Most shoppers want more new items and flavors in retail foodservice
Opportunity is knocking in the fresh sector for grocers and their private brands.
According to the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) “2019 Power of Foodservice at Retail” report, 88% of shoppers want to see more new items and flavors in retail foodservice. Arlington, Va.-based FMI, a trade organization that represents about 33,000 grocery retailers, also reports that 63% of consumers continue to incorporate time-saving solutions in the form of semi- and fully prepared items for dinner, and opportunities exist for grocers to garner greater visibility as the primary dinner solution.
According to the report, FMI’s annual assessment of the state of the foodservice at retail, the $13 billion category is growing annually at 8.2%. FMI noted that foodservice continues to be a primary strategy for food retailers to differentiate and appeal to convenience-seeking consumers.
Rick Stein, FMI’s vice president of fresh foods, said consumers continue to look for convenient ways to get all – or part – of their meals away from home, and supermarkets play a pivotal role in this decision making.
“The study notes that grocers with a positive reputation in retail foodservice can serve as strong motivation for 64% of shoppers who say they will actually go out of their way to find these stores,” Stein said. “Competitive differentiation strategies abound for our grocery members who place an emphasis on variety and reduce obstacles through fast and convenient shopping experiences. These experiences may also be enabled by technology, as we’re witness to similar motivations in the restaurant industry.”
In the report, FMI also stated:
• The importance of speed is once more underscored by the grab-and-go, ready-to-eat format being the most popular method, which is of interest to 68% of shoppers.
• Grab-and-go, heat-and-eat is the second most popular style, at 63%.
• While 57% of shoppers have grocery store apps downloaded, 42% actively use one or more.
• App usage is highly related to checking weekly specials (78%), online ordering of groceries (53%), getting recipes and meal ideas and researching the deli-prepared foods menu, but foodservice orders lag (38%).
Survey participants offered feedback for their stores to focus on faster service; more cuisine variety; healthier dishes as well as healthier alternatives to current options; competitive prices; more information; freshness; knowledgeable and available staff; and various operational improvements such as cleanliness and in-stock performance.
The FMI 2019 Power of Foodservice at Retail analysis will be presented at the Total Meal Solutions Summit on Tuesday, Sept. 10, an event hosted by Progressive Grocer, Store Brands’ sister publication. Both brands are operated by EnsembleIQ.