Saturday, December 20, 2014

Foodservice Solutions® Six Foodservice Industry Undercurrents of Change for 2015

The undercurrents of change have been brewing for some time in the retail foodservice sector. Our Grocerant Guru™ has taken a look at what is brewing under the surface that you might have missed and identified those that will continue to evolve in 2015. Here is our list of 2015 undercurrents to watch:

1. Communal Dinning

The US Census fact finder tells us 50 percent of the US population over the age of 18 is single.  Which led us to a The Hartman Group study finding 50% results of eating and drinking occasions take place when Americans are alone. Communal Dinning is fast becoming a social hub.  Retailers that add more bar seating, Wi-Fi, big screen TV’s are driving this forward.

2. Delivering Everything Discounts

Amazon is testing restaurant food delivery, Starbucks and Panera plan to roll out delivery in 2015 and other quick-service concepts are sure to follow. Higher-end restaurants are offering catering and meal delivery, empowered by a number of tech-enabled third-party services that bundle menus from many operations. Watch for this area to grow driven by introduction to delivery discounts on bundled mix and match meals. 

3. Authenticity Fresh, Local, Sustainable 

Farm raised fist that is farmed near or in a city, fruits and vegetables  that are local, in season are all considered by consumers as ‘better for you’. In Europe ‘ugly’ fruit has been featured and discounted in grocery aisles becoming a huge success.  Consumers understand imperfection and embrace it, you should.

4. Value is the new Transparency 

Albertson’s once bankrupt now part of Supervalu dropped its loyalty card and replaced it with competitive pricing driving both top line sales and bottom line profits.  Long ago customers learned and understood what a lost leader was.  Most legacy loyalty programs are simply reinforcing the fact that customers are being taken advantage by a big corporation. Social media is relevant not lost leaders. 

5. Digital or Die

The first truly digital generation is here fully 85 percent of both Millennials and Gen Z search first online before buying according to Nielsen. Consumers today expect, demand, and drive early adoption.  Marketing, messaging, and brand magic must be digital. 

6. Share of Stomach vs Share of Segment 

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ discovered, documented, detailed consumers desire for Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food since 1991.  Today consumers don’t say I want to go to a fast casual restaurant, full-service restaurant, C-store, Deli, or QSR.  It’s about real time, real food, and discovery.  Only legacy industry insiders talk segments, consumers simply want fresh food fast. Non-traditional locations of fresh food distribution will continue to garner Share of Stomach in 2015.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, grocerant scorecard, brand, or product placement assistance.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Friday, December 19, 2014

Private Label Food Once Nearly Banned from Homes now Brands a Home.

So, back in the day when grocery stores first introduced private label food products they were lacking flavor, texture, and packaging visceral attractiveness. Today, however both Millennials, ages 24-37, and Generation Z, ages 0-23 are discovering private label the ilk of Aldi, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods and adopting them as hallmark brands for the home.  

According to Nielsen sales of private label brands grew 6.6 per cent in 2014, , outpacing the 2.4 per cent growth in total grocery sales. Nielsen's head of retail services, Kosta Conomos, expects private label sales to reach 25 per cent of the market in five years, fuelled by demand from so-called "millennials" and further product innovation and discounting.

"People of my generation still recollect what private label was like 20 or 30 years ago," said 44-year-old Mr Conomos. "Younger generations have no recollection of the prior quality of private label so for the younger generation private label is now considered part of their repertoire - it doesn't have the stigma.

This has become a global movement in fact private label groceries now account for 21 per cent of packaged grocery sales in Australia, up from 18 per cent two years ago, and household penetration has reached 98 per cent according to Nielsen. 

In the United Kingdom today private label has around 40 per cent-plus market share – “the UK has the benefit of experiencing good quality private label for three decades [whereas] Australia is a more recent phenomenon according to Conomos."

In the United States Trader Joes, Aldi, and Whole Foods private label product adoption by millennials and Gen Z is faster, stronger, and will be lasting according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ largely driven by the largest generation the millennials and the next generation of spender Gen Z.

Steven Johnson is the Grocerant Guru™ at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, with extensive experience as a multi-unit operator, consultant and brand/product positioning. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For additional Information Contact:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Freshii, Lyfe Kitchen, Maoz, Native Foods Cafe, Veggie Grill on Success Watch List for 2015

 Foodservice Solutions® ‘Better for You’ Restaurant’s to Watch for 2015

The undercurrents of retail foodservice change driven by Millennials quest for ‘better for you’ food and discovery of all things food has left us enough clues that we are out with our 2015 ‘better for you food’ restaurant watch list.  Here are our five picks for ongoing ‘Better for You’ Restaurant success in 2015:

1.       Freshii: Serving Soups, Burritos, Salads, and Wraps all of which can become personalized and customized meal components bundled into a family meal. Freshii is a great example of Grocerant niche success.

2.       Lyfe Kitchen: Serving portobella pasta, fish tacos, and quinoa crunch wraps extols the halo of better for you food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer catering and ‘grocery’ items as well building a grocerant niche success story.

3.       Maoz: Serving Vegetarian pita pockets, salads with falafel, and hummus. Grocerant niche mix and match toppings and sauces from a self-serv salad bar enabling customization and personalization hallmarks of grocerant niche success.

4.       Native Foods CafĂ©: Serving vegan food, including salads, sandwiches and “Earth Bowls” all available for Take-Away.  With the halo of ‘better for you’ and bold flavors customer adoption continues to swell.

5.       Veggie Grill: Serving ‘plant-based’ salads, sandwiches, soups, even burger (all are vegetarian). Empowering choice and customization burgers can be served on wheat bun or bed of steamed kale.

If success does leave clues we suggest that you watch these five restaurants as they are all growing, innovating, while creating consumer relevance with consumer buzz and Braggability. Are you ready for Outside Eye’s that drive Top line Sales and Bottom line profits?
Interested in learning how can you work grocerant niche products into your establishment to grow profits and capture customers while they are in your store? Call 253-759-7869 as for the Grocerant Guru™,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Green Zebra Grocery Turns Golden

Green Zebra the ‘better for you’ hybrid convenience store / grocery store started by Lisa Sedlar is proving all of her critics wrong having turned the Geen Zebra to Gold!  Sedlar while announcing a new Green Zebra coming soon stated “Green Zebra Grocery just hit a big milestone: November marked the Oregon startup's first profitable month, and the company is working to raise money to open two more stores in the near future.”  

Seldar the former New Seasons Grocery store CEO understood that the average customer buys only 100 different items from their favorite grocery store a year.  They simply buy them over and over again.  Green Zebra is her innovative new business model combining, health-food, in a convenience store format, providing a halo of a ‘better for you’ in a grocery shopping experience.

Every start-up learns a lot about the concept, customers, and drivers of sales during the first year.  The next new store Green Zebra Grocery will be just a little larger at about 6,400 square feet.  That will free up more space for the “store's growler and kombucha areas, as well as wine on tap and more grab-and-go foods.”

Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat mix and match meal component offerings are playing an ever expanding role in the success of non-traditional retail outlets according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™.  Clearly Green Zebra is playing to the mainstream grocerant niche consumer.  

Green Zebra Grocery is a concept that should be on industry professionals must visit, must see, and must follow list. Now profitable, it appears all that is green can be golden.  Non-traditional concepts that turn profitable early prove disruptive and move from non-traditional to mainstream before many notice.  Success does leave clues. My tip of the day, follow Green Zebra.

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization? Email us at: or visit: for more information.