Progressive Grocer

2017 Category Management Handbook

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Page 45 of 59

46 | Progressive Grocer | 2017 Category Management Handbook | December 2016 or foodservice area," says Eric Richard, education co- ordinator for the Madison, Wis.-based International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA). Rather than resting on their laurels, grocery stores need to do a full-court press to capture more of the lunch dollars that once went to restaurants and fast-food drive-thrus. "Many retailers are taking innovative approaches to this demand for prepared food items by enhanc- ing their current offerings — such as expanding the variety of products on a salad bar or adding to their menu of made-to-order sandwiches — or embracing new concepts such as baking artisan pizza," Richard notes. Sarah Schmansky, director of business opera- tions at Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen Perishables Group, agrees that more restaurant-like offerings will appeal to the lunchtime crowds, but she sees a need for grocery stores to go even further. "Many prepared options overindex during the lunch hours of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.," Schmansky says, noting that overall growth is already occurring in sandwiches, salads, soups and entrées (see sidebar on page 47). She sees greater customization as another way to match what shoppers are used to seeing in restaurants: "Customizing sandwich and pizza stations is the way to offer exactly what the consumer is craving." For more speed and convenience, signature pre-packaged meal solutions with lunch-appropriate serving sizes are more ways to serve midday traffic and build on existing momentum. Cross-category opportunities also come from shoppers who are looking across dayparts, Schmansky notes. "Starbucks is taking advantage of the breakfast crowd who may have forgotten their lunch with a new Pack your own Power Lunch," she says. "For $8, you fill a bag with a sandwich, bag of chips, granola bar and water, and you're ready for the full day." Retailers with coffee counters and brisk morning traffic can make similar offers. Breaking Out of Lunch Slumps Beyond the deli section, Schmansky suggests looking across categories for ready-to-go snack kits, including such items as cheese cubes, meat sticks, crackers, fruit, nuts and hummus. "Snacking has become the fourth meal of the day for many consumers, and in some cases, even replaces one or more of the day's standard meals," she explains. "With this in mind, offering smaller 'snacking' lunch options can be an effective way to connect with consumers who might not be look- ing for larger, lunch-sized options." More proof that snacking is a growing daytime opportunity in retail comes from, which debuted online in the United States, but is now launching its snack boxes in more retail spaces, including Hannaford and ShopRite. Cindy L. Schmidt, senior specialist of fresh foods at Skogen's Festival Foods, based in De Pere, Wis., reports great success with lunch-sized snack combinations packed in sectioned dishes with items like chicken salad, crackers, grapes and baby carrots. Grilled chicken, hummus, vegetables and fruit comprise another popular package. "We also feature snack cups at the salad bar. Everybody has seen yogurt-and-granola cups, but we do peanut butter and fruit and hummus and vegetables. We're making an effort to step up our game so that nothing is basic," Schmidt says. Rather than resting on their laurels, grocery stores need to do a full-court press to capture more of the lunch dollars that once went to restaurants and fast-food drive-thrus. BOX LUNCH Graze is an online snack solution service that has been featuring its customized boxes at traditional grocery stores. Need States Continued from page 43

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