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Grocery Store Grazing


After three years of online success and a U.K.-based retail launch, “the snack subscription service is expanding into retail stores in the United States. Graze branded products will be appearing on store shelves . . . in 3,500 U.S. outlets under such banners as Walgreens, Hannaford, Big Y and Shop Rite,” reports Food Business News.

As more meal occasions become snack occasions instead, Graze could mean big business for consumers and retailers. Nielsen Perishables Group research shows 90 percent of U.S. consumers eat at least one snack a day, and snacking represented 50 percent of all eating occasions in 2015. That makes snacking a trend that deserves plenty of attention, according to Sarah Schmansky, director of business operations at Nielsen Perishables Group. She sees innovation around healthy snacking and portable food as “necessary to win in a retail environment where consumer behaviors and priorities are evolving quickly.”

Graze’s pre-packed snacks will fill some need states for portability, but grocerants can capture attention by incorporating other important trends: customization and personalization. Schmansky notes that “consumers now have the ability to get basically anything made the way they want within foodservice. The supermarket industry must follow suit.”

At Festival Foods, based in De Pere, Wis., customers have been receptive to store-made snack combinations packed in sectioned dishes with items like chicken salad, crackers, grapes and baby carrots. A combo with grilled chicken, hummus, vegetables and fruit is another popular package. Smaller snack-cup portions are available at the snack bar, and instead of the usual yogurt and granola, Festival Foods offers peanut butter and fruit, and a signature dill dressing and vegetables, among other varieties.

Cindy L. Schmidt, senior fresh foods specialist at Festival Foods, says the retailer’s mission is to create a “boomerang effect,” or ensure that customers keep coming back.

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • Smaller containers at the salad bar for snack-sizing
  • Unexpected elements at a yogurt or salad bar, like chocolate chunks, dried fruit, chia pudding and spiced nuts
  • A “mezze station” filled with pre-cut cheese, charcuterie, olives and packs of artisan crackers
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