By Steve Markenson, Director, Research, FMI


After six months of this pandemic, we have tried every possible way to make chicken – barbequed, baked, broiled, pan seared, with this spice or that coating, or that sauce. When my wife sent me off to the store on the afternoon of the last summer Friday to get some groceries, she asked if I minded just getting one of those rotisserie chickens for dinner so she could have a stress-free night of no cooking. I donned my mask and headed off to the store with my list in hand. As I made my way by the deli section, I was forced to follow a different path than normal because of the new one-way signs on the floor. As I explored this new area of the store that I did not know existed, I saw an array of chicken, seafood and meat creations. I asked a very helpful associate behind the counter, “since when do you all offer all this variety of prepared foods?” Her response, “As long as I have been working here honey, and that has been almost 20 years.”

Who would have known that you can get more than rotisserie chicken, fried chicken and pizza at your grocery store? I know that I should have known this, but I have only been involved with the industry for three years. I think my store could have done a better job of showcasing this hidden gem. Needless to say, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner that evening, and it was not rotisserie chicken. She appreciated the help of our grocery store in making our dinner stress-free and enjoyable.

So, when FMI released our 2020 Power of Foodservice at Retail report last week, I took special notice of the some of the key insights from this research:

1. Increase Awareness:

Only 16% of shoppers frequently consider retail foodservice when they decide not to cook dinner. I am a perfect example of this. And, while it is good to know I am not in the minority, food retailers have a great opportunity during this time of changing habits and limited restaurant options to attract new customers.

2. Make It Convenient:

We are all getting tired of cooking at home at this point and the convenience of one-stop shopping is unique to food retailers during this pandemic. My store made it easy enough for me to give my wife a night off cooking. Food retailers should look for ways to make it easier for shoppers from apps for foodservice specifically to curbside pickup to delivery specifically for foodservice.  

3. Keep It Healthy:

Even before the pandemic, my wife and I were (almost) always trying to eat healthy and we are not alone. What I selected for our dinner that day certainly was healthy and tasty. The Power of Foodservice at Retail found that 64% of shoppers focus on choosing healthy, nutritious meals when buying from grocery foodservice. Eating healthy is even more important, and a priority for many, now during the pandemic.

For more great insights, download the 2020 Power of Foodservice at Retail and join us on October 22 at 2pm for our webinar.