars, and tobacco products is doing.  Thorntons seeking incremental customer relevance is now focusing on grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food. 

With 183 locations Thorntons has refocused, repositioned, and  rolled out a new store design that includes prepared hot foods, fresh fruits, baked goods, and coffee displays up front and under the On the Go brand. Focusing on fresh the new hot sandwiches and pizza, are made in onsite kitchens reinforcing freshness.

This is no half attempt at Thorntons is focused on each day-part starting with an oatmeal breakfast bar. Thorntons food is made fresh, but not to order like a restaurant and that is a clear porint of differentiation built-in to increase speed of service. It’s ready to grab and go, which happens most often, representatives said, between 6 and 11 a.m. Clearly, though, by serving fresh sandwiches and hot pizza, the goal is to push deeper into the day and feed anyone anytime they’re hungry.

Thorntons AM day-part extends until the morning menu until 6 p.m. A breakfast burrito will be an additional staple in all 183 locations by March. Other favorites are a four cheese and pepperoni pizza, buffalo chicken burrito, various sandwiches and croissants. Of course to help drive the AM day-part donuts that complement the extensive fresh coffee offerings. 

Success does leave clues.  Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing the same way?  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?  Email us at:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Grocery Stores Diminishing Customer Value

Success does leave clue as doe’s failure.  When the American Customer Satisfaction Index (A.C.S.I.) issued on Feb. 23 showed a supermarket satisfaction rating of 73, off 4% from its 76 in 2014.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® was not surprised stating “legacy grocery stores doing the same thing the same way when the customer is on the move in not a recipe for success.” 

The grocery stores that are not Looking A Customer Ahead  are slipping while companies the ilk of  Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, H-E-B and Publix continuing to do well or coming on strong, while Walmart, Giant Eagle and Albertsons did not measure up to customer expectations or  customer satisfaction, the numbers for those stores have hit the skids.

Wegmans innovating grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food, product mix, and merchandising, is an example of the importance of a food merchant first, then category management mentality can drive top line growth and bottom line profits.  So it’s no surprise Wegmans actually improved its score from 85 to 86 (a 1% bump). Trader Joe’s score was 83; H-E-B, 82; Publix, 82; and discounter Aldi, 81.

The let’s keep doing what we have always done and doing it the same way stores who’s dropping scores, including Walmart (down 6% from 71 to 67). Other “bottom dwellers” on the list were Giant Eagle (67) and Albertsons (68). The chain falling the furthest was Target, dropping 12% from 81 to 71. 

David VanAmburg, managing director of the A.C.S.I. stated “when consumers put a premium on service and quality, smaller companies often achieve higher customer satisfaction scores, and it’s the smaller independent chains that continue to set the bar for supermarkets.”

That just may be why grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food start-ups the ilk of Green Zebra Grocery, Pinkies Liquor, and expanding revived, repositioned Eatzi’s are thriving, evolving and garnering new customers driving top line sales and bottom line profits. 

Do you understand how to drive top line growth and bottom line profits within the Grocerant Niche?  Looking for Outside Eye’s for help?  Call Foodservice Solutions® at 253-759-7869 or visit our website at: or Email our Global Grocerant Expert at