Friday, June 25, 2021

Grocerant Fresh Food Edifies Consumer Choice


Empowering consumer choice will drive incremental sales. Success does leave clues and how and where consumers obtain dinner is a key driver of grocerant niche growth and foodservice channel migration according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

The Debate

Cook dinner from scratch, eat at a restaurant, pick-up a prepared meal at a grocer, order a meal Online from a virtual restaurant, or have mix & match meal components delivered. In a new report from Paytronix Systems found that consumers spent a collective $769 billion ordering food from restaurants last year, with 63% of that — or $486 billion —consumed at home.

Of the $486 billion, 89% was ordered via desktop websites, mobile apps and aggregator apps, the report found. Additionally, 61% of digital food orders in 2020 was spent at restaurants that had only offered dine-in service before the pandemic.

The report also found that consumers spent 50% more on average when they placed orders online for takeout. At noon there are 82.3% of consumers that do not know what’s for dinner.  The simple fact according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant ScoreCards is in 2021 at 4 PM 61.1% of consumers do not know what they are going to have for dinner. 

The undercurrents of demographic change continue to drive the uncertainty according to Johnson fully 47.0% of Americans over the age of 18 are single and the need to cooking from scratch and planning for them is simply not top-of-mind.  In fact fast our 2021 ScoreCards indicate that for singles fully 76.2% top choice is ‘where to pick up dinner’.

The Choice Cook or Up-Pick-Up Meal Components

Consumers today have a plethora of choices for when it comes to dinner.  Traditionally consumers would buy food at a grocery store and cook from scratch but that was 1950-1970 and then the undercurrents of change began with an abundance of great restaurant choice and increasing fresh prepared food options at grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores. All driven by increasing time constraints on consumers combined with an increased lack of cooking skill set for new international flavor profiles consumers have become accustom. Here are some more recent insights into picking up mix and match meal components.


1.       83.1% all dinners have at least 1 grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat meal component and 68.4% have two meal components.

2.       When asked if they wanted to cook dinner from scratch or assemble dinner from fresh meal components 90.4 % of Gen Z chose assemble from Fresh Prepared Meal Components and Millennials 82.7% chose meal components.

3.       Seventy-three percent of retail prepared food purchases are taken to go

4.       Prepared food purchases are frequently a planned purchase among 59% of shoppers, while 41% of shoppers said they buy prepared foods on impulse. Dinner has the highest amount of prepared food buys with 79% of respondents making purchases for that meal, while lunch comes in at 77% and breakfast at 62%.

5.       55% of consumers would like to try autonomous EV delivery


Hello fresh has followed suit and is now offering its meal kits at 581 Giant Food Stop & Shop grocery stores.  Johnson reminds us that those meal kits are for customers that want to cook at home and do dishes.  It’s important to note that those meal kits in grocery stores are competing with the service deli where rotisserie chicken and many other fresh prepared meal components are being sold and many are being sold for less than the cost of the meal kit.  

Bain & Co. estimates meal kit sales are “$1.5 billion annually” our Grocerant Guru® reminds us that number is like a cup of water in the Pacific Ocean. Nielsen states that meal kit spending is growing ‘more than three times as fast as other channels’ which might be more important number.

Restaurants & C-stores

Remember that 47.0% of all Americans over the age of 18 are single and restaurants and fast-food drive thru restaurants specifically offer fast fresh food fast that is portable and priced very competitively has become a compelling option for what’s for dinner. Fast casual restaurants along with full-service restaurants are increasingly offing delivery, pick-up or third party food delivery to compete with the drive-thru. 

The National Association of Convenience stores as regular readers of this blog know has tested their own meal kits in stores. C-stores have a decided advantage to restaurants and grocery stores according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant ScoreCards.  That advantage identified by 81.9% of respondents was the ability to mix & match meal components. Speed of service was second with 73.5% of consumers saying it was faster than either a restaurant or a grocery store.

Food Manufacturing Conundrum

Manufactures the ilk of Kraft-Hines, Campbell’s Soup, Tyson, Smucker’s, General Mills, and Unilever all must rethink how they are selling food.  Rethink where food is being bought? Most important food manufactures must reinvest in who is today’s consumers. Food manufactures must ask themselves do our products look more like yesterday than tomorrow.

So just what is your New Electricity? Success does leave clues  is the global leader in grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed a Grocerant Program Assessment, or new Grocerant niche product Ideation?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

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