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11/08/2022

FMI Report Offers Advice to Put Grocery Foodservice on the Map

Shoppers want more value deals, nutritional options, convenient choices
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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FMI's new "Power of Retail Foodservice" report found that 53% said grocery foodservice items are a good value versus eating at a restaurant or ordering takeout.

According to the new “Power of Foodservice at Retail 2022” report from FMI – The Food Industry Association, food retailers can successfully vie for consumers’ food dollars by emphasizing value, nutrition and convenience while clearly communicating these benefits to shoppers.

Currently, a quarter of shoppers (25%) are buying more grocery foodservice items than the previous year, exceeding dollar and unit sales volume from last year and 2019.

[Read more: "Consumers Navigate Inflationary Headwinds During Holidays"]

“It’s our opportunity to put grocery foodservice on the map,” noted Rick Stein, VP of fresh foods at Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “At a time when consumers are rethinking where to put their food dollars, retailers need to demonstrate the value of grocery foodservice and exceed expectations. The ‘Power of Foodservice at Retail 2022’ report provides a detailed roadmap on where retailers can supercharge segment success.”

With inflation restricting their budgets, shoppers are making more meals at home, and focusing on weekly meal planning and scratch cooking. The report found that 53% said grocery foodservice items are a good value versus eating at a restaurant or ordering takeout. Retailers can capitalize on consumer needs by supporting shoppers’ meal planning through targeted strategies such as suggesting different meal themes by day, expanding the variety of meal bundles and total meal solutions offered, and promoting meal components for particular dishes.

A rising number of shoppers rank nutritional value highly when considering foodservice options. Fifty-eight percent of consumers expressed interest in vegetables or other nutritious options, but only slightly more than a third (36%) said that they were “very satisfied” with the nutrition levels of current foodservice offerings. Consumers noted that retailers should reduce their number of dishes containing fried foods and add more plant-based choices. The study also found that grocers can get shoppers to try new and existing nutritious options by promoting them via in-store signage, printed circulars, store apps and social media channels.

To compete for the away-from-home dollar, retailers should think about adopting restaurant-style amenities, the report advised. For instance, 50% of shoppers said that the ability to order grocery foodservice items in advance via a mobile app or website and pickup at an inside pre-order station was appealing. Drive-thru lanes (48%), a separate checkout in the foodservice area (44%), delivery by the grocery store (42%), and outside pickup stations (38%) were cited as other potential offerings to lure grocery shoppers to purchase foodservice items.

Retailers have a compelling story to tell about the many ways foodservice delivers on value, nutrition and convenience, but the analysis also suggests something’s missing: Shoppers are craving a new menu,” observed Stein. “They want our industry to regularly evaluate cuisines and seek their feedback.”

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