Fresh Food

Back-to-school season spells big opportunities for grocery foodservice

Photograph courtesy of George's Chicken

With the school year fast approaching, grocery retailers can boost prepared-foods business with quick, convenient meal options that cater to busy families and feature familiar proteins that consumers know and love. From whole rotisserie chickens to chicken tenders to burgers, offering high quality proteins that can be combined with prepared side dishes for a complete meal is key to attracting time-starved families looking for fast and fresh fare this fall.

Prepared to wow

Supermarket foodservice is a booming $34.2 billion business, reports Technomic’s Q2 2019Retailer Insights report. But with total retail foodservice, including all retailers and convenience stores, valued at $69.4 billion, ample opportunity exists for grocers to increase market share.

The quality, selection and value of a prepared foods department can drive customers to a particular store. Indeed, nearly half (44%) of all consumers say that they are loyal to specific stores because of their prepared food offerings, according to Technomic’s 2017Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report. What’s more, the report notes that nearly a third of consumers (and 41% of younger consumers) are increasingly visiting stores specifically to buy prepared foods.

With high-quality proteins such as whole rotisserie chickens, par-fried strips and tenders, boneless and bone-in wings, popcorn chicken, beef burger patties and pork and turkey sausage patties from George’s Prepared Foods, grocers have an opportunity to turn their prepared foods departments into destination drivers with scores of loyal customers.

Offering recurring weekly specials—such as a special price on rotisserie chickens, family burger night, or a kids meal deal featuring chicken tenders and a tempting side dish—can also help to boost sales and encourage customer loyalty, especially during the busy back-to-school season.

Customized family meals

Highlighting prepared foods offerings to moms this back-to-school season may prove profitable. More women than men value prepared food options that can be customized, and those that also provide a meal solution for the entire family, according to Technomic’s 2017 Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report. As a result, opportunity exists to center messaging and offerings around the ability to build fresh, customized, family-sized meals.

Technomic’s Retailer Meal Solutions report also finds that nearly half of all consumers say it’s important that they are able to see prepared foods being made. Sights and smells create cravings and drive impulse buys. But while mix-and-match, made-to-order options will score highest for freshness, quality and enticing aromas, the ability to create mix-and-match meals with pre-packaged prepared foods should be offered as well for those that are more pressed for time.

Grocers can strengthen their value proposition in prepared foods by stealing a page from quick-service restaurants that offer bundle pricing for mix-and-match combo meals such as flavorful boneless wings paired with family favorite side dishes. Furthermore, creating signature items such as a fall-focused menu of family-friendly chicken dinners for a set price can further differentiate a grocer’s foodservice operation.

Burger bonanza

Offering a burger menu that speaks to today’s top dietary trends is another way to build sales this fall. Technomic’s 2019 Burger Consumer Trend Report finds that burger consumption is steady, with 55% of consumers eating burgers either at home or at foodservice at least once a week. Price is critical to success, as 59% of consumers say affordability is one of the most important factors when deciding where to order a burger.

Fully cooked premium burger offerings such as the top selling Quick’ N Eat!TM Angus Choice Beef Patties from George’s Prepared Foods provides families with a crave worthy meal solution in under 5 minutes.

With the rise of high-protein, low-carb diets such as keto and paleo, creating a burger menu that addresses these trends may help drive customers to prepared foods. Consider calling out keto and paleo options that replace the bun with lettuce and also feature healthy fats like avocado.

Due to the ubiquity of burgers, operators must be able to convey that that flavors they offer are in some way unique from those of competitors. Likewise, operators can highlight specialty sides or beverages in combo meals with burgers. The add-ons not only boost value perceptions, but they also may help drive cravings that ultimately lead to a burger purchase.

One thing is for certain: Busy families will be looking for help when it’s time to go back to school, and grocers are well-positioned to capitalize.

George’s provides supermarkets with customized insight-driven deli hot case items and retail ready fully cooked burger patties that your consumers will crave. To learn more about George’s please visit today.

This post is sponsored by George's Chicken