Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. And shoppers these days would like their grocery stores to be restaurant copycats—but even better.
They want creative, prepared meals at supermarkets that are available for delivery and pickup, with all of the “restaurant-style amenities,” according to a new retail foodservice report from FMI-The Food Industry Association.
And the time is right to steal some restaurant customers, the association said.
“The survey data shows retailers have opportunities to make gains with their foodservice offerings at a time when consumers consider them to be good values amid this inflationary period,” the report said. “Retail foodservice can be promoted as the choice when consumers aren’t in the mood to prepare dinner themselves and when they need to produce a quick meal.”
Half of the shoppers surveyed said they want to be able to order prepared foods from supermarkets in advance and 42% said grocery delivery would compel them to choose retail over restaurant.
Nearly half (48%) said they would like to have a drive-thru option for retail foodservice, 44% said they like a separate checkout in the deli-prepared foods area and 38% said outside pickup stations would drive their traffic.
When it comes to the meals they want, the largest percentage (58%) of shoppers said they’re hunting for vegetables and other health-focused prepared offerings, followed by heat-and-eat side dishes (57%), meal deals and bundles with multiple items (56%), and total meal solutions (55%).
But there’s a big opportunity here for grocers to raise the profile of their retail foodservice programs, FMI found. Forty-three percent of consumers said they simply don’t think of grocery as a go-to source for lunch or dinner.
“Foodservice at retail isn’t a meal option that comes to mind for many consumers,” the report said. “Retailers need to raise the profile of their foodservice offerings in-store and through their communications channels.