VALUE-ADDED ITEMS SEEN ALTERING DEPARTMENT

RICHMOND, Va. (FNS) -- Prepackaged salads, prepeeled carrots, precut celery sticks, prewashed spinach and snack items each require two things -- proper temperature controls and proper merchandising. As a result, produce merchandisers continue to shift in-store displays to include more multideck, refrigerated cases, industry experts say.an evolution revolution as consumers continually redefine value

RICHMOND, Va. (FNS) -- Prepackaged salads, prepeeled carrots, precut celery sticks, prewashed spinach and snack items each require two things -- proper temperature controls and proper merchandising. As a result, produce merchandisers continue to shift in-store displays to include more multideck, refrigerated cases, industry experts say.

an evolution revolution as consumers continually redefine value every day. Supermarkets' nemeses are restaurants, which get half of the food dollars spent, Salus said.

"Consumers are quickly becoming meal seekers shifting away from being ingredient shoppers," said Salus. "This is the largest fundamental change since the invention of refrigeration.

"Food-service spending is up, yet dining head counts are down," he said. "Takeout is growing as consumers become too busy to cook and too busy to dine out."

Consumers are seeking meals and meal components, and retailers who present items in self-service cases offering variety and selection will reap the rewards, he said.

A key to this marketing notion is the retailer's ability to employ day-part target marketing into the meal and meal component arena, according to Salus.

Breakfast, mid-morning break, lunch, mid-afternoon break and dinner segments each need to be identified and addressed as retailers strive to meet consumers' needs. Cases need to be remerchandised through the day, depending upon the day part. There is also week-part marketing, he said, where Monday through Thursdays is different from Friday through Sunday in the types and styles of foods offered.

Refrigeration is the cornerstone of this program, Salus said. "Within the fresh-food safety chain, refrigeration has its place, it is key to the system of receiving, preparation, storage, chilling, packaging and displaying and merchandising.

"Display is necessary to make this program successful," said Salus. In addition to multideck refrigerated units, cases with a refrigerated top service area with self-service decks below give operators the ability to handle more customers faster.

"The service sells the self-service component," Salus said. Cases with a refrigerated rack in the back make restocking easy, he added.