Just like the Coronavirus pandemic, the rise in popularity of prepared foods is unprecedented. Consumers changing behaviors from cooking at home to hitting grocery stores for prepared food items have increased opportunities for food-retailers across the country. Just like for the grab-and-go sector, C-stores and grocery stores are taking the lead.
Taking into consideration convenience, speed, and portability as the main drivers of sales, here are some of the ways retailers could maximize the rise in demand for prepared foods.
Keep It Fresh and Safe
To take advantage of this growing sector, retailers should make sure that food items are fresh and safe. Knowing its shelf life for freshness and safety are what patrons are prioritizing. Keeping food items fresh may include stringent standards on delivery and logistics like delivering food items in a temperature-controlled environment, as well as packaging and proper timing of delivery and frequency.
Listen to Your Customers
Many of the proven strategies where food retailers have listened to their customers and quickly acted on their requests have been beneficial for retailers. In order to take advantage of the increased demand for prepared foods, retailers have been offering more family meals, cross-merchandising with beverages, and providing sides and desserts which offer convenience to shoppers. Others have put rewards apps in place to understand insights and have also introduced mobile checkout.
Strategic Merchandising is the Key
Displaying food items strategically is another way retailers could attract customers. Retailers can consider applying these essential merchandising strategies:
- Place prepared food items in high-traffic areas since most of the purchases under this food section are impulse. Mobile merchandisers work well for this as they can easily be moved throughout the store in key shopping areas.
- Bring attention to prepared foods and make them POP by using display cases with good case lighting which improves product visibility.
- Get creative with packaging – 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for specifically packaged grab-and-go products.
- Since self-serve stations are prohibited in retail stores due to the pandemic, retailers could repurpose hot and cold bars by using well covers that go over the vessels making the entire bar a flat shelf. Now then this could be used in merchandising heat-and-eat meals or prepackaged salads.
Prepared foods growth will continue, and as the market continues to evolve with these food offerings, we will continue to adapt and be resilient to help our businesses grow and keep our customers satisfied.