Grocers' Meal Solutions Retrieving Share from Restaurants: Study

CHICAGO -- Food retailers with meal solutions programs, including supermarkets, c-stores, warehouse/club stores, supercenters, and various specialty retailers, are luring time-starved restaurant customers back to their stores, according to recent research released by foodservice consultancy Technomic here.

Sales of retailers' meal solutions, excluding beverages, will exceed $25 billion in 2007, according to the research study, "Retailer Meal Solutions: An Opportunity Assessment."

Technomic said supermarkets and other retailers offering complete meal solutions have seen their customer traffic increase at twice the rate of restaurants over the past five years. "This is clearly a competitive threat to many chain restaurant brands," said Ron Paul, president of Technomic.

Customer are looking for complete meal solutions, and that is magnifying the growth opportunities for retailers, said Paul. "Consumers have moved well beyond basic deli items," he said. "They want retailers to deliver all-inclusive meals, including entrees, sides, beverage, and dessert. Lighter lunch offerings also hold strong consumer appeal."

Paul said Bristol Farms, Central Market, Publix, Ukrop's, Wegmans, and Whole Foods have successful meal solutions programs. He also cited the recent opening of several Tesco's Fresh and Easy stores in the U.S. provides as evidence that the retailers are likely to continue to gain ground on restaurants.

The full report is available at
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