By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Foods, Food Marketing Institute
It’s 5 p.m. on a Wednesday and you’re driving your two kids back from soccer and ballet practice when your wife calls and asks what you want for dinner. What do you think of first? Pizza? Chinese? Leftovers? Questions of health and nutrition start to swirl through your head as you hear your stomach growl.
According to the Power of Foodservice at Retail – Part 2, only 35 percent of Americans typically know what’s for dinner two hours before mealtime. What’s more, cooking at home is down. In a typical week, an average of 4.6 dinners are prepared at home, whether cooking from scratch or using semi/fully-prepared items. That’s down from an average of 4.9 per week in 2017. Put these two facts together and there is a great opportunity for food retailers to meet shopper’s meal solutions needs, but the report finds only 15 percent frequently consider retail foodservice when unsure of their next meal.
So, how do we as food retailers change this dad’s mind so he stops into the grocery store on his way home for some foodservice at retail items? The answer is simple—food retailers need to play to their strengths. Here are some tips we see from the research:
Stress The Convenience of Retail Foodservice
61 percent of consumers incorporate time-saving solutions in the form of semi- and fully-prepared items when cooking. It’s actually American’s number one cooking style, so play it up! For example, pair that roasted turkey heat-and-eat with some steamable vegetables or pre-chopped salad ingredients in-store for a well-rounded meal that is convenient.
Check Everything Off a Shopper’s List
55 percent of shoppers see grocery deli/prepared foods as having an advantage over restaurants because they can combine the pick-up with a grocery trip. 41 percent say grocery foodservice is faster to order or pick up than a restaurant. Retailers can play up this benefit in merchandising and advertising as they offer not only your weekly grocer needs, but also the shoppers’ solution to dinner tonight.
Offer a Technology Solution to Dinner
What if that dad in the car with his kids could look up a meal option on his smartphone, and with the touch of a button, he orders the components of a full meal from the grocery store on route home? That dad would be a hero. Moreover, that grocery store’s foodservice department would be capitalizing on how shoppers who are more likely to use technology for dinner planning tend to eat out an average of three times per week.
Play Up The Value of Family Meals
September is National Family Meals Month™, a time when the food industry encourages families to have one more meal together each week with items from the grocery store. Consider special promotions on meal solutions during this time to capitalize on the national discussion of family meals.