Sunday, September 22, 2019

Mix & Match Meal Components Are What’s for Dinner

Meal planning begins for most Americans close to 4 PM, as that’s when it’s time most of you are about to end your work day and head home.  In fact, 83.2 % of all US consumers are unsure about what's for dinner at 11:30 AM and 64.7% don’t know what’s for dinner at 4PM in the United States according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson found in recent Grocerant ScoreCards.
Today, Time Starved Consumers are looking for high quality Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meal components. Time starved consumers want to purchase meal components that they can bundle into a customized family meal that will please everyone without spending time cooking. Regular readers of this blog know that mix & match meal components are the hallmark of the grocerant niche.  
Times are changing and consumers traditionally thought that these items could only be found in grocery stores in the deli / lifestyle section, or in C-stores in the prepared food area and prepackaged, and as Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh food items.  Today, restaurants are all offering meals To-go, Takeout or Take-Away or delivery section of the menu or on the website, directly competing with grocery stores.
The retail industry has expanded and is evolving to keep up with the demands of consumers desire to save time, improve quality, increase family flavor profile, while enabling personalization and family meal customization.
Miz & Match Grocerant Food can be found In:
Restaurant examples are McDonalds, Pret A Manger Burger King, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy's and Starbucks, each having a fresh Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food. In the Casual Dining sector Maggiano's Little Italy offers a buy one take a 2nd home for free in their Classic Pastas menu section, Olive Garden, Chili’s, Boston Market and Denny’s.  That is to name but a few.
 Drug Store examples Walgreens as a food destination yet Walgreens sells fresh soft-serve yogurt, coffee, sandwiches, salads and sushi at selected stores, so they are technically grocerants.
 Convenience Store examples are 7 Eleven, Wawa, Sheetz, Sheetz, and QuickChek, all of which sell fresh and prepared sandwiches, salads, beverages.
 Clothing Stores Tommy Bahama, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Brooks Brothers all have or are planning restaurants selling fresh prepared food in-store. Fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food is garnering consumer favor in this sector.  Expect to find more and more clothing retailers entering the grocerant niche.
 Furniture Stores & Liquor Store example Ikea sells over $ 2 Billion a year in Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food in its stores (mostly meatballs-mash potatoes), Pinkies in San Angelo, Texas this past holiday season even offered complete fresh prepared full Turkey Dinners will all of the traditional side orders.  All of the fresh prepared food is prepared on site and sold To-Go. 
Supermarket examples are Whole Foods, Trader-Joes, Central Market, and Wegmans sell fresh prepared chicken, salads, sandwiches and most offer sushi and beverages. Many are now opening in-store restaurants including fast food, full service sit down and bars all offer fresh prepared To-Go as well.
Grocerant Food is Family Food
The retail supermarket and convenience store sector have unique grocerant challenges. Presentation of the Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is important. When you get a meal at a restaurant, the plate and the food look great… let's call this "food for now". Many legacy retailers are primarily selling "food for later" or take-out and unless an item is a sandwich, the looks of Ready-2-Eat meals and snacks begin to change.
Why is it so hard to package food to go? In the Hot food section of the grocery store the food in most cases does not look appealing so our expectations drop when we get it for Take-Away. That may be one reason that many grocery stores are continue to open restaurants or “food courts” selling made to order fresh sandwiches or Chinese take-out.
In convenience stores like Wawa, the Ready-2-Eat food looks great in the To-Go containers. Why? Because Wawa puts the entire consumer food package together. They exert more control on the look and feel of "food for later".
Around the world we are now seeing sections in department's stores and kiosk in malls in Europe and Asia and airports around the world. The items can range from entrees to side items and deserts. Some examples of items range from fried chicken, mash potatoes, cream spinach, to liver and onions, pizza, hot dogs, steak, prime rib, various casseroles (hot-dish) to salads, side salads pie, cake and any single proportioned deserts. They can be picked up at the specific unit, or delivered.
Visit:  if you are 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 or you can learn more at Johnson, or

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