Are meal planning services a missed opportunity for brands and stores?

Discussion
Source: App Store/eMeals
Nov 12, 2019

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the bi-monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.

Digital storytelling and branded content are becoming increasingly important to major CPG companies such as Coca-Cola and Tyson Foods as more American consumers — starved for time, seeking expertise and craving convenience — are turning to mobile apps to help with their in-store grocery shopping and online recipes to help them put meals on the table.

“The path to purchase is changing,” John Carroll, who recently retired as VP and general manager for e-commerce for Coca-Cola North America, told CPGmatters. “Shoppers used to get the printed circular on Thursday, make a shopping list, go to the store, visit end caps — but now all of that is digitally enabled. More than 60 percent of food and beverage purchases are digitally influenced. For instance, consumers plan for meals within an app while simultaneously making purchases.” 

Coca-Cola, for example, has leveraged sites such as eMeals that cater to digitally enhanced consumers, offering suggested “pairings” of its products, with recipes conceived and suggested by eMeals. The curated ideas inspire meal planning.

“We’re doing that in a way that can contextually highlight a brand’s products,” eMeals’ CEO Forrest Collier told CPGmatters. “It’s not in your face as yesterday’s print-magazine ads did, but, ‘Here’s a set of recipes that are the kinds you asked for. Here’s a string of paleo recipes, for instance, and here are products that fit that purpose.’ Or gluten-free recipes. 

“It’s a real benefit to the time-starved consumer who wants help to get there because dinner happens every night,” he said. 

Many meal plan subscription services offer ways for consumers to consummate purchases with retailers for pickup or delivery as another level of convenience. For brands, meal plan services offer ways to delivery branded content or promotions relevant to meal occasions, including promoting a new product with which consumers aren’t yet familiar.

Mr. Carroll, who now is a consultant and head of Creative Commerce Solutions, said, “We’ve never been able before to combine planning and recommendations for meals with the shopping experience at the same time. That’s what’s fascinating and what is changing about the path to purchase.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Where are the obvious and less obvious opportunities for grocers and their vendor partners to leverage meal planning services?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"There does seem to be room for a 'Stitch Fix' for meal planning."
"When retailers proactively suggest/upsell/cross-sell, etc., it opens up a wider potential for consumer spend. This is just one more way to do that."

Join the Discussion!

3 Comments on "Are meal planning services a missed opportunity for brands and stores?"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ralph Jacobson
Guest

When retailers proactively suggest/upsell/cross-sell, etc., it opens up a wider potential for consumer spend. This is just one more way to do that.

Peter Charness
BrainTrust

There does seem to be room for a “Stitch Fix” for meal planning — not just a cross-sell/menu suggestion service, but a service that takes into consideration dietary requirements and is tailored to your health needs. (But probably without the “only keep it if you like it” option…)

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I don’t think so. Years working with cookware manufacturers and appliance manufacturers around issues of assistance with meal planning make it clear people do their own planning and it’s almost impossible to offer suggestions that are truly useful.

In part, we concluded that a vast number of shoppers are “5 meal” shoppers — they have 5 meals (or so) that they cook and they’re quite satisfied with how those let them plan, cook and get on with life. To care about what’s being suggested here, you need shoppers who are curious, inventive, and looking.

But any cook who is curious and inventive and looking is well beyond needing the store to offer the narrow (ineffective) range of options these systems can deliver. That means there’s only the tiniest segment sliver which will find these things useful — unless there’s a BIG change in the value they deliver.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"There does seem to be room for a 'Stitch Fix' for meal planning."
"When retailers proactively suggest/upsell/cross-sell, etc., it opens up a wider potential for consumer spend. This is just one more way to do that."

Take Our Instant Poll

Is the consumer appeal of meal planning services more about meal inspiration or convenience?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...