Progressive Grocer

2017 Category Management Handbook

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36 | Progressive Grocer | 2017 Category Management Handbook | December 2016 I n grocery stores, rotisserie chickens and bagged salads have long been the rock stars for easy meal solutions, and these items will always be important to busy shoppers. But as variety, customization and flavor explora- tion continue to drive consumer choices, grocery stores need to expand how they view meal planning for busy consumers. Recent research from Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen Perishables Group shows that 77 percent of all adult eating occasions in the United States now involve at least some foodservice, prepared or ready- to-eat items; for Millennials, it's 88 percent. "Consumers now have the ability to get basically anything made the way they want within foodservice, and the supermarket industry must follow suit," says Sarah Schmansky, director of business operations at Nielsen Perishables Group. Grocery stores also need to excel in terms of offer- ing time and convenience. "Consumers have less time to prepare food, coupled with the need for quick solu- tions that limit preparation time," Schmansky notes. Retailers need to accentuate the ease of running into a store and grabbing something by offering curbside pickup, call-ahead ordering and other services that consumers will adapt to in the same way that they rely on quick-service restaurants or drive-thru windows, she advises. And while that 77 percent statistic speaks volumes about the importance of prepared food programs, it also shows opportunities for the rest of the grocery store, where more staff guidance can help shoppers Need States Easy Meal Solutions Time and convenience paramount to shoppers during the dinnertime daypart. BY K ATHY HAYDEN "Staff and guests need to see grocery stores as places to innovate." —Cindy L. Schmidt, Skogen's Festival Foods

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