Thursday, September 30, 2010

Urban vs. Rural food retailing is hogwash. It about fresh, fast and convenience!


Wal-Mart and Target each came out this week and restated that they were going to open new units in urban areas that have a smaller format. Let’s cut to the chase, research shows the center of the store is dead! Consumer are focused on prepared food, fresh prepared with fast service.

Try as they might category managers have only delayed the inevitable they have not been able to prevent it. Look how well category managers have done with A & P. Companies that have relied on slotting fees as a solution for profits simply have lost sight of reality. Super Target are going to have “wider aisles” and we all know why; they have too much stuff and the consumer simply walks by it!

Target’s will “increased fresh food selection is designed to make fill-in shopping "quick and easy for guest’s on-the-go." Each store offers a selection of national food brands and Target private-label brands.” Wal-Mart understands the same thing. It’s not about the cost of the land, it is about the consumer. I am glad to see that each of these successful retailers is listening.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Safeway leverages customer research for Mix & Match meal success!


Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared food bundled mix & match components have been driving top line growth in the Convenience store sector for several years. In fact NPD recently reported that last year sales within the convenience store sector were up 11%. We have been documenting that story here for several years. It was nothing new to us. Lead by companies like Sheetz, QuickChek and Wawa mix & match meal components propelled that growth. Now even 7 Eleven is selling fresh prepared food.

However, when it comes to understanding the customer, Safeway has been utilizing grounded traditional foodservice research and has leveled the playing field. Safeway’s ability to vertically integrate customer focused research with Foodservice Solutions 5 P’s of grocerant marketing has positioned them directly in line with today’s consumer.

Safeway’s “build a Signature Café” which is first prominently positioned in the weekly shopping flyer. Utilizes the Mix & Match to empower consumer choice, leverages their private branded product and priced to drive trial. Interestingly they include and co-brand the ad with Sierra, Mist Natural. This is fantastic!

Research provides insights into consumer beverage choice and most importantly how they buy and consume beverages. Leveraging Natural Mist with the “Signature Café” meal creates an additional halo for the consumer. It’s is a complete meal solutions.

Safeway research has provided a platform for continued success Understanding the unique balance between palate, price, pleasure and the consumer’s drive for qualitative distinctive differentiated new food consumables is an art that will drive top line growth and increase customer frequency. The Grocerant niche is about convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization Safeway gets it.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Resurgent independent restaurants may challenge many restaurant chains share of stomach.


While working as a project manager for the US Navy Club system many years ago. I became familiar with Culinary Brands and WR Grace each of which at the time were producing high quality sous-vide products. Culinary Brands was sold to Nestlé and WR Grace spun off their sous-vide operations. The quality food product, versatility and portion control of sous-vide had and continues to have huge potential for the DOD, Schools, C-stores, Drug stores, Hospitals and some restaurant chains but just might create a resurgent independent restaurant scene.

I have been waiting for Nathan Myhryold’s new book reportedly called “Modernist Cuisine”. This book has the potential to do for sous-vide what Julia Child did for cooking. In turn independent restaurateurs will begin utilizing the state of art techniques within the book too garner additional local market share. Retail foodservice is undergoing a transformation, this book will assist.

The US culinary educational system has during the past ten years contributed a new generation of food industry professionals with creativity, sophistication curiosity. The confluence of that and this information in this how-too book will create new; efficient, high quality, independent restaurateurs. Each will have the ability to leverage current sous-vide technology with regional flavor profiles that legacy restaurant chains will have a hard time competing with.

Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food has come of age. Consumers young and old are enjoying the simplicity of preparation, versatility of choice and portion control of grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food. Success does leave clues and “Modernist Cuisine” will provide the steps too success for many a restaurateur.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Monday, September 27, 2010

Restaurant, Convenience Store protein rotation creates opportunity for daypart expansion.


The confluence of solid customer research, media pressured menu calorie count postings, visceral digital menu boards and economic turmoil have created for some protein sectors, huge upside opportunity. Jack In The Box Restaurants understanding this confluence of activity successfully leveraged that knowledge. They were the first national restaurant chain to offer all menu items all day long.

During the past year Subway has entered the protein daypart expansion game by offering breakfast sandwiches and made them available all day. Most retail breakfast sandwiches are comprised of eggs, sausage and or ham. Interestingly, Quick Service Restaurants (QSR’s) on the whole have traditionally not offered a lot of egg or ham products at all beyond breakfast until now. Last year alone it had been reported that 60 plus million more egg related servings were consumer by US consumers.

Egg within sandwiches have in most cases fewer calories than traditional offerings at QSR’s. In turn QSR’s are realizing an increase frequency from consumers aged 25 to 49 years old. Reduced calorie offerings and meal period expansion will continue to contribute to additional protein rotation in restaurants in the coming years. Success does leave clues and lowering calories and food COG’s together is both good for the customer and the food retailers.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Friday, September 24, 2010

Better for you food has become very important within the foodservice community.


Last week, industry colleagues suggested I look into the “better for you” food trend and write a blog about it. That was easy, I had just been to a local restaurant witnessed and experienced a medley of vegetables that were perfect to write about on a Friday.

The vegetables were robust in color and fresh flavors. I spotted then at table’s all around me. There were bright orange carrots, green celery with fresh leaves and deep red beets. However everyone enjoying them was under 30 years of age. I have do jump in. Just what was I missing out on. Vegetable martinis; yes they tasted great! The patrons of the restaurant when asked, why a celery martini? Replied if your going to drink you should drink something that is good for you. I should have known. The celery martini by the way was outstanding. Below are some items that are I am told better for us.
Broccoli, It has lots of vitamin C, carotenoids, and folic acid. Steam it just enough so that it's still firm and add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a spritz of lemon juice.

Wild Salmon, The omega-3 fats in fatty fish like salmon can help reduce the risk of sudden-death heart attacks. And wild-caught salmon has less PCB contaminants than farmed salmon.

Unsweetened Yogurt, Plain yogurt has a pleasant tartness that’s a perfect foil for the natural sweetness of berries, bananas, or for your favorite breakfast cereal. It has more protein, potassium, calcium, zinc, and vitamins B-6 and B-12 than sweetened yogurt. That’s because it doesn’t have to share the container with the sugary preserves or the sugar that’s in many flavored yogurts.

Sweet Potatoes, A nutritional All-Star — one of the best vegetables you can eat. They're loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Bake and then mix in some unsweetened applesauce or crushed pineapple for extra moisture and sweetness

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Thursday, September 23, 2010

200,000 reasons for Restaurant and traditional Grocery stores too worry about sales.


Fresh Food Matters: that’s why new channels of distribution continue to unfold. The confluence of improved technology in packaging, processing and positioning food all have contributed to greatest opportunity for fresh prepared food retailers the world has ever seen. Fresh food that is ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat builds customer frequency and brand loyalty.

Convenience store’s now number more than 144,000 in the US and Sheetz and Wawa have provided a roadmap for top line growth and bottom line profits in this channel with fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready to heat food sales. Casey’s General stores in trying to fend off two suitors due in large part to the success they have day with grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food. The rest of this sector is in the process of testing new and innovative products.

37,500 Drug stores are now selling fresh food with the two largest chains now testing grocerant fresh prepared food. The test began in urban stores but is fast expanding too the suburbs.

20,250 Dollar stores all now have food, many are testing fresh food beyond the mike and eggs they are soliciting innovative new fresh prepared food products.

When you add things up, the consumer will in short order have an additional 200,000 new points of distribution to obtain fresh food. Is your company looking a customer ahead?

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Who is buying food and where?


The following post forwarded to me from an industry veteran to share here on my blog.  While C-store are garnering top and bottom line growth from new fresh food offering restaurants and grocery stores continue to lose market share.  Here we go enjoy.
"For as many years as I’ve been in the business, there’s been a bass line playing in a constant refrain: The supermarket is losing market share to competing formats. The decline hasn’t been precipitous, but it has been consistent. As a result, any sense of immediacy and alarm fades and everyone goes about their business, even though the slide quietly continues.

The latest proof that conventional supermarkets are losing out to their rivals comes from Dr. David Rogers, president of DSR Marketing Systems, a retail research consulting firm. Using newly released data from the federal government’s 2007 Census of Retail Trade, Rogers determined that supermarket sales grew 18%, from $395 billion in 2002 to $466 billion in 2007. Not bad, you might say.

Yet, a look at other channels puts everything in context and places the supermarket numbers in sharper focus. For example, sales in warehouse clubs (Costco, BJ’s) and supercenters (Wal-Mart, Target) increased by a whopping 70% during the same time period, from $191 billion to $325 billion.

“As a result, the supermarket share of the total grocery and foods market continued its long-term decline from 66% in 2002 to 63% in 2007… and a projected 62% in 2009,” Rogers wrote.

Who knows? The loss of market share might even have accelerated during the recession, as dollar stores joined with club and mass to siphon off frugal customers. The monthly retail census data was showing as late as last year that overall retail sales were down about 8%, while sales at warehouse and superstores were up 2%.

Rogers’ research found that along with sales, clubs and supercenters improved their market share, from 15.6% to 19.9% in 2007 and 20.6% in 2009. Value-oriented packaging in the former and low prices in the latter were the primary reasons they became preferred venues during the recession, though other formats also gained,

Dollar stores were a big winner, according to Rogers. This channel’s market share doubled between 2002 and 2007, and the expectation is that this rate will continue as more stores open. Drug stores also performed well, increasing their piece of the pie from 1.2% to 1.7% during the same period.

As the nation emerges from the recession, it will be interesting to see if some sort of balance is restored. Deflation has crushed supermarket margins and even low-price leader Wal-Mart is unwinding its experiment with “Project Impact” and going back to basics and everyday low pricing, according to the new chief operating officer of Wal-Mart U.S. Meanwhile, Target is busy introducing its PFresh food format in roughly 350 stores by the end of this year, also to remain competitive with thrift-minded, one-stop shoppers.

Supermarkets still might be losing share, but it seems as if the competitors have their own problems to worry about."

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Costco foresees fresh prepared food sales doubling in 10 years!


With just 572 stores open Costco has found top line growth and bottom line profits in grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food. Tim Rose, Costco’s Senior Vice President of Food and Sundries foresees fresh food sales more than doubling in the next ten years.

In a recent presentation Rose stated “Today fresh foods accounts for about $9.5 billion in sales and more than $1 billion in profit. In the next 10 years the company foresees $26 billion in sales, $2.0 billion net margin…”

Costco has utilized product sampling in each store for fresh prepared food products which has increased trial. Without doubt Costco will increase innovation in menu items, packaging size and continue to improve interactive customer focused in store presentation. Grocerant fresh prepared food drives both loyalty and an increase customer frequency. Success does leave clues and Costco has picked up many in the fresh food arena.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who is eating your lunch, Grocery stores, Convenience Stores or Restaurants?


Grocerant niche players within each sector are eating lunch. Repositioned grocerant retail foodservice operators are eating the lunch of legacy retail foodservice operators in multiple niches expanding their customer base. Foodservice retailers its time you EAT YOUR OWN LUCH before someone else does it for you.

The lesson is not a new one, but apparently needs to be re-taught to most restaurateurs, traditional grocery stores and a few convenience stores operators. Overall however the C-store sector is up this year 7 %, not bad while our economy continues to stumble. Grocerant fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food has been good for the repositioned companies in each niche and consumers.

Hedge funds have noticed the number of industry bankruptcies store closings and companies whose sales continue to slide in a downward direction and are getting nervous. The retail foodservice service customer is dynamic not static, your concept positioning must be the north-star from which all decisions flow, and they should flow with the consumer.

The on-going success of any retail foodservice concept comes from following the four steps listed below in the right order. It is important to EAT YOUR OWN LUNCH using these steps.

1. Concept positioning based upon an understanding of the customer today and looking a customer ahead not at the customer of the past.

2. Leverage the unit economics to capitalize on the positioning with ongoing integrated technology upgrades.

3. Establish solid Financial metric’s generated $2 in sales for every $1 of investment.

4. Grow the concept only when that does not jeopardize step 1 or 2 or 3.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bandwagon Marketing may work this time for Wendy’s!


When you can’t find the footing for your brand with the consumer, simply copy what the food sector leaders are doing and continue reading this blog. In 2005 our white paper The Customer Moved First, identified the meal component MIX & MATCH trend. The grocerant niche filled with fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food is booming in large part because of Mix & Match meal components found in the Convenience store, Grocery store and the Restaurant sector.

Wendy’s a division of floundering Atlanta-based Wendy’s/ Arby’s Group Inc. is trying to break out of a sales slump. Under utilizing the 5 P’s of grocerant fresh prepared food marketing; Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price with a consumer focus, Wendy’s is trailing others in the QSR sector.

Much like its sister chain Arby’s, Wendy’s lacks a vertically integrated, customer focused marketing strategy. Utilizing bundled tactics rather than strategy is like throwing buckets of water on a burring house. They need to create distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part, too edify their customer base. In the short term copy cat marketing programs, particularly grocerant mix & match programs will work.

The Grocerant niche is about convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization. Wendy’s can regain its legacy of industry excellence. However first Wendy’s must focus on the consumer today, rather than the past. Channel blurring is not in the minds eye of the consumer. It is only in the minds eye of the legacy marketing managers in legacy companies. The explosive growth within the ready-to-eat ready-heat fresh prepared food niche is a perfect example of how the consumer is responding. Do you know where your customers are eating?

http://www.foodservice.com/articles/show.cfm?contentid=4112&title=Restaurant Consumer Discontinuity

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA understands where restaurant customers are going.


We know that consumers are not eating any less, yet for the eight consecutive quarters this past spring restaurants as a sector recorded a decline in traffic according to NPD. The first place to look is the convenience store sector. Sales in that sector are up. The stock price of most convenience stores chains are up 30% or more this year alone. It’s all about fresh ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared food driving both the top and bottom line.

Non traditional food outlets are attracting new consumers. The c-store sector is but one of many non traditional food outlets within the new and expanding grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food niche. Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price are the 5 P’s of successful grocerant fresh prepared food retailing. Wawa is a company that understands the 5P’s and currently is the 3rd largest food retailer in the tri-state Delaware valley. Watch out Florida food retailers Wawa is coming your way.

Small footprint retailers the likes of Trader Joe’s, Fresh & Easy, Walgreens and Rite Aid are garnering attention from both your and old consumers equally. Even traditional grocery stores are finding success and margin expansion within the deli / fresh food department. Branded and private label fresh food offerings are empowering consumer choice in all retail outlets.

Competing with non traditional food retailers is new for restaurants. Understanding the competitors presents even more difficulties for most restaurateurs. If you’re a national restaurant chain waiting for the recession to end and things to go back to the way they were, sorry you are out of luck. Retail foodservice customers are dynamic not static. They move forward, not backward. Repositioning for success is where the customers have gone is key to your future success.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Harvesting retail food customers.


Old fashioned, legacy, today’s and tomorrow’s foodservice; where is your company positioned? When I was young my grandmother planed for holiday season, when the entire family would gather. She would grow and can pumpkin, then bake a pie from scratch. My mother would buy canned pumpkin, bake a pie and call it from scratch our holidays. My older sister buys a frozen pie made by Marie Callender’s bakes it and calls it fresh baked. I on the other hand, buy extra folding chairs, a new camera at Costco and pick up a pumpkin pie and say it was baked fresh from scratch.

Retail foodservice is about the consumer. If your company is doing with it did 7 years ago with only minor tweaks you may be entering an era of OLD FASHIONED. Consumer continuity in retail foodservice has changed little in the minds eye of the consumer. The vast majority of consumers still have Turkey and Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving. What has changed is the retail landscape.

Who sells food, how it is prepared, and new points of distribution have empowered consumer choice. The competition is no longer just between a grocery store and a restaurant it is divided between everyone who sells food. Demographics tell us the size of the family unit continue to get smaller. The successful food retailers of today and tomorrow have and are focusing, positioning and meeting the needs of those smaller units in large part with alternative non traditional formats.

Non traditional points of food distribution are evolving garnering your customers. If you’re waiting for the recession to end and things to go back to the way they were. Sorry you are out of luck. Retail foodservice customers are dynamic not static. They move forward, not backward.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

By By restaurants hello Convenience-stores.


Lunch share of stomach headed too Convenience Store sector, at least that’s what many in the C-store sector are placing bets on. What Do Consumers Think About Lunch at 7 Eleven? With ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food becoming the fastest growing and most profitable sector in retail foodservice aka the grocerant niche.

7 Eleven is perfectly situated to capture a large share of the marketplace. 7 Eleven will experience strong sales growth as they roll out an integrated grocerant food program with distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part. 7 Eleven’s successful food product branding has allowed them to own the flavored crushed ice niche with the Slurpee! They will do it by daypart with other food items as well. If success leaves clues keep your eye on 7 Eleven they are changing and changing fast.

With Quiznos desire to open 600 new locations within convenience stores highlights that the race for the share of stomach at lunch and dinner is only heating up. In a recently completed consumer proprietary research study Quiznos found that 54% of people eat lunch in 20 minutes or less. This works equally well for convenience store location and QSR’s.

With consumer multi-tasking more and more convenience stores with a plethora of food offering combined with other services may have an edge moving forward. According to the same study “ 75 percent of consumers are more satisfied when offered a variety of menu options to choose from; 60 percent of consumers say price is important when choosing between lunch options; 47 percent of consumers choose restaurants that are "earth-conscious"; and 76 percent of consumers take calories and nutrition into account when deciding on lunch.”

Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food is garnering the attention of the consumer. This niche is filled with better for you products that are portioned, priced and portable in ways that legacy restaurant operators have yet to understand.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Monday, September 13, 2010

Foodservice Solutions 5 P’s of retail foodservice marketing making a difference.


Understanding and utilizing the 5 P’s of grocerant fresh prepared food marketing; Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price with a consumer focus will lead to your success.


Channel blurring is not in the minds eye of the consumer. It is only in the minds eye of the legacy marketing managers in legacy companies. The explosive growth within the ready-to-eat ready-heat fresh prepared food niche is a perfect example of how the consumer is responding.

This year alone Walgreen’s, Rite Aid, Sears and Amazon all have developed and rolled out fresh food programs. 7 Eleven continues building on its global success with fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food. The grocerant niche is redefining avenues of fresh food distribution. In fact it will define success in years to come within each sector including, Restaurant, Convenience Store, Grocery Store and Drug Store channels.

It’s time for many in the industry to reconsider individual brand positions. Who are you and where do you want to be. QSR’s are moving into fresh prepared better for you food. Grocery stores are selling bundled meal components that are fresh prepared. Grocerant fresh prepared food is going main stream.

Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price are the 5 P’s of successful grocerant fresh prepared food retailing. Combine the 5 P’s with technology, a consumer focus and success follows.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Friday, September 10, 2010

Grocerant meal components bundled and portable make a family meal, a happy meal!


Alice May Brock said: “Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, wine and tarragon make it French, sour cream makes it Russian, lemon and cinnamon make it Greek, soy sauce makes it Chinese, garlic makes it good.”

Convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization; are hallmarks of grocerant niche.

Grocerants allow customers to select from Italian, French, Russian or Greek and utilize the components at home any way they like. The new American meal can be a composite of any prepared food components that the individual may want and they can mix and pair them any way as well. Our society is a composed for people from all over the world, with different cultures, traditions and flavor preferences. The new American meal is a melting pot of flavor and choice.

Fresh prepared and portable ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods are now available for all comers and can be found at Convenience stores, Drug stores, Grocery stores, Restaurants, Mobile trucks all just waiting for the taking.

Consumers have been exposed to a plethora of flavors and have not the time to master the skill of cooking each. This growing trend is empowering the consumer to establish new customs and traditions in eating better, more flavorful food. The Grocerant niche is about convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Slotting fees do not build brand value in retail foodservice.


The transformation of food retail is underway. Brand managers have been hired by retail food store chains adding value too the private label products that they manufactured and sell. Private label products in many cases today are valued more for quality than price by consumers thanks to the brand managers. Much of the credit can be given to PLMA and its 30 year record of educating and elevating the industry.

PLMA recently stated that “ Store brands have enjoyed an exceptional period of growth recently, as sales gains across all three of the major retail channels – supermarkets, drug chains and mass merchandisers – have outstripped national brands in consecutive sales quarters stretching back to the start of 2008. In the most recent quarter for which statistics are currently available, store brands posted overall sales growth of +2%, while national brand sales declined by -1.6%. Store brands today account for virtually one of every four products sold in supermarkets.”

Safeway, Kroger, Walgreens, 7 Eleven, Wawa and Sears are now all selling fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat grocerant food most of which is private label. Grocerant fresh prepared food is driving top line sales while building brand loyalty and customer frequency. PLMA will continue to flourish, while brand managers have found a new home within the grocerant niche of fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food.

http://www.foodservice.com/articles/show.cfm?contentid=4112&title=Restaurant Consumer Discontinuity

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grocerant niche positions for additional success with Bob Evans!


Understanding the American retail food consumer like few others in retail foodservice, Bob Evans continues its push into the grocerant niche. Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared better for you food now has Bob Evans family sized takeout meals.

Successful competition for share of stomach is key to any retail foodservice operator’s long term survival. The leadership at Bob Evans has followed the consumer; understands where the consumer is headed and is positioning too meet the unmet needs. Satisfying the customer will prove profitable for Bob Evans.

Grocerant niche customers like the mix & match meal bundle solutions. With Bob Evans meals “each dinner, which the chain says serves three to four people, comes with bread and a choice of side dish, or it can be ordered à la carte for $5 less than the meal price.

Choices include turkey breast and dressing; turkey, bacon and cheddar pasta; six grilled chicken breasts with choice of sauce; fried chicken breast; chicken and broccoli Alfredo; cranberry pecan chicken salad; pot roast stroganoff; chicken Parmesan; meat loaf; spaghetti and meat sauce; and roast beef with gravy.”

Market positioning is the key to success and Bob Evans is going after the “pizza” price point utilizing the 5 P’s of grocerant marketing. Understanding that share of stomach is not about your current niche or industry placement but rather it’s about the consumer. Bob Evans get’s it and will be gaining market share for years to come. The grocerant niche continues to boom!

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Can Yum sell food in the USA?


Lagging within each niche that they compete in the US; is it time to ask if Yum brands can sell ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food in the US? Bloated with PhD’s and MBA’s from top tier schools competent at crunching the numbers or process they seem to be falling short. If all they had to do was open stores in Asia their stock would reach new heights. They need to sell food here and edify their franchise community.


Creating or identifying distinctive differentiated food consumables as an entity with identity by day part in an area they have had some success. However they have dropped the ball when it comes time to branding those items while edifying the each chains respective brand. Understanding the unique balance between palate, price, pleasure and the consumer’s drive for qualitative distinctive differentiated new food consumables is an art that drives top line growth. Top line growth in the US is what Yum and it’s franchisee’s need.

The food value proposition equilibrium for the consumer today balances; better for you, flavor, and traditional products all blended into something with a twist. In industry speak, differentiated does not mean different to the consumer it means familiar. What’s more accepted and familiar than fried chicken?

Success leaves clues; transformational times require focus and experience with a qualitative edge. Do those PhD’s and MBA’s have a balance of IQ & EQ? If success does leave clues, then following Yum’s path may not be one of them.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Battle for the minds eye of the consumer heats up.


Timing and strategy, when aligned contribute to the success of an all out attack on your number one competitors advantages. McDonalds is the number one choice for breakfast in the US.

The ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat grocerant food niche continues to expand. The unemployment rate continues to rise and breakfast item sales off around the country. Burger King is now introducing nine new breakfast items, including blueberry biscuits and pancake platters. Sometimes you just can’t wait. I think that now is the time to boost visibility of Burger Kings breakfast.

“The rollout includes a marketing campaign featuring six new television ads highlighting the menu overhaul. The campaign will last about twice as long as most other Burger King campaigns.” That is also good refocusing on a growing daypart niche will ratchet up Burger King in the minds eye of the consumer.

Differentiation means familiar with a twist not different. Burger King has successfully positioned each new item to succeed. The ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat grocerant food niche continues to expand and Burger King is positioning to keep smaller players at bay and fire a shot across the bow of its number one competitor

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Monday, September 6, 2010

The frozen “Food Court” is the new restaurant real estate play!


If success leaves clues and listening is a key to success then we all need to listen when grocery store category managers refer to the freezer aisle turning into the new restaurant "frozen food court".

Channel blurring only exists in the BLIND eye of Neanderthal restaurant chain brand managers. Today restaurant brand managers must understand their brand and their customers. If they do; they can integrate marketing plans that complement their customers while intersecting with the brand in multiple channels of distribution.

Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Safeway each has incorporated a "frozen food court" in the frozen food aisle. Utilizing both national and regional restaurant branded food. Boston Market, TGI Friday's, PF Chang's, California Pizza Kitchen and now Burger King are the most-thorough players with complete or nearly-complete programs at retail. But many restaurants are either looking at leveraging their brands or are jumping in feet first, including Romano's Macaroni Grill, El Pollo Loco, Captain D's, and O'Charley's, while others are trying it by just dipping their toes in, The grocer and the restaurant brand all garner additional top line revenue and bottom line profits leveraging branded products.

Repeated evidence shows that the distinction in differentiation is a value of the brand. Leveraging that value within additional retail segments is simply contemporary consumer relevance. Is your brand relevant? Foodservice Solutions specializes in outsourced business development; we can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities and brand leveraging integration strategy.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Read more: http://www.foodservice.com/blogs/show.cfm?contentid=14231&title=The frozen “Food Court” is the new restaurant real estate play!#ixzz0yi41XVVc

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Demographics strongly contribute to a booming Convenience store sector.


The aging population in the US is following an extremely similar pattern as Japan’s population.   The US is 10 years behind in demo's and most of Europe is 5 years behind that demographic model.  Demographer’s, food retailers and consultants in the US and Europe have been following with great interest what’s working within foodservice and copying it with a “twist”. Here is a view of how much growth we could see.

This is an Editorial from The Japan Sunday Times online for September 5, 2005

Evolving convenience stores

In the quarter century since their introduction to Japan in 1974, convenience stores have become such a fixture that it is hard to imagine life without them. Passing department stores in sales by 2008, outlets now number more than 40,000 throughout Japan. In July their customer count rose by 2.3 percent from a year before to 1.2 billion, as people dropped in to escape the heat and buy cold drinks and ice cream. However, this was the first rise in sales in 14 months and the average amount spent has fallen for 20 months in a row year on year.

As the domestic market nears saturation, major chains are trying to widen their customer base, in particular eyeing the elderly and moving into the pharmaceutical market. With revisions to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law taking effect in June last year, convenience stores and supermarkets may now sell certain categories of nonprescription drugs such as cold medicines or stomach and headache remedies, but only in the presence of a pharmacist or specially trained and licensed salesclerks.

Because of the difficulty in recruiting the necessary licensed clerks, convenience store chains are turning to partnerships with drugstore chains. One example is the combination convenience store/drugstore that Lawson and Qol opened in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Aug. 2.

Even while facing pressures to maintain and increase sales, the stores are becoming ever more embedded in Japanese society. First permitted to sell postal stamps in the 1980s, they now handle payments of various private and public bills — utilities, phone services, national health insurance — in startling amounts: ¥3.7 trillion at 7-Eleven and ¥1.5 trillion Lawson, respectively, just in the business year ended in February.

Local governments are increasingly linking up with convenience stores for services such as issuing certificates of residence or earthquake relief. Stores are working to strengthen their local ties, developing new products (bentos, snack foods, etc.) jointly with local commercial or agricultural high schools, for example. Convenience stores also serve as a sort of modern kakekomi-dera, as evidenced by the 13,530 cases of women under threat, lost children and the sick who sought assistance or refuge within their walls in fiscal 2009. It looks like convenience stores, far from losing ground, are becoming ever more convenient.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Friday, September 3, 2010

Something to ponder over the weekend.


Undercover food brand marketing executives create a long term platform for success globally.


Private label branded products contribute to the success of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Kroger, Starbucks and Walgreens brands while building market share, top line sales and bottom line profits. Without inflated ego’s professional brand marketers continue to create, position and place consumer focused products that garner a loyal following from consumers.


Economic downturn aside it’s about private label retailer improved quality and selection that is driving the success; a 2010 global online survey conducted by The Nielsen Company found. Much of that success is driven by newly created brand managers from what I am hearing.

The Nielsen survey continued “Fully 88 percent of shoppers globally said they intend to keep buying private label even after the economy improves, suggesting that store brand quality has reached parity with national brands and delivers on consumer expectations”.

Private label brand managers at Wegmans have created a “great-tasting better-for-you comfort food”. (package above), “Super Pasta is a light brown color, but as it cooks, it turns a lighter shade, close to that of traditional white pasta. In both taste and appearance, it resembles traditional white pastas, which may be a plus in winning over those who have turned away from whole wheat pastas before, according to Wegmans’ product developers.” If success leaves clues, private label products will become a force within the food marketplace.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Global Grocerant development well underway France, USA and Malaysia


Costco is looking at vacated mall locations in the US to open more stores. Blending ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food with traditional CPG products has proven successful for Costco and these new locations with younger demographics will assist Costco in positioning for the future!

Malaysia’s Jaya Grocer currently in the Empire Shopping Gallery has focused on ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat grocerant food. They are transforming the grocery shopping; blending a dining and shopping experience.

Here is how it has been describe in Malaysia: “THE next time you head for Jaya Grocer to get your fresh cut of steak or seafood, you might not land up taking it out in a bag with you. Instead, you are probably going to enjoy tucking into the steak or fish, the way you like it prepared, sitting down in the middle of the supermarket. This is Jaya Grocer’s newly introduced “grocerant “at its Empire Shopping Gallery outlet – a one-stop shopping and dining experience within a supermarket. Shoppers can walk in, choose their choices of meat or seafood from the butchery or seafood counters, head to the El Fresco cashier to pay for it and specify their choice of how they want it cooked.

El Fresco – The Italiano Cafe: Authentic Italian cuisine is served here. Situated right in the middle of Jaya Grocer, El Fresco is the heart beat of the dining experience offered when shoppers step in. According to its manager Azhar Khairuddin, freshness of ingredients is the strength of Italian cooking. Being in a grocery store, freshness becomes a no issue. “Diners can choose fish, meat or vegetables from the grocery and we cook it for them according to their choice.” “We offer mid-range pricing but fine dining experience, not compromising on our presentation or quality of food,” he said. El Fresco offers a wide variety in their menu, ranging from starters to desserts with a big emphasis on pasta and pizza.”

Enough, sounds like any contemporized US grocery outlet, OK except for A & P who still does not get it! Here is my point. The world is getting smaller, people around the globe are repositioning the concept of food and traditional avenues of distribution. If you are a food retailer and you think you can do what you have done for the past 20 years, well you can’t! You just might end up looking like A & P who could end up being bought by Jaya Grocer of Malaysia! Have your called Foodservice Solutions? Are you ready for a grocerant program assessment or grocerant brand positioning plan?

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants