Friday, March 24, 2023

Grocerants Soaring, Restaurants and Grocery Stores Evolving


It is at the intersection of meals and convenience that consumers continue to migrate looking for grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

While fresh prepared meals and meal components for takeout, takeaway food, and drive-thru’s have garnered attention from the restaurant sector, convenience store sector, and more and more grocery stores Johnson believes that the undercurrent driving customer adoption is consumers desire for a ‘larger variety of ethnic flavored fresh food, and the lack of time to prepared each, or lack of skill-set to cook all of the new flavor profiles consumers have become accustomed too.

After all it was Johnson who coined the term Grocerant.  Grocerant is a result of the blurring of the line between restaurants and grocery stores created, defined, and first published as an Op-Ed article titled: Call Them Grocerants in August 1996 in FoodService Director and again in Nation’s Restaurant News authored by our own Steven Johnson to describe the undercurrents of food industry consumer changing eating a buying pattern.

On a side note: Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® received a US Trademark for the word Grocerant in 1998, subsequently gave it up to become our ‘Grocerant Guru®’. Today at Foodservice Solutions®.

No matter how much you love your local grocery store and local restaurant, you’re unlikely to be keen on admitting that you have been blurring the lines between the two.  Today, grocery stores are a bit of a nuisance walking around for 15 minutes as you look for three times. Simply put at the end of the day, grocery stores take too long to shop. They’re loud, busy, and generally not the kind of place you want to hang out.

Unlike legacy grocery store a visit to Trader Joe’s in New York City feels like a trip to an amusement park compared to your local Publix or Kroger as – they want that you stay longer.  Now then the British ideal of a supermarket – a supermarket where you’re whisked in and out of as quickly as possible with minimal eye contact and conversation – meant that the original definition of a grocer couldn’t survive the voyage across the pond is much better suited for today’s consumers. Simply put Trader Joes understand today’s consumers better than most legacy grocery stores.

In London, there are now more Grocerant’s with a twist after the launches of Lulu’s, London Shell Co., Forno, Oren Delicatessen, and more over the past year, grocers have certainly landed in the city. But they are not a side business of the supermarket, but of the restaurant.

We all know that recent pandemic lockdowns forced the hospitality industry to transform dramatically to stay afloat, some restaurants switched to delivery mode while others switched to retail. Now, almost three years later, some of the places that have shifted have stayed. While the grocerant trend has been around since 1996, it has picked up steam and is rolling along in 2023. Don’t let the trend pass you by this time.

So, one such example is London Shell Co., which is about to open its third location and first land-based location, which became a wet fish retailer while Covid restrictions halted service. The new restaurant serves items including whole Cornish crab for sharing, house-smoked anchovies and trout sausages with puree, and doubles as a wine shop and fishmonger.

And in these days of being trapped at home, many of us got more creative in the kitchen to remember the taste of a meal we didn’t cook ourselves. The more intrepid we got, the more we hunted for special ingredients until even the big Tesco couldn’t do it anymore. Enter the deli – in this case specifically the deli that is part of a restaurant. Lulu’s, the wine bar and little sister of Llewelyn’s in Herne Hill, is a prime example as it’s a great place to snag (currently) very trendy tinned seafood from The Tinned Fish Market.

Today it is these grocerant spots that we can trust: the ones that provide some of the best spots for full flavored food we do not know how to cook, nor do we want to.  In that case dinner is settled, once again it will be grocerant Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.

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