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

These days, convenience is the name of the game. Just look at how shoppers select their primary store. According to FMI’s 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report, 67% of shoppers rate convenience from home as one of the key attributes of their primary grocery store and 50% say a store must be convenient from work or along daily commute. These findings are even more pronounced for Gen Z and Millennial shoppers. With the need for ease and simplification so high among shoppers, why would more and more consumers be willing to inconvenience themselves when it comes to foodservice?

FMI’s 2019 Power of Foodservice at Retail report looks at consumer behaviors around the deli and foodservice departments in grocery stores. Initial findings of the report, which will be released in early September, suggest the foodservice department is a key area where food retailers can differentiate themselves. For example, shoppers report being willing to drive further or visit a store they do not often frequent in order to purchase high-quality foodservice items.

Think about that for a second. You’re driving home from work and haven’t solved the what’s for dinner question. You decide a healthier meal option would be to pick up something prepared or somewhat pre-made from a supermarket. What we’re seeing is more and more shoppers are willing to make their daily commute longer in order to visit a store they perceive to have high-quality foodservice offerings.

In an age of wanting what we want, when we want it, anything that is causing shoppers to go the extra mile is worth giving pause and consideration to. Stay tuned for more on the 2019 Power of Foodservice at Retail and join me at the Total Meal Solutions Summit, September 9 – 10, where I’ll share more findings from the report.