Saturday, December 31, 2022

In 2023 Food Consumers are Educated, Engaged, Empowered


Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food will be at the intersection of creating an educated, elevated, engaging family meal in 2023.  Food retailers including restaurants, convenience stores, grocery service delis and dollar stores will all be competing for a larger share of stomach in this sector driving down prices while saving consumers time in 2023.

According to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, stated, “Price, Portability, Palate pleasing, will be the drivers of success in within the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food space throughout 2023.”

 The price of food will also be top of mind in the new year, with shoppers looking for extreme flavors, nostalgic foods, global cuisines and more. Holistic health and wellness will also rate highly for consumers, especially as Mintel found that 78% believe healthful eating is important for their emotional well-being. Expect shoppers to seek out products that support cognition and focus, stress and sleep, and mood.

1. Supermarkets uphold “stomach share” gains from restaurants.

Grocery industry executives still remark at how the food-at-home trend has continued well beyond the pandemic, and many think it has now reached the point of behavior change among consumers. That is, consumers—many of whom continue to work remotely—like what grocery stores have to offer for their daily meals and find the value appealing. This sentiment is likely to strengthen as supermarkets boost their deli grab-and-go and foodservice offerings and food-at-home price inflation relaxes, providing consumers a strong option to the high pricing at restaurants.

Frictionless shopping, MFCs among hot technologies.

You can’t give new-year predictions without naming leading technologies. Here are two. Next year, more shoppers will expect to be able to skip the checkout line at chain grocery stores (and convenience stores) through frictionless payment systems such as scan-and-go, smart shopping carts and solutions like Amazon’s Just Walk Out. Also, expect more food retailers to roll out automated micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) to support elevated online grocery demand and help build e-commerce profitability.

Value grocers add market share.

The trust that value-focused grocery chains built up with consumers amid high inflation will continue to pay dividends in 2023 in the form of more market share. Even with inflation easing up, food shoppers liked what they saw from these grocers—not just in terms of value, but also selection, quality and convenience—and will keep them in their grocery shopping mix.

One of 2022’s big labor stories was the sudden success unions found in organizing Starbucks and a number of small quick-service chains. Among the developments we’re likely to see in the new year is a shift in organized labor’s attention to full-service brands, with priority given to combating the tip credit.

Washington, D.C., has already lost the concession to full-service operators, and a Michigan court is deliberating right now on whether that state’s credit will be scuttled, too.

But that’s just the beginning. Republicans’ control of the U.S. House of Representatives makes the possibility of killing the credit on a national basis unlikely, but expect to see considerable activity on the state, county and municipal level.

Additionally, 41% of consumers are choosing low- to no-alcohol drinks to be healthier, according to Mintel sober bars study. There’s only a handful of completely alcohol-free bars now, but as sober socialization gains popularity, especially among Gen Z consumers, more of these will pop up. They serve inventive drinks made with alcohol-free spirits, and offer games, events and other fun activities to entice guests. There already are shops that sell only zero-proof spirits, beer and wine. The team at Foodservice Solutions® says don’t invest in one of these as the life span will be short. Why, existing outlet’s will be quick to invite a new set of consumers to avoid the ‘veto’ vote. 

Don’t over reach. Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit us on our social media sites by clicking the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

In 2023 Are You Building a 


Share of Stomach?

Friday, December 30, 2022

Meals that are Handheld are a Grocerant Success Story


Yes, we have just a couple of day before we ring in 2023. While many consumers are just starting to think about going a diet at the start of the year.  I want to take a look back at 2021, within the grocerant niche and let you know that bread is back. 

So, according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® the number one product for handheld food for immediate consumption is bread around world.  On top of that in a poll conducted by The Harris Poll confirmed it.  Let’s look at some recent numbers:

Then, according to that nationwide survey commissioned by General Mills Foodservice and conducted by The Harris Poll, Bread isn't just a key part of at-home meals. Americans' consumption of bread when dining out or getting takeout is on the rise.

Here is why it is a success; during the past year, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) report eating bread more than they normally would when dining out or ordering takeout and three in five Americans (60 percent) say they would rather indulge in a good bread item than dessert when dining out.

Chef Curt Wagner, part of the Chefs of the Mills team, stated "Bread and the associated carbs used to get a bad rap, but we are really seeing consumers come back to bread," … "From home bakers attempting to make sourdough and banana bread to diners seeking out the bread items they love but don't have the time or skills to make on their own, it appears we are all craving and eating more bread. I expect to see a resurgence of indulgent and creative bread menu items in the year ahead."

Consumers who are eating more bread when dining out or ordering takeout during the past year are doing so because it is offered as a complimentary "starter" (52 percent); because it is comforting (45 percent); to fulfill a craving (36 percent); to indulge (29 percent); or to reward themselves (25 percent).

Favorite bread items include garlic bread (61 percent), rolls (47 percent), French bread (35 percent), biscuits (34 percent) and croissants (31 percent).

Other key survey findings include:

·         Nearly three-quarters of Americans say that when dining out, their meal includes some type of bread item as a starter or part of the main course and that bread is something they look forward to when they are dining out or ordering takeout (both 73 percent).

·         87 percent of Americans say they enjoy being offered a free starter of fresh bread items, such as a bread basket or garlic bread when dining out.

·         63 percent of Americans are more likely to order a sandwich if it is made with a unique bread/sandwich carrier, such as biscuits, waffles or croissants, than if it is made from regular bread.

Wagner continued, "Bread is more than an everyday staple, it's one of the greatest comfort foods that diners really look forward to and enjoy when eating out or ordering takeout, which gives restaurants and foodservice operations an opportunity to shine," ... "There are so many ways operators can move beyond basic bread to elevate their menus and use bread in new and interesting ways."

Want to make your customer happy?  Here is how to do so using bread according to the team  General Mills Foodservice:

·         Surprise and delight diners by using bread items in unexpected ways, such as making a croissant the base for a decadent dessert;

·         Reduce waste by repurposing day-old bread items, such as making croutons out of unused bread;

·         Maximize the breads made across the menu from morning till night; and

·         Take the burden off staff and minimize waste with easy-prep, freezer-to-oven bread items that can be baked as needed.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the leader within the Grocerant Niche for both Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food menu ideations.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Consumers want Fresh Prepared Food When Eating-In or Eating-Out


That’s right consumers want it both ways.  Regular readers of this blog know that Steven Johnson, the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has documented the battle between the desire to eat out and the need to eat in without cooking for over 6 years.

Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is a tool that helps time starved consumers garner dinner for the family that is fresh, fast, and fun according to Johnson. While we have documented the progress of the rise of the grocerant niche here from our own research. We have found some new research that digs deeper, while edifying our results it also pointed out some new insight we think are valuable. 

The insights were part of an Oracle Food and Beverage survey. The surveyed polled more than 5,700 global consumers across 11 geographies, including 512 in the Unites States.  Let’s take a look at what they found:

“This new survey shows that “Americans love new tech-driven options for ordering and retrieving food, but the flipside is that it is making them more impatient. Of those surveyed, 64% don’t want to wait more than five minutes to order at the counter or drive-thru window, while 71% of in-house diners were upset if they had to wait more than 10 minutes. More than half (55%) said they were fed up after five minutes of waiting for food in a drive-thru, and 54% were annoyed waiting more than 10 minutes for food while dining at a restaurant.

While consumers mostly dig new digital dining options, they also lament the impact it is having on in-person dining. Nearly half (47%) said they feel like all the delivery and take-out orders result in longer waits when they order in-person and 29% said the atmosphere of dining-in is hurt by delivery drivers picking up food. But despite these concerns, 46% of people noted they will eat out daily to several times a week in coming months and showed a growing loyalty to their favorite brands.”

“Online and mobile ordering was a lifeline to restaurants shut-down in the pandemic and continues to provide steady revenue,” said Simon de Montfort Walker, senior vice president and general manager at Oracle Food and Beverage. “As already short-staffed restaurants reopen, they are grappling with how to manage both in-person diners and deliveries, while meeting growing expectations on speed and service. Technology that helps kitchens manage and time orders from multiple channels will be key to keeping pace and ensuring diners stay happy and loyal.”

Fast is not fast enough

The survey found that consumers have a short window before they get exacerbated with the time it takes to get their order:

·         More than half (54%) of in-house diners don’t like to wait more than 10 minutes to be served and 76% are impatient after 15 minutes

·         For those ordering at the counter, 45% said they get annoyed if they must wait more than five minutes and 76% didn’t want to wait more than 10 minutes to be served

·         At the drive-thru, nearly 1 in 5 consumers (19%) don’t want to wait more than two minutes to get their food, while more than half (55%) said they were fed up after five minutes of waiting

Kicking orders to the curb

Curbside pick-up (or Click-and-collect) continues to be a popular option that both determines where people chose to eat and their loyalty towards a brand:

·         58% love this method and or are more apt to choose establishments offering it

·         43% say it makes them more loyal to the eatery

·         54% say they would spend more because of this service option, with that number jumping to 80% for Millennials

Personalized communications aren’t creepy, they’re expected

The survey found that consumers have grown to appreciate, and even expect, proactive recommendations their favorite restaurants, but want to control access to their own data:

·         55% love the idea of receiving notifications about personalized offers from restaurants based on their current location

·         45% want to be prompted with personalized order suggestions based on their purchase history

·         46% would love to manage their dietary preferences with their favorite establishments

·         56% would love visibility and control over who has access to the personal data they share with restaurants and delivery drivers

Sustainability and healthy options rising in importance

In addition to offering click and collect, and personalizing offers based on data, consumers are increasingly influenced by a brand’s sustainability, environmental and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives, and healthy meal options:

·         61% of Millennials rate efforts to lower food waste (such as donations to food banks) as vital and influential to who they spend money with

·         45% rate clear labelling about source of food and ingredients as vital, with a slightly higher percentage of men versus women (48% and 42%, respectively)

·         58% of consumers rate healthy options on menu as important, with families rating this the highest at 74%, followed by Millennials at 71%

Ordering preference is situational

While mobile ordering continues to gain steam, in certain settings, consumers still prefer human interactions:

·         65% prefer to order directly from a server when dining in, while 18% would like to order from their mobile device

·         When ordering take out, 33% would like to order directly from the restaurant on their mobile device, 18% from a third-party like UberEats from their mobile device, and 25% directly from a server

·         38% prefer to order directly from a server when ordering drive-thru, 38% prefer to order from their mobile device

·         52% of Millennials prefer to order from a server in-person, but that number drops sharply to drive-thru’s, with only 17% wanting to deal with a staff member and just 11% when ordering take-out

 Payment options expanding

While cash is still high on consumers preferred ways to pay (47%), restaurants are increasingly adapting to new forms of payments to meet changing expectations: 

·         60% of consumers like to pay with a credit card

·         25% prefer to utilize contactless payment methods such as Apple or Google Pay

·         7% are embracing alternative payments such as cryptocurrency

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome Continues to Disrupt Retail Foodservice


Foodservice Solutions® recent Grocerant ScoreCards continue to indicate that at the intersection of the consumer, technology, and retail food sales we find the grocerant niche creating and expanding points of quality food distribution according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. 

 It’s at that intersection that Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® identified one universal commonality driving consumers buying pattern changes with the latest Grocerant ScoreCard finding that 83.2% of meals served at home include at least one Ready-3-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh food meal component. 

Johnson calls it and extension of the “The 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome he identified, quantified, and qualified back in 2012.

For new readers of this blog, the grocerant niche is the result of the blurring line between restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores all selling fresh prepared, portable, convenient meal solutions.  Targeted at the time-starved consumer with Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food components that are perceived “better for you”, and portioned for one or two. Consumers like the Convenient Meal Participation, Differentiation, Individualization / Family Customization that these retailers offer.

Restaurateurs need to be particularly mindful of developments within grocerant niche for they are driving the change within the price, value, service equilibrium in retail foodservice.

It is at the intersection of the consumer, technology and The FIVE P’s of Food Marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability, and Price that retail food sales competition is expanding.

The 65 inch HDTV Syndrome is driving customers away from frozen foods as well. In a study from Packaged Facts, reports that sales in the $44 billion U.S. retail market for frozen foods have been up to flat with nearly all dollar sales gains attributable to inflation or new products with increased demand driven by consumer demand.

The study found that Preference for 57 % of consumer say fresh foods the top reason why US consumers have not purchased frozen foods in the last three months, followed by preference for home-cooked meals.

Fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food in non-traditional outlets poses an ever-increasing threat to restaurant growth. Want to know how to best address the 67-inch HDTV Syndrome? 

For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. For more information visit , or call 1-253-759-7869