Friday, April 21, 2017

Whole Foods Fresh Food Sampling Provides Lift

Consolidation in the grocery sector has come to mean but one thing incremental grocery store closings, additional CPG price cuts and lower prices for consumers and lower profits for the retailer.  All of that is overshadowed by the fact that consumers continue migrating to other avenues of fresh food distribution.  There are now 27 restaurants for every grocery store in the US.  When will the grocery sector take fresh prepared food seriously?

Today grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat ‘better-for-you’ fresh prepared food can be found at Drug Stores, Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores and Liquor stores.  One company that stands out is Whole Foods Market as they know that sampling food products drives sales. Operationally no one samples fresh prepared food as well as Whole Foods does in the industry today according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.

For those thinking that Whole Foods is an acquisition target let me say this.  If Whole Foods were ever to be acquired; it would be for the excellent progressive industry tested, proven, superior executive leadership team.  No other team in the industry understands consumer interactivity, Grocerant fresh food, and the halo of ‘better-for-you’ than the team at Whole Foods. They have tested more relevant attributes of Grocerant fresh prepared food than any retailer.  They tested, learned, and continue to evolve with the consumer like no other grocer in the industry today. They are positioned to win.

Drug Stores, C-stores, grocery stores, and club stores are all beginning to see is that grocerant niche private label fresh prepared food sales pick up steam driving top line sales and bottom line profits. Many companies are now utilizing the use of samples on both grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared private label food to build sales while legacy CPG national brands struggle with a relevant advertising message.

Whole Foods consumer interactive participatory Ready-2-Eat food stations scattered about their stores are inviting sampling, trial, and an invitation for customer adoption.  Whole Foods has utilized sampling as a way to build customer product relevance and elevate quality. Safeway’s lifestyle stores have increased sampling, as an obligation not as an invitation much the same way Kroger does. 

Companies the ilk Costco sampling their own private label Heat-N-Eat products in the store, and Pinkies Liquor stores doing the same have learned from Whole Foods creating customer relevance and an invitation for adoption.

Legacy industry analyst that continue to use yesterday’s metrics in today’s fast evolving retail world let me put it this way sampling provided as sales lift within the store while building larger basket. Let’s face it there is no metric more antiquated than that one. But there I did use it too.  

In a study published in Progressive Grocer on established brands sampling found “the sales lift the day of the event was 177 percent greater than the control group, which received no samples. It remained up 57% after the 20-week period.”

Food retailers the ilk of restaurants, C-stores, new, or established brands, there is one thing you must continue to do and that is sample Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food products within your 4 walls.
Research on restaurants show’s 33% of customers that arrive at your restaurant every day have never eaten in your specific unit.

If you’re a national brand that does not mean the customer in your store today has ever been in your store before or that customer has been exposed to your brand. Capture that experience in a positive way! Sample Service, Sample Product, Sample Hospitality, for independent fresh food retailers and regional players the opportunity is even greater!

Join me here on my blog for insights, information and inspiration. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit or on Facebook at Steven Johnson Contact the Grocerant Guru® directly at:


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