Undercurrent of Foodservice
Back in the day, say during the mid-1980’s Home Meal Replacement was the talk of the retail food industry. What many legacy grocers failed to understand was the opportunity for freshly prepared food as a daypart meal opportunity. They could not understand it because they were not really in the meals business. Even more important they didn’t want to be in the freshly prepared meal business according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® with Tacoma, WA-based Foodservice Solutions®.
Grocery retailers back in the day thought that Home Meal Replacement specifically in-store freshly prepared food cost too much to produce. They believed that it threw their labor out of line, created scheduling problems, and had too much waste. Many still believe that today. I guess that’s why most grocery stores have failed to meet the needs of today’s consumers.
They simply did not want to deal with freshly prepared food. So, they cut corners, mass-produced product that they called fresh, packaged it like it was a CPG brand, and let it sit on display or under heat lamps way too long. In short, they blew it, and many still are doing it wrong. So, let’s look at five facts that today are turning consumers in grocerant niche consumers. Here they are:
1. 11% of consumers say convenience is most important in products they eat, up from just 7% in 2013, according to The NPD Group.
2. 53% of all eating occasions include a desire to avoid spending the time and energy it takes to cook, according to The Hartman Group.
3. 80% of meals eaten at home are sourced from the pantry or the freezer, according to The NPD Group.
4. 44% of consumers say they are deliberately trying to avoid artificial color/dyes in their daily diet, according to The Hartman Group
5. 91% of U.S. consumers believe food and beverage options with recognizable ingredients are healthier, according to Innova.
Then they went back to doing what they always did and doing it the same way. One problem consumers are dynamic, not static. The grocerant niche continued to grow around the world and our Grocerant Guru® was there helping clients in the U.S., Asia, and Europe are drive top-line sales and bottom-line profits with incremental customer adoption.
Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® has repeatedly stated that “consumers never take step back in food quality or freshness”. The food retail industry today is no longer at a crossroads. The consumer has moved. It’s simply a question for legacy grocery retailers if they want to move forward with consumers or not.
It used to be restaurant chefs were the industry tastemakers and retail eventually playing copy-cat caught up with the trends. Today, many tastemakers come from Grocerant niche retailers. Driven by increased demand and customer migration from cook from scratch to Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.
Everyone from Soccer moms to Senior Citizens is putting pressure on retailers for freshly prepared food. All retailers are in a fierce battle to garner a larger share of stomach and the battleground for customers is taking place in the grocerant Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food space.
Grocery stores continue to play catch-up resting with the rise in food sales due to the pandemic. However we all know that will not last forever, The convenience store sector focusing on Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food companies the ilk of Wawa, Sheetz, and Rutter’s Farm Stores are all garnering new customers from other legacy channels of fresh food distribution including a grocery store and chain restaurants.
Grocery stores over the past decade have lost sales and customers fast-food restaurants, C-stores, and dollar stores that have driven Take-Away, Take-Out Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat freshly prepared food from 5% back in the day to near 35% of sales today.
Trapped in footprint malaise traditional grocery stores are in a time-warp and quagmire of their own creating, capitulating business and it’s time for a new view, and new business model, the grocerant model where mix & match meal component bundling has become a science.
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, 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: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869