Friday, May 25, 2018

Grocery Shopping Take’s too Long

The retail food shopping experience is evolving faster than many legacy CPG manufactures; grocery retailers can even begin to image according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Once top of mind for consumers were brands the ilk Hunts, Kraft Heinz , and Campbell’s Soup today consumers want fresh meal components and are migrating to retailers with fresh food they can buy fast.
In search to speed up the grocery shopping experience consumers have come to rely on digital channels and now expect online access in their path to purchase, a study by consumer target marketing firm SKUlocal found.
Forty-three percent of shoppers have subscribed to receive home delivery of grocery products, and 47% have done so for beauty and personal care products, according to SKUlocal’s report “The Convenience Dynamic: How Digital Shopping Is Shifting the Grocery Ecosystem.”
“Brands and grocery retailers can no longer afford to ignore e-commerce. While some adoption rates remain low and not all categories have shifted fully online, e-commerce now represents the opportunity for significant market share which must be considered in the strategic planning process,” St. Petersburg, Fla.-based SKUlocal said in the report. “While accommodating the shift may be a challenge, it also presents a host of opportunities.”
Price plays a key role in swaying consumers to buy online rather than in-store. Of digital grocery shoppers, 52% think they find better prices online for groceries, health and beauty aids, over-the-counter health products and pet supplies, SKUlocal said. Just 28% believe they’ll get better prices by going to the store.

“It’s imperative that brands and retailers alike become very strategic on which product categories to feature and push online, and analyze which products drive more in-store sales conversions,” SKUlocal noted in the report.
For example, although Millennial shoppers are digitally native and have embraced online grocery delivery faster than other consumers, they’re also the most likely to switch channels to get what they want. SKUlocal’s research found that 56% of Millennials tend to buy natural and organic foods in-store. What’s more, only 16% have used digital channels to purchase healthier foods.
Purchases of center store and general merchandise have moved online the fastest, while HBA, OTC, and fresh and frozen foods are migrating more slowly, SKUlocal reported. Yet private label presents a sizable opportunity for brands and retailers in the digital realm. The study found that 77% of consumers have considered buying private label products online when shopping for grocery, HBA, pet care and OTC items.
“Shoppers revealed that low brand affinity is one of the main influences to consider private-label brands when shopping for high-margin grocery categories,” SKUlocal’s report said in explaining how private label is capturing strong e-commerce share.
Over the next 10 years, online grocery shopping stands to reach market saturation, accounting for over a fifth of grocery spend. That means marketers must get a better handle on where targeted shoppers are buying various product categories and why they’re using those channels, according to SKUlocal.
“Shoppers aren’t just omnichannel in terms of how they’re exposed to marketing; they’re omnishoppers that fluidly move between each channel to make the purchases that meet their needs,”. “Marketers must approach them holistically if they want to capture the right touchpoints and influence them to become repeat shoppers or loyal customers.” Is your retail experience fast enough? Are you selling fresh meal components?
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Grocerant Growth Food Options Speeds New Concept Dash In Forward

Success does leave clues and retailers are evolving from Convenience Stores and Restaurants to Grocerant niche fresh food concepts that are garnering incremental customer loyalty, driving food retail migration, expanding disruption within legacy retail food sectors according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Dash In a new concept store by the Willis Group created a platform where time stared consumers can get a fresh meal and or meal components or eat a fresh prepared meal according to Johnson. Dash In has 5,600 sq. ft. and blurs the lines between restaurant and C-store by combining a neighborhood bar and grill format with the self-service gas station and car wash layout that is familiar to consumers.
To appeal to consumers’ on-the-go lifestyles, the store stocks fresh, made-in-house grab and go menu items such as artisan sandwiches and salads, in addition to locally sourced snacks such as Good Earth Peanuts, grown in Skippers, Virginia, about one hour south of Richmond.
The bar and grill features of the Dash In store include indoor bar and communal seating, and outdoor seating. An open kitchen will prepare items from the store’s “Craveable” menu which includes Memphis pulled-pork sandwich made with slow-cooked pork in a maple brown sugar barbecue sauce and topped with caramelized onions, as well as a cranberry chicken croissant that Willis Group noted is a customer favorite. The sandwich is made with chicken breast, dried cranberries, red onion, and a hint of lime.
Julian B. Wills, president of Dash In  stated “Our newest Dash In is a demonstration of our commitment to creating a store design that offers an elevated brand experience for our customers,” Dash In capitalizes on several strategies food industry research company Nielsen identified as necessary to remain competitive in a saturated food retail market most of which mirrors Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant ScoreCard data.
In an Insight report from 2017 Nielsen noted that convenience stores have many sources for inspiration. “In the QSR realm, speed has become an essential service element,” Nielsen reported. “Convenience stores need to follow suit, ensuring that customers looking for a quick meal can get in and out swiftly.”
The Dash In concept store offers all-day breakfast, as a nod to the quick-service restaurant (QSR) channel and a direct invitation to customers. Nielsen also recommended restaurant-style seating, broad menus for in-store service and premium product offerings as strategies for elevating the customer experience.
Here is what was different “Digging deeper, Nielsen data shows that subcategories like enhanced water, import, super premium and craft beer, ready-to-eat (RTE) meals, e-cigarettes, tools and housewares and sparkling wine all delivered mid-to-high double-digit sales growth for convenience stores last year,” Nielsen said in its Insight report.
Darleen Nascimento, director of brand marketing for Dash In  “We are delighted to support the craftsmanship of local purveyors and breweries throughout the region within this new Dash In experience,”  “Dash In’s commitment is to make life more rewarding for time-stretched people — we look forward to transforming necessary errands into engaging experiences.”
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Digital Payment Speeds Service Drives Sales

Legacy grocery stores have long been known by consumers as a place that it takes too long to shop at and even longer to wait in line to pay only to coaxed while in line for that last minute impulse buy the consumer really did not want according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
In a new study by Adyen found “Over the last 12 months, 86 percent of U.S. consumers say they have left a store due to long lines, resulting in purchases at a different retailer or no purchase at all. This resulted in approximately $37.7 billion lost in potential sales. In addition, $1.1 billion in potential sales have been lost when retailers don't support their customers' preferred payment methods, the survey found.
A key segment emerged in the study, coined "Spendsetters." This group loves to use technology, tends to be early adopters and represents one-third of all consumers and 52 percent of millennials.
According to Adyen, spendsetters will drive the future of retail as the key segment of shoppers who set the trends for how people want to spend and shop. The group is also the leading indicator of broader customer demands in retail experience and where the industry is headed.
Roelant Prins, chief commercial officer at Adyen stated "Retailers need to cater to shoppers by offering fast, easy and frictionless ways to pay so there are minimal lines and offer personalized recommendations and in-store deals. In other words, experience is key." Additional findings on Spendsetters from the survey include:
·         45 percent believe brand is important and are willing to pay a premium for the experience
·         49 percent love to shop
·         42 percent prefer to shop online
·         80 percent are comfortable using digital wallets
·         86 percent have left a store due to long lines
Spendsetters also have three overarching shopping demands:
·         75 percent would shop more in-store with a "just walk out" payment experience
·         69 percent would shop more in-store with shorter lines and direct shipping of out-of-stock products
Context (personalized)
·         57 percent say the ability to check if an item is available online before going in-store would increase their loyalty to a retailer
·         53 percent prefer a store with a mobile loyalty program
·         72 percent would shop more with personalized product recommendations and coupons, based on location
·         61 percent want personalized experiences based on past purchases and preferences
Control (interaction on their terms)
·         59 percent want to use a store-branded app to pay onsite
·         80 percent are comfortable using digital wallets
·         53 percent would shop more online if they could use a chatbot with personalized recommendations
·         80 percent would increase shopping frequency online through marketplaces
The survey also examined issues from the retailers' perspective:
·         46 percent of retailers are considering cashless stores
·         67 percent see an increase in customers using their mobile phones in-store for coupons, payments and product info
·         64 percent see a need for associates to use mobile devices to better assist customers
Additionally, when it comes to luxury retailers, 85 percent see an increase in customers using their mobile phone for shopping in stores in regards to coupons, payments and product information, and 74 percent are considering cashless stores that only accept cards and digital payment.
So just what is your New Electricity? Success does leave clues  is the global leader in grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed a Grocerant Program Assessment, or new Grocerant niche product Ideation?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Convenience Stores Sales are Higher Restaurants Sales are Flat

While U.S. convenience stores experienced a 15th straight year of record in-store sales and a 4th straight year of $10 billion-plus in pretax profits, according the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Restaurant sales remain flat overall according to TDn2K Black Box Intelligence.
C-store sales attract 165 million customers a day -- half of the U.S. population and stores account for one in 31 dollars spent in the country. The rest of the story is that restaurant customers continue to fuel foodservice growth within the S-store sector according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
U.S. convenience stores sales overall surged 9.3% to $601.1 billion in 2017.  Put another way, one of every 30.9 dollars spent in the country was spent at a convenience store in 2017.
Meanwhile, in-store sales increased 1.7% to a record $237.0 billion. Foodservice, as a broad category that mostly includes prepared food (69% of both category sales and profits) but also commissary foods and hot, cold and frozen dispensed beverages, continues to be a key focus for growth in the convenience store channel.
Foodservice sales overall in 2017 were $53.3 billion, accounting for 22.5% of in-store sales in 2017 and 33.9% of gross profit dollars. The category also was the biggest differentiator in terms of profits: top-quartile performers had prepared food sales that were 3.6 times greater than bottom-quartile stores; coffee sales at top performers were 5.2 times greater that than those of the bottom quartile.
Convenience stores sell 23.8% of packaged beverages in the United States per Nielsen and saw a slight 0.4% sales increase in 2017. Within the category, enhanced water saw the strongest sales increase (9.1%); ready-to-drink iced teas (3.5%), alternative beverages (3.5%) and bottled water (0.6%) also posted sales increases. Mix and Match meal component bundling is the key advantage C-stores have according to Johnson.  Wonder how you can elevate your branded meals component options?
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Complexity Free Food is Food Authenticity

Restaurants at times elevate complexity in menu items to create differentiation.  That however was back in the day today complexity free food is more than just transparency in food according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.

Grocerant niche ‘Better-for-you’ fresh prepared food that is portable and portioned for one or two continues to drive demand in every sector of retail foodservice. Consumers today are seeking ‘better-for-you’ fresh prepared food as meal components that can be bundled in to a customized family meal according to Johnson. Does your team have the wrong definition for Grocerant? Do you understand the Grocerant niche?

Grocery stores of a bygone era thought they could responded to consumers demand to drive sales simply by opening more stores, larger stores, or ‘scale’ a fresh food department that looked like 1980’s rather than today. 
That did work when most food choice came from a can, a jar, or a box that could sit on a shelf for years and slotting fees paid for the shelf space. Simply put was a mindset of yesterday’s food retailers the ilk of A&P and others still taking slotting fees.

Johnson continued “retailers back in the day felt that all they need was more scale to compete successfully with other grocery stores. Today consumers demand fresh grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat prepared food can be found at companies the ilk of Wegmans, Green Zebra Grocery, New Season Market, Wawa, Sheetz, KFC, McDonald’s, and Papa Murphy’s.

Complexity free in the minds-eye of the consumer according to the team at Tacoma, WA based means, less meal preparation time, little or no cooking, less food waste, less time shopping, less packaging, local, fresh fast food, in-season food, and portions for one or two. In fact one of the key findings was no matter the size of the household fresh was best and the ability to mix and match meal components was crucial.  Does your company look more like yesterday or tomorrow?
Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Who Wins Millennials vs Restaurants, Grocerants, Grocery Stores

Millennial's relentless quest for fresh food discovery has created brand migration, new food sector trial, and migration from well-established ‘path-to-purchase’ paths not so well worn according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. 
Eating-In while Eating-Out is more common with Millennials than any other cohort. FMI’s Power of Foodservice at Retail looks at trends in retail foodservice and details how millennial shoppers look at meals they prepare at home, eat in restaurants, take out and have delivered to them. Here are some top findings that can help inform your foodservice at retail strategy:
·         Millennials (ages 19 to 37) average fewer weekly dinners that require some level of preparation. But that doesn’t mean they care any less about nutrition or variety than those who prepare more of their own meals.
·         To a greater extent than other shoppers, older millennials (ages 28 to 37) are interested in nutrition information. Older millennials value good nutrition when it comes to making meal selections that they don’t prepare themselves. The nutrition of the item almost as important as speed of service. They expect the retailer to tell them how fresh a product’s ingredients are and to provide them with information about any artificial ingredients that are used as well.
·         Older millennials also want to know about your food safety measures and detailed calorie information. They want healthier alternatives when selecting meals from a retailer’s foodservice department, things like low-calorie salad dressings and turkey meatloaf. In addition, this group also wants more organic options.
·         While younger millennials (those 18 to 27) are also interested in nutrition, they are even more interested in variety and the ability to select from a number of different cuisines. Younger millennials expect you to give them a better drink selection in foodservice, and that includes a good selection of different beers and wines. Among the options they would like to see are more vegetarian choices and chef-inspired meals. They demand more than just chicken when it comes to your deli meat selection and they like to see menus change with the seasons.
·         Millennials of all ages want to experiment more with the world’s cuisines. Their favorites include Mexican, Mediterranean, Japanese/sushi, Thai and Vietnamese.
Does your brand look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Grocerant niche is a platform that invites discovery.  Is it time to call the experts?  Success does leave clues. 
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pilot Flying J Fresh Food Fast

Fresh food fast dominates within the restaurant sector with 80.7 % of all restaurant sector visits occurring at fast food restaurants. It’s no wonder that all foodservice retailers are expanding fresh food fast formats with increasing success according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Fresh food fast and flavorful is top of mind at Pilot Flying J as they continue to expand Pilot Express units with a heavy emphasis on food and service.  Conceptualization of Pilot Express began at the end of 2016, with "earnest developments" rolling out at the start of 2017 as regular readers of this blog know as we excel within this space. 
The smaller-format concept particularly spotlights Pilot Flying J's commitment to food and beverage innovation, in line with the company's Facility Enhancement Plan (FEP). Introduced at the start of 2017, the FEP is the travel center operator's $500-million, five-year commitment to reimage existing locations through total facility image, menu and retail environment enhancements, and the addition of new services.
Pilot Flying J Chief Merchant Brian Ferguson explained  "Our Pilot Express locations have a smaller footprint compared to our traditional travel centers, just compressed to focus on food and beverage because that’s what our guests want, what they need and what they’re asking for,"
Built around the retailer's PJ Fresh Marketplace program, Pilot Express stores offer homestyle meals, grab-and-go and made-to-order sandwiches and salads, premium beverages, a "bean-to-cup, make-it-your-way, you-are-your-own-barista" coffee experience, and weekly limited-time offers. I bet that sounds familiar to many of you and you think about Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of Food Marketing.
Ferguson continued, additional Pilot Express locations will open in 2018 and continue to play a strategic role in the success of its FEP, which is now in phase two. Pilot Flying J is targeting 50 locations this year for reimaging. Projects were completed at 50 locations in 2017 as part of phase one.
Furguson added "Our mission is deliver care and a smile at every stop, so when drivers are making the decision to get off the interstate to stop at a Pilot, Flying J or Pilot Express, we want guests to say, 'Pilot Flying J has tremendous service hospitality, amazing food,”
Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization? Email us at: or visit: for more information.