Progressive Grocer

2017 Category Management Handbook

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December 2016 | progressivegrocer.com | 37 mix prepared, fresh and packaged items from across categories to personalize meal making and even learn — or relearn — their own way around the kitchen. Whole-store Approach At Northgate Gonzalez Market, part of a 41-unit chain of family-owned grocery stores in Southern California, family meal planning is front and center and supported in every section, from the $6.99-a- pound hot-food bar to the flour and corn tortillas that are made fresh daily in the store. Prepared foods and beverages take up most of the right-side entry area of a typical Northgate market, where a horchata bar offers a dozen varieties for thirsty shoppers. A sandwich and torta counter is next in line, with arrows painted on the impeccably clean floor directing shoppers to tacos, burritos and bowls, made to order and ready for anytime eating. Sampling is encouraged throughout, and staff mem- bers offer everything with pride. For self-service options, soup, salsa, enchiladas and pulled pork are just a few of the options avail- able by the pound at Northgate's hot and cold bars. A dedicated staffer encourages tastings and makes serv- ing suggestions. For example, mini corn sopes, a new store-made item, are merchandised nearby. A prepared food expert suggests pairing them with eggs, cheese and salsa for easy breakfasts at home. Further into the perimeter, pre-marinated and seasoned proteins are merchandised in a dedicated case. "ese make it easy for busy families to put a hot home-cooked meal together. ey are seasoned and packaged for a quick finish at home," says Jesse Mu- noz, operations manager at the Northgate location. e proteins are available in 3-packs of all the same variety or in packs of pork, chicken and beef. Munoz explains that these options are geared to planning large family meals or buying for several meals during the week. Above the cooler where these options are displayed, the store's house-made tortillas are stacked and ready to be filled. Nearby, a cheese counter and salsa and soup bars offer more ways to complete a meal. For even more meal-making solutions, Northgate's markets offer bilingual tamale cooking classes and kids' cooking classes, many of which are filled weeks in advance. Interaction, In Store and Out e staff-customer interaction at Northgate is exactly what busy shoppers need to solve some meal prepara- tion challenges, according to Eric Richard, education coordinator for the Madison, Wis.-based International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA). "More consumer engagement — whether through social media, in-store marketing or other promotional avenues — can help retailers spread the message among shoppers and prospective shoppers that their store offers much more than just groceries," says Richard. "As part of the messaging, focus on the eye- grabbing attributes of the meal solutions — such as freshly made, local ingredients and flavor highlight- ing — to illustrate the quality of the items. Addition- ally, consumers are drawn to sights and smells, so be sure to create a visual experience where consumers can see and smell orders and items being made, espe- cially for chef-made items." Cindy L. Schmidt, senior specialist of fresh foods at Skogen's Festival Foods, based in De Pere, Wis., describes how in the past six months, her stores have used social media and in-store marketing to help launch two lines of One-Step Prep meals. "e meals are put together by our meat depart- ment, and the quality is tops. ey are really going over well. It's the most exciting program we've added in recent history. ey are an easy fit with bagged salads and other add-ons," says Schmidt. "e microwave meals are winning a lot of converts with seafood. In two to four minutes, guests can have stuffed or seasoned salmon dinners. e pan-foil oven varieties are available in about 50 options." Promoting these new meals is a multimedia effort, notes Schmidt: "We have information and prepara- tion demos about these meals on our Facebook page." e meals are also featured on Festival Foods' website and in store blogs, all of which support in-store demos and sampling. Add-ons Add Up Nielsen Perishable Group's extensive research into connecting store categories finds specific correlations between certain grocery items. For instance, fresh herbs, spices and seasonings have a strong statistical association with specialty cheese and represent easy add-on sales for enhancing prepared meals, while also providing inspiration for consumers to make premium meals at home through cross-promotions and recipes. "Co-promote deli bulk meat and specialty cheese to encourage busy families to make exciting restau- rant-style sandwiches for quick weeknight meals," suggests Schmansky, "or create grilling-season meal solutions where all the ingredients needed for a premium dinner made on the grill are merchandised together." In many cases, vendors and suppliers can also help with cross-merchandising efforts. Pam Basciani, group director for retail channel strategy and com- mercialization at e Coca-Cola Co., in Atlanta, points to grilling occasion-based merchandise tech- niques that her team has created. "is display had all of the supplies for a barbecue in the backyard: hamburger buns, condiments and the beverages that show basket share," Basciani says. "is bundle is rooted in consumer insight, knowing "More consumer engagement can help retailers spread the message among shoppers and prospective shoppers that their store offers much more than just groceries." —Eric Richard, IDBBA Continued on page 40

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