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The Grocerant Solution


Recognizing that time-pressed Americans are increasingly looking for meal solutions rather than recipes, more than 50 grocery retailers will attend Progressive Grocer’s Grocerant Summit in Northbrook, Ill., Oct. 20–21, to learn how to define their strategies and implement profitable ideas for fresh prepared foods at retail.

While progressive grocers have been selling fresh prepared offerings for years, the industry now recognizes that a solid grocerant program — once a game-changer — is required to fulfill the needs of smaller households and busy families alike. Unfortunately, grocerant offerings are considered by just 5.3 percent of consumers when deciding on their evening meals, and there are lots of opportunities to decide, as 70 percent of respondents to a Tyson Foods survey report that they face unplanned meals at least once a week.

Dramatic Departure

The summit will address retailers’ major grocerant pain points in the areas of staffing, assortment, marketing and operations. While grocerant offerings compete head-on with traditional foodservice, it’s a dramatic departure for grocery retailers, who must embrace new business models to succeed. Formal sessions on Oct. 20 will both lay the groundwork for why grocerant programs matter and offer a glimpse of grocerant offerings of the future. Attendees will see what best-in-class solutions look like, which trends are driving demand for fresh prepared solutions, the consequences of failure and how retailers can communicate effectively to gain a seat at the new American dinner table.

Day two will focus on practical implementation and winning strategies for retailers. Notable presentations will include strategies for successful recruitment, retention and training; ergonomics and engineering of space for both grocerant employees and customer engagement; a panel of professionally trained retail chefs sharing what they bring to grocery retail; and tips for creating a culinary path that aligns with your banner.

Another key feature of Grocerant Summit will be the Grocerant Solution Center, including demonstrations, food preparation, and snacks and meals to inspire retailers as they build their grocerant programs.

Further, Grocerant Summit Platinum Sponsors will demonstrate their thought leadership through presentations on how to make the most of limited space, research into opportunities and examples of creative strategies for overcoming challenges with high-priced and premium products, and valuable research on the consequences of failing to deliver against shopper expectations, among many other key topics.

The full agenda is as follows:

  • Why Grocerant Matters: Stagnito Business Information President and CEO Harry Stagnito welcomes attendees and provides a brief overview of the rise of grocerant programs.
  • Grocery’s Place in the Changing Foodservice Landscape: Penny Anderson, director of The NPD Group, pulls from the company’s proprietary CREST data to serve up a view of foodservice eating occasions based on feedback from the people actually doing the eating. From dayparts and venues to orders and motivations, Anderson lays out where the opportunities lie.
  • Consequences of Failure (sponsored): Tyson Foods Inc. VP of Marketing, Deli, Eric Le Blanc illustrates the importance of connecting with consumers before they enter the grocery store — and while they’re still deciding what to have for dinner. As important as the pre-shop connecting is, however, it’s in-store execution that determines success or failure. Le Blanc reveals the real cost of failing to address three key grocerant elements: product issues, staffing issues, and general issues such as cleanliness, wait and product readiness.
  • Dinner in America: Christopher Brace, CEO of Shopper Intelligence, explains that dinner in America isn’t what it used to be, and only understanding shoppers’ current emotional connections to the meal will help retailers gain a seat at the dinner table. Brace helps retailer attendees define their growth objectives and develop strategies to create the right story for the desired audience.
  • Out of the Box: How Subscription Services Inspire Grocerant Creativity: Lifehack. Paleo. All-natural. Farm-to-table. Personalized diet. These are just a few of the buzzwords that are driving consumers to choose subscription meal services. In this interactive session, Susan Weller, principal of SW Branded Concepts, guides attendees as they discover the “winning” elements of subscription meal services, how they might inform creative foodservice concepts and what elements could be applied in their own operations — almost immediately. Weller follows up on Tuesday with ideas generated from her first interactive session.
  • People Platform: Recruitment, Training, Retention: All grocery retail is challenged by talent, but it’s particularly challenging for grocerant concepts because optimally, team members will score high in social engagement. Janet Hoffmann, principal of HR Aligned Design, tells attendees how to attract, train and retain the best for success.
  • Ergonomics & Engineering: The Secret Ingredients to Efficient, Profitable Retail Foodservice: Juan Martinez, principal of Profitality, takes attendees through an “employee-centric” approach to simplifying execution to optimize labor efficiency, streamline customer service and facilitate menu innovation, all while improving economic value. The session promises actionable strategies that can be implemented immediately for some quick wins.
  • The Sous-vide Solution (sponsored): Sous-vide might just be the best-kept secret of savvy commercial kitchens — until now. SugarCreek VP of Business Development Lance Layman illustrates this emerging cooking technology which delivers product consistency and food safety while saving time and labor. Additionally Millie Nuno senior market manager, food at Ampac, serves up customer-friendly meal solution packaging.
  • Grocerant Footprint: Adaption and Evolution (sponsored). In the swiftly evolving grocerant segment, grocery retailers must adjust to consumer trends, often within a fixed footprint. Healthier food trends often require new technologies and new levels of food safety. Angelo Grillas, director of marketing at Electrolux, takes attendees through case studies that highlight optimal workflow, emerging technologies and the company’s culinary expertise.
  • 5 Critical Factors for Executing a Successful Grocerant (sponsored): Beyond refrigerated display cases and refrigeration systems, Hillphoenix helps retailers execute holistic store design, from food programs to concepts, and employee training to décor. Henry Pellerin, VP of marketing at Hillphoenix, discusses the five critical factors needed to execute a successful grocerant. Items covered include menus, layouts and flow, versatility/flexibility of equipment, merchandising, and employee talent. Pellerin advises how to have a grocerant program that captivates the customer, from breakfast through evening snacks, with fresh products.
  • Beef: Adding — and Creating — Value (sponsored): Beef sales bring more value to the basket, but retailers face high cost and preparation hurdles when selling beef as part of their fresh prepared food offerings. Meghan Pusey, of The Beef Checkoff, shares research that identifies opportunities and unveils successful examples from retailers that have overcome these challenges with creative strategies that can work in the deli prepared perimeter.
  • Forging Your Culinary Path: A successful grocerant program aligns with a banner’s overall mission and customer base but before delving into menu development and cost analyses Chef Steven Petusevsky, principal of Culinary Innovation for the Food Service Industry provides retailer attendees with the key strategies they’ll need to embrace to create a new business model.
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