Sunday, January 21, 2018

Choice Market Fresh and Local Proves Successful

When you are on your way home from work and begin thinking, ‘What’s for Dinner’ and you live in Denver Colorado, there is a good chance that you are thinking about stopping at Choice Market according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Choice Market can easily be called a grocerant as the Denver convenience-grocery store hybrid is the brainchild of founder and CEO Mike Fogarty.  Fogarty who grew up outside of Philadelphia, with the regional favorite Wawa and as regular readers of this blog know continues to driving fresh food success with customer focused foodservice empowered with cultural relevance, customization, and coffee.

Fogarty stated “I started looking at the landscape out there, whether it’s convenience stores or grocery stores.  Because honestly (Choice Market), this is somewhere between the two. .. and there didn’t seem to be any good option.”
Three years in the making, Choice Market focuses on three key differentiators:

·         Fresh — Customers can get high-quality fresh food that’s prepared in-house.
·         Local — Choice supports local purveyors and is in the community actively looking for new ones, especially for key categories like milk, bread, coffee and cheese.
·         On-Demand — Open 24 hours a day, customers can order in-store at self-serve kiosks, or receive help from staff. Customers also have the ability to order online and have the items delivered within an hour for a flat rate of $3.99 via Postmates.

Fogarty continued “Choice is a new kind of convenience store. The way we’ve positioned ourselves is that we’re providing the transaction time, product diversity and operating hours of a traditional convenience store, but marrying that to a product selection more along the lines of consumers’ growing preference for fresh, local and organic,”

Food preparation is a large element of Choice’s overall proposition, to showcase its homemade offers. That is why the 30-foot by 80-foot kitchen is seamlessly integrated with the point-of-sale, creating an “experience” for consumers by giving them the ability to watch their food being made while they continue shopping the store. Choice’s made-to-order menu spans sandwiches, flatbreads, bowls and breakfast burritos.

Grab-and-go makes up a large portion of the store’s business model as well, with the “sizeable” selection including side salads, small wraps and sandwiches, snack packs, and fresh fruit. The store offers local and seasonal products wherever possible. Choice Market is fresh food fast with the halo of ‘better-for-you’ according to Johnson.

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how 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.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Fresh Food Leads the convenience store industry’s forecast for 2018

Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food once again leads the CSNews Forecast Study for 2018; thus empowering convenience store operators to continue elevating the quality of Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food they offer in search for incremental sales and profits according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

The CSNews study found that heading into 2018 operators project an overall 3.9-percent increase.  The category leading all other categories way with a projected 6% gain was of course foodservice. Participants were asked to predict 2018 sales per store for a variety of product categories, as well as to share their opinions on overall business, economic and consumer trends.
As noted this year’s category standouts are predicted to be foodservice and alternative snacks. Conversely, 2018’s category strugglers are expected to be cigarettes and edible grocery, both of which were also ranked as the bottom two in last year’s Forecast Study.

Consumers continue to migrate to Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food and any retailer or food manufacture that want to sell more must address the unmet need of the consumer and as regular reader of this blog understand the undercurrents driving trend continue to expand.

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:

Friday, January 19, 2018

Grocery Shopper Migration Benefits Restaurateurs

Yes, regular readers of this blog know that the line between restaurants and food retailers is growing ever thinner. The fight for America's food dollars continues to intensify as consumers find grocerant niche fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat food options at a wide and growing array of outlets across almost every channel including convenience stores, chain drug stores, restaurants, grocery stores, club stores, vending and even more non-food traditional fresh food retailers like dollar stores but the restaurant sector just may benefit the most from grocery store customer migration according to Steve Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

While manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants worry about choice overload, consumers have embraced their new choices and show no signs of returning to the old ways. This fight is taking place in what is called the grocerant niche.  In 2012 there were 27 restaurants for each legacy grocery stores. Today there are 30 restaurants for every one legacy grocery store and the numbers continue to grow according to Johnson. 
Nielsen’s Symphony Retail Ai has pointed out what our Grocerant Guru® has been pointing out since 1991 that in its new “Supermarket 2020” report that market forces “are driving radical disruption in supermarkets”.  Symphony Retail Ai’s research identified key trends that include:

  • Large weekly shopping trips being displaced by online shopping and preferences for prepared foods. The weekly “pantry-loading” shopping trip to the local grocery store is declining, with a 3-4% decrease in large baskets from just a year ago. Consumers are increasingly turning to online shopping when purchasing 15+ items, and online grocery shopping has risen 14% in the U.S. In addition, 76% of consumers report that they are increasingly buying prepared food instead of cooking dinner.
  • Amazon’s disruption through its acquisition of Whole Foods. Whole Foods immediately lowered prices on many products on Day One of the Amazon acquisition, and together, Amazon and Whole Foods have a huge logistical advantage. Eighty-one percent of Whole Foods shoppers represent the same demographics as Amazon Prime customers, and 95% of Amazon Prime customers now have refrigerated Amazon distribution centers within 10 miles.
  • Growth of private label brands. CPGs are feeling the pressure, too, facing increasing competition from private label brands. Private label is up 18% in the U.S., leading to revenue losses and lower margins for major CPGs and creating headwinds for future growth.
  • Continued, fierce competition from discounters such as Aldi, LIDL, Walmart and others. Aldi and LIDL are turning up the heat on traditional supermarkets by rapidly increasing their store count in the U.S. Far more than just discounters, they are expert product curators with highly efficient stores that feature higher-margin private label brands and low overhead. Adding to this, Walmart has declared a “price war” on grocery SKUs, asking CPGs to move all trade promotion dollars into “Everyday Low Price.”

Pallab Chatterjee, Chairman and CEO, Symphony Retail Ai stated “Supermarkets face unprecedented competitive pressures today,” … “In order to compete and win, grocery retailers must transform their outdated store models and become ‘stores of the future’ that are agile and aligned with today’s consumer preferences.”  Hello, the Grocerant Guru® has help retail leaders do that disruption.  What are your waiting for? Is it time for you to Look-A-Customer-Ahead?

Symphony Retail Ai has identified the distinct characteristics of “Supermarket 2020” stores, including the following:
  • Stores will have fewer than 10 aisles instead of today’s 15+ aisles, with an average product range of fewer than 10 highly curated SKUs per category to meet consumer needs for convenience and quality. Stores can support this in-store model by offering a million SKUs online as part of their multichannel strategy, offering shoppers virtually unlimited product access.
  • Stores should remove the center store aisles to make room for prepared foods, taking advantage of shoppers’ intentions to spend 3-4X more on prepared foods compared to other areas. Symphony’s research indicates that year-over-year growth in prepared foods is 8-9% annually for supermarkets.
  • A special products aisle can offer a “surprise and delight” section that engages shoppers with products that change twice a week.
  • Grocers can recreate a farmer’s market in every store, supplied by local and regional farms and suppliers that meet strict requirements.
  • Private label will represent a much higher percent of SKUs, increasing to 40-45% compared with today’s 18-20%.
  • Stores will offer shoppers convenient tools such as click & collect, 3D store-navigation that allows shoppers to connect their shopping list to store layout on their mobile phones and AI-enabled, real-time basket cost reduction offers.

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how 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.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Aldi’s Winning Consumers Hearts and Wallets

Success does leave clues and one clue that is clear is Aldi is the fastest growing grocery store in the United States according to Jon Springer of Winsight Grocery. Springer post week after week new store openings and week after week Aldi leads the way.

According to the Retail Feedback Group’s (RFG) "2017 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study Aldi has a considerable lead in value for the money and a slight edge in the checkout experience," What’s more, Millennials gave lower ratings than older shoppers for every aspect of the supermarket trip. So, lets look at the results:

1.       Supermarket shoppers gave an overall satisfaction (OSAT) rating of 4.42 on a five-point scale before 3 p.m., but this mark dropped to 4.36 between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Several factor ratings were considerably lower after 3 p.m. than earlier in the day, among them cleanliness, quality/freshness, staff friendliness and value for money.
2.       Shoppers rated quality/freshness of the food and groceries (4.45) and cleanliness of the store (4.40) as the two strongest core experience factors. Associated friendliness – the highest-rated service factor – garnered a more moderate rating of 4.34, followed by associate helpfulness/knowledge (4.24), checkout speed/efficiency (4.23) and associate availability (4.19).
3.       While supermarkets did well on general variety and selection (4.38), scores were lower on natural and organic items (4.05), ethnic/international products (3.97), allergen-free items (3.97) and locally sourced items (3.96).
4.       The lowest score among all core experience factors went to value for the money spent on a visit, at 4.18. Further, meat prices (3.98), produce prices (4.03) and everyday prices (4.03) all received low scores in the supermarket channel, while advertised sales items scored much higher (4.38). Interestingly, 76 percent of shoppers consult one or more advertising/sales vehicles – traditional, social, mobile and digital – before or during their shopping visit.

Doug Madenberg, principal at Lake Success, N.Y.-based RFG  stated “These survey findings point to a critical need for grocery retailers with a physical presence to step up their game,” .. “When people shop in a supermarket, the overall experience, assortment and value proposition need to be excellent in order to earn their next visit. There are too many grocery options available online, in hard discount stores, and across other formats, for an average or subpar supermarket visit to be acceptable.”
5.       Shoppers who visited an Aldi in the past 60 days were more likely to recommend the store (4.54 on a five-point scale) than supermarket shoppers, who gave an average rating of (3.66). Also, 33 percent of those who shopped at Aldi said that they intended to shop there more in the next 12 months, versus 21 percent for supermarket shoppers and 10 percent for Walmart shoppers. In core experience ratings, Aldi shoppers gave value for money the highest marks (4.68), also scoring the deep discounter higher than supermarkets on checkout speed (4.30). Walmart shoppers gave lower scores on the all the core experience factors.
6.       Millennials scored supermarkets lowest on all core experience factors, as well as overall trip satisfaction. Boomers, however, rated overall trip experience and almost all core experience factors highest, with only one area – staff knowledge/helpfulness — rated equal by both Boomers and Gen Xers.
“The fact that overall trip satisfaction and all of the core experience factors register lowest among Millennials should be a call to action for supermarkets,” warned RFG Principal Brian Numainville. “Traditional supermarkets must find ways to make the supermarket more appealing and relevant to younger shoppers or risk becoming endangered as Boomers age and purchase less.”
7.       Overall, only 14 percent of all supermarket shoppers have tried a meal-kit delivery service in the past year, but Millennials showed stronger trial than either Gen Xers or Boomers. Blue Apron, Home Chef and Hello Fresh were the three services used most. Top reasons given for meal kit usage were home delivery (46 percent) and time savings (45 percent). Of those who didn’t use a meal-kit service, the main reasons given were that they were too expensive (48 percent) or lack of interest in meal kits (44 percent). Meal-kit users were most satisfied with ingredient quality (83 percent highly satisfied) and least impressed with value for money (65 percent highly satisfied).
8.       Overall, 15 percent of shoppers also noted that their primary supermarket offers meal kits. Among those who bought a meal kit from their primary supermarket, the main reasons given were good value (54 percent), ingredient quality (53 percent) and time savings (51 percent).

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.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bakery Chain Greggs Targets McDonald’s and Burger King

Hand held food for immediate consumption continue to grow in popularity according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Greggs is stepping up its game targeting both McDonald’s and Burger King’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a new fast-food menu that includes chicken goujons, potato wedges and pasta dishes.

Greggs is well known for its sausage rolls and steak bakes, is broadening its takeaway menu as Britons spend more of their food budgets on eating out. However Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside, explained how Greggs had already taken on fast-food rivals at breakfast and lunchtimes and now sees scope to become a destination for evening meals too. “We are testing a menu that will appeal in the evening, which is the part of the day when Greggs doesn’t trade,”

Leveraging innovation while expanding the menu Greggs has included items the ilk of gluten-free soup, low-calorie wraps and speciality coffees, such as its new caramel latte, and is working on vegan options. “Hot food is the last of the big food trends we have chosen to pursue,” according to Whiteside.

Greggs has now installed hot food cabinets in 100 stores and if the menu is well received Whiteside said it could extend its trading hours into the evening, when burger chains and convenience stores cash in on office workers heading home or out for the evening. Whiteside continued “We need to find out if we can we sell hot food at the times we are already open.”

After strong results in 2017, the Greggs said it would step up expansion this year with plans to add 130 sites to its 1,850-store network. It is also looking to open drive-through shops around the country and that a big wake-up call for both Burger King and McDonald’s as Gregg’s menu may just be a bit more inviting according to Johnson.  Is it time to step up you fresh prepared food offerings? 

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Grocerant Niche Fresh Food Fills Grocery Stores Void of Relevance

While legacy grocery stores continue to stock the pantry with buy-one get-one or buy10 for $10 the customers continue to look for grocerant niche fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food via meals and meal components that can be mix and matched into a perfect family dinner fast according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
It is no long just Foodservice Solutions® documenting the success of the importance and sales that grocerant fresh food sales are ringing up.  In a new report titled Power of Foodservice at Retail, sponsored by Hussman and The Shelby Report for FMI is now joining in.  Below are top 10 insights buying habits, purchase motivations and preferences from the report. 
1.       Focus on/optimize trip conversion. While shoppers visit the store multiple times/week, shoppers typically buy foodservice only once every 3 weeks. Cross-promote foodservice with center store and other fresh departments within the store.
2.       Strive to be top of mindWhen in a rush or not in the mood to cook, retail foodservice is not on the radar of most shoppers. Retailers need to treat their foodservice as its own business and create “share of mind.”
3.       Maximize your share of market. One-half of shoppers purchase grocery deli prepared at outlets beyond their primary store. Increasing awareness of foodservice offerings will serve to keep current customers at their primary store with higher rings and margins.
4.       Leverage technology to improve awareness of foodservice as a viable restaurant alternative. Shoppers often use technology to help with meal plans. Making efforts to have retail foodservice appear with restaurant options will open shoppers’ eyes to this option.
5.       Connect with shoppers using technology. Most shoppers are willing to sign up to receive outreach about food service offerings, with email and text being the shopper-preferred methods.
6.       Provide options for speed-focused shoppers. These shoppers have interest in grab-and-go and heat-and-eat options, along with the ability to order ahead and dedicated foodservice checkout lanes.
7.       Provide options for nutrition-focused shoppers who deemphasize price and speed but value customization. Along with healthy options, transparency with respect to ingredients, quality and freshness are important to these shoppers.
8.       Enhanced in-store amenities to capture Millennials and urban shoppers. While less important than price, speed or nutrition, Millennials and urban shopper place high importance on amenities such as seating areas, free WiFi, table service, outside patios and even entertainment.
9.       Targeted investment in expanded variety matched to the core shopper can win over shoppers at mealtime. While consumers want more options, the options need to be matched to the core shopper. Customization is also important to many shoppers, particularly frequent foodservice shoppers.
10.   Consider meal kits along with made-to-order, self-serve buffets and grab-and-go to provide more time-saving solutions. Store-developed meal kits are a natural extension for foodservice.

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

Monday, January 15, 2018

Foodservice Partnerships on Auto Pilot

While regular readers of this blog know Steven Johnson, our Grocerant Guru® and senior food industry strategic advisor has been pontificating that partnership’s would be a continued leading industry trend in 2018.  The simple fact is he missed the fact that auto-pilot would be partnership that just might elevate food delivery to new a level of consumer awareness.
This week when Pizza Hut announced that it is one of the partners in a Toyota-led effort to develop self-driving delivery vehicles. Then they showed the picture it even looked like they were trying to ‘one-up’ the now famous Domino’s delivery car.
Toyota unveiled the e-Palette concept vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show as part of its “mobility service business alliance” that also includes Amazon, Uber, Mazda and Chinese ride-sharing company Didi. So here is the scoop according press reports:
The first U.S. road tests of the e-Palette, an autonomous battery-electric vehicle that looks like a toaster on wheels, are at least two years away, according to a company press release. The business alliance will create a “broad-based ecosystem” of hardware and software to help companies take advantage of the new technology.
The e-Palette is being pitched as not only a potential human-free delivery vehicle for Pizza Hut, but as a possible mobile kitchen for the global pizza chain. Starting early this year, Pizza Hut and Toyota will jointly test communication technology in pizza delivery vehicles to gather data on driver patterns and behaviors, the release says.
Domino’s last fall tested delivery via driverless cars outfitted with pizza ovens as part of a partnership with Ford. However we have all seen Domino’s cars on the road and don’t you for one minute think that they are through elevating their game.

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.