Meijer is rethinking meal planning with a new program called Ready! For You.
Launched in August in all 213 Meijer stores, Ready! For You provides ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The meals cost $12-$15 for a family of four, and ingredients are included in the retailer’s weekly sales. Customers save more by buying all the ingredients together.
“Really it’s about providing affordable meals that are quick to prepare and also saving the customers 15% to 20% when they bundle all the items together at the same time,” Randy Stewart, group VP of foods, told SN.
Ready! For You is a response to changing consumer shopping habits, especially among Millennials. According to Meijer’s research, a quarter of meals eaten by Millennials include ingredients they purchased that same day. Close to 40% make their grocery lists right before heading to the store, and they are more likely to shop for a particular recipe rather than restock the pantry.
Meijer realized the traditional “meal ideas” program of simply putting a recipe on an endcap wasn’t going to work for today’s customers.
“So it was more of a ‘change before you have to’ kind of methodology where we started seeing those changes start to emerge. And particularly with younger shoppers as they shopped the perimeter of the store and don’t get up and down the aisles. So we had to create solutions,” said Stewart.
The fact that Meijer supercenters average 190,000 square feet can also be a barrier for customers.
“So sometimes because of the sheer size it doesn’t always label us as convenient or fast in and out. So it was really about finding solutions where you could come in, grab what you needed and get out, and get past that sheer size of the building,” said Stewart.
Meijer targets different meal occasions and day parts with different types of displays. A dinner idea might be an endcap with a protein and all the sides, along with a recipe card, while a snacking endcap might include a range of better-for-you options all in one place.
Breakfast displays may depend on whether items are refrigerated or shelf stable, but portability is an important factor for Ready! For You breakfast items.
The displays feature a mix of center store products and perimeter items.
“That’s where it’s been so nice is it’s really a mixture of everything. Different companies as well as different types of products. And the diversity on the endcaps has enabled us to kind of comingle those items and cross-merchandise. So it kind of provides that solution so the customer doesn’t have to shop all over the store; they can get it all in one place,” said Stewart.
Location, location, location
Customers will find these displays placed “strategically” throughout the store, he added.
“When I say strategically, so when you walk in the front door of our store there’s one that’s for snacking. And it’s right there when you first come in the door. As you walk through our produce department there’s another one at the back of the meat department where the customer might be hunting for protein.
“Turn the corner and you go by the dairy aisle, there’s another display there. You come back down the dairy aisle and there’s an endcap of dried products. And then the frozen food, the first frozen food endcap coming in the store is also Ready! For You meal solutions.”
In planning the displays, Meijer has received assistance from vendors and suppliers
“So as we started asking, what does best in class look like in the industry and who’s doing it right, what do you have to offer — all the big companies came to us with great solutions that we could just apply to our program,” said Stewart.
Meijer has been working with about 20 CPG companies so far, including Kraft, ConAgra, General Mills and Campbell.
The first dinner recipe was a one-pot lasagna skillet meal timed to the back-to-school season. Meijer followed up with a zesty salsa burger and a slow cooker pot roast.
“So one of the thought processes behind the recipes, in working with our vendor community, is we really wanted to see the different seasons throughout the year that Mom has to prepare for her family,” said Taryn Jones, Meijer’s marketing director for foods.
The retailer samples these recipes in its stores.
“Each week we feature one of the meals from one of the solutions for our customers so they can actually come in, see how it’s cooked, taste it and then all the recipe items, again, are right there for them,” said Stewart.
Customers can pick up a recipe card at the demo, and the recipe is featured online that week.
In addition to a dedicated website at Meijer.com/ReadyForYou, the retailer created Pinterest boards for each meal occasion and promotes the recipes on its Facebook page.
“So we have our Facebook page, and adding Ready! For You on there as a continuous conversation point will help other people share and contribute to those recipes,” said Jones.
When Meijer posted the pot roast recipe on its Facebook page, customers voiced their enthusiasm.
“My 5-year-old sampled this on Sunday and ate it up and asked for seconds. I will definitely be making this soon!” said one Facebook fan.
“I saw the recipe in the ad and I bought all the ingredients for it. It will be our crockpot dinner on Thursday when I have to work late. Looking forward to it!” said another.
Meijer plans to expand the program to other areas of the store based on customer feedback.
“We want to make sure that this is a complete journey for them,” said Jones.
|Suggested Categories||More from Supermarketnews|