CHICAGO — Consumers are sourcing prepared meals from a wider range of retail foodservice operations than they did two years ago, according to the latest Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report from Technomic. Conventional supermarkets, mass merchandisers and convenience stores have continued to benefit from the shift, growing their share of the broadly defined “food-away-from-home” market.
“Retailers benefit from the fact that consumers are already visiting them for other purchases,” Darren Tristano, executive vice president of the foodservice industry consulting group, said last week in a release. “If retailers can offer a foodservice option that rivals that of restaurants in terms of quality, freshness and variety, they can build on the advantage they inherently enjoy when it comes to convenience.”
Produced from an online survey that elicited 1,500 responses, the report found that health considerations also play a slightly more important role in prepared meals they do in restaurant dining situations. Two in five shoppers say they tend to consider nutrition when purchasing prepared foods, compared with one in four who said they think health when ordering at a restaurant.
Forty percent of respondents who visit mass merchandisers and convenience stores for RMS purchases do so at least once per week. But, there is still room for improvement. Many respondents also said that “kid appeal” was the primary attribute lacking in prepared food departments.