Are center store departments hamstrung by nutritional labels?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine
Frozen food units and volume haven’t been down for the past few years because of all the dollar stores, club stores, drugstores and haberdasheries taking away share. If that were true, supermarket perimeter departments would be in the same boat. But they’re thriving.
Anyone with a pulse can tell you that supermarket perimeters and foodservice have been cannibalizing frozen departments, weakening and picking off categories one by one.
Unfortunately, consumers believe frozen food is too processed, and has too many ingredients they can’t pronounce. They say it has too much fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol and way too many calories. And how do they know that? They read the nutritional labeling on the backs of the packages.
So what’s their solution? Blissful ignorance. They buy more of their entrees, pizza and desserts along the perimeter, where there’s little if any nutritional labeling. Those nutritional numbers on the center-store packages can hurt, and more people are reading labels than ever. So manufacturers have jumped through hoops making healthier foods with less salt, fat and sugar. By and large, people don’t buy them as much. Whether it’s an addiction to sugar and salt or just plain slovenliness, I’ll leave up to you. But a fact’s a fact.
Supermarkets seem on the cusp of heading much deeper into foodservice. Don’t go and tell me that nutritional labeling is going to hit the perimeter departments, as well as every restaurant menu in America. After all, we’re ultimately dealing with Congress here.
Meanwhile, so what if a Dunkin’ Donuts Pretzel Salt Bagel has 3,380 mg of sodium? Or if Bistro Shrimp Pasta at The Cheesecake Factory has 3,120 calories and 89 grams of saturated fat? Or if the perimeter pizza has twice the fat, sodium and calories of the pizza behind the frozen door? How about fighting for a level playing field for center store and the perimeter?
Are less stringent rules over nutritional labeling around supermarket perimeters and foodservice a large part of the reason frozen foods as well as center store has been struggling in recent years? What options do frozen food and center store vendors have?