By: Allison Febrey, Assistant, Health and Wellness/FMI Foundation/Food and Product Safety, Food Marketing Institute
The American way of life continues to change at a very fast pace. It has become more difficult to juggle work, kids and friends with increasingly busy schedules.
Despite these changes, one thing remains the same—families want to eat meals together. Seventy-one percent of parents say that ideally, they would like to eat dinner with their children every single night (Shopping for Health, FMI, 2016). Unfortunately, families succeed only half the time (U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017, FMI). Families face many obstacles to dinner at home, including:
- Differing schedules (55 percent);
- Too many distractions get in the way (21 percent); and
- Not enough time to prepare meals (21 percent).
The food retail industry knows how busy their consumers’ lives are and works hard every day to help shoppers select and prepare convenient, healthy, meals for their families. Consumers look to their grocery store for help—67 percent of households with kids outsource cooking meals to the grocery store, at least some of the time (U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017, FMI). Some of the top ways that food retailers are helping customers achieve family meals include:
- 100 percent of stores provide their customers with recipes;
- 91 percent offer shoppers fresh prepared foods; and
- 85 percent routinely stage cooking demonstrations.
In addition to the help they provide every day, the food retail industry is highlighting their family meal solutions during the month of September, National Family Meals Month™. This celebration focuses on the importance of family mealtime as well as helping families achieve meals together.
Here are a few examples of the creative ways that food retailers assisted customers in achieving more family meals in September of last year:
- Hy-Vee, Inc. offered cooking classes and easy pickup/delivery meal options.
- Baesler’s Market had pre-packaged kits containing meal ingredients and a recipe card.
- Hannaford Supermarkets featured end-caps and off-shelf signage featuring family-friendly and healthful recipe ideas.