By Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Foods, Food Marketing Institute

SteakFood retailers face a conundrum: Consumers increasingly want to express themselves and experiment with food, but these consumers also report time constraints. A recent webinar hosted by FMI, The Beef Checkoff and Technomic revealed research that customization is a critical trend in connecting with consumers. In fact, 42 percent of consumers surveyed would visit restaurants if they offered greater ability to customize food, so whether it’s an experience in a restaurant or in the prepared food section of a grocery store, consumer expectations don’t waiver. Here are more ways retailers can take advantage of consumer trends:

Beef still reigns as king when it comes to foodservice. It holds a large portion of the consumer market, with 90 percent of shoppers eating beef monthly. The trend will continue to flourish, as positive feelings toward beef and shoppers’ demand rises. Consider expanding beef selections and options.

Consumers have a renewed focus on experience. Through various ways - dining atmosphere or new foods - the vital need to connect is increasingly important.

Shoppers are looking for interactive dishes in foodservice. Elevate shopping experiences by introducing variety and value through customizable, interactive dishes. Tableside preparation and deconstructed meals are two ways self-described foodies are enjoying new cooking experiences. Retailers have an opportunity to bring these types of meals to consumers with in-store options, such as meal kits.

Consumers are insisting on transparency. Consumers want information readily available, specifically on beef, and they want this information validated through third party sources. High-level overviews resonate well with consumers, according to The Beef Checkoff. With this information, retailers can evolve with market demands.

By creating more options and opportunity for shoppers to customize their own food, retailers have an opportunity to exceed consumers’ expectations. Fifty percent of the surveyed population said they would go to individual locations if they could personalize a dish to their liking. Shoppers want to ‘have it their way,’ and want more viable options in foodservice meals.

The recorded webinar can be downloaded here. For additional resources, visit The Beef Checkoff.

  • Fresh Foods