ShopRite pilots meal solution centers inside 3 stores

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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ShopRite is testing a meal solutions concept shop inside three stores that will also highlight its Bowl & Basket and newly revamped Wholesome Pantry private brands.

The “Fresh to Table” store-within-a-store programs aim to reinvent the produce departments where they’ll sit with quality foods that are ready to eat right there or to take home for a quick prep-and-serve experience. 

In Store Brands’ upcoming October issue, Laura Kind, vice president of brand strategy at Wakefern, discussed the new pilot program. “The concept will provide a seamless digital experience in-store as well as the ability to have meals delivered straight to your door,” she said. “This concept comes to us directly from customer data and feedback that looks to provide not only recipe ideas and easy-to-put-together meals, but also deliver on a QSR like experience, but with the freshness and quality that we are able to provide at ShopRite versus true QSR retailers.”

Laura Kind, center, at the ribbon cutting of the Fresh to Table concept shop inside the Greenwich, N.J., store.

Kind mentioned the program during an interview for her recognition as a 2020 Top Women in Store Brands.

Fresh to Table concept shops are launching in three stores in Greenwich and Burlington, N.J., and Monroe, N.Y. The Wakefern Food retailer is based in Keasbey, N.J., operating nearly 280 supermarkets. The program is expected to rollout to more ShopRite locations in the coming months.

The meal-solution centers are broken down by ready-to-cook items (“Prep & Eat”), ready-to-heat and serve items (“Heat & Eat”), and ready-to-eat meals (“Grab & Eat”) and carry a modern aesthetic with distinct signage to help shoppers navigate the types of items being served. For example, one area will be called out as a “One Stop Dinner Shop,” highlighting five-ingredient meals crafted by ShopRite chefs and dietitians that will be updated weekly. The meals are featured on the Recipe Shop on the ShopRite website and can also be accessed by scanning QR codes on in-store digital screens. Meal offerings for the first week include: pumpkin soup, turkey-apple grilled cheese, and herb poached salmon.

Another area of the concept shop will highlight “Tasty & Trending” seasonal foods chosen by ShopRite chefs and dietitians and the items will be updated every two weeks. As Kind said, the concept shops marry digital and in-store experiences with online ordering through the mobile app, delivery through DoorDash, express pickup options and access to Fresh to Table meals through ShopRite’s “Home” online service.

“‘Fresh to Table’ offers a whole new way to access fresh foods and meals,” said Joe Colalillo, chairman and CEO, Wakefern Food, the merchandising, logistics and distribution arm for ShopRite stores. “Whether shoppers are looking for fresh from the oven prepared meals and sides, or want pre-prepped ingredients to make every meal come together easily, this new concept promises to offer an exciting shopping experience that’s fun, fast and delicious."

The comprehensive shopping experience will also showcase innovative items from ShopRite’s growing Bowl & Basket and Wholesome Pantry store brands. Kind was one of the architects behind the Bowl & Basket and Paperbird launches, leading its marketing and creative, before moving on to help design and launch this meal solution program.

“The ‘Fresh to Table’ space is a destination for shoppers looking for a quick snack, those planning to make a gourmet dinner, and everyone in between,” said Steve Henig, chief customer officer, Wakefern Food. “The combination of wholesome, seasonal fresh foods, state-of-the-art technology, and convenience is designed to help our customers find the balanced meals they are looking for.”