Grab and go and yadda-yadda
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine.
I spent a few days walking stores in different parts of the country this past month. I’d just visited about the tenth store in a row with serious out-of-stocks in grab-and-go, meal solutions, meal kits, yadda-yadda or whatever the industry is calling them this morning.
And then, I found myself watching a clerk in a Lidl store grab a bunch of grab-and-go goodies, toss them in a cart and disappear out back. Yup. Grab and go.
There had already only been a fair-to-middling stock on the shelf for a Wednesday mid-afternoon. Now, as the clerk rushed away, the shelves seemed decimated as if by a Blue Light Special at Kmart, circa 1977.
Had there been a recall? Was he coming back with fresher product? Was a shelf re-set underway? Darned if I know. Store associates, I’ve discovered, become uneasy if you ask about things like that versus where to find the frozen organic broccoli.
So, while I don’t know about this particular Lidl store, I did notice enough of a pattern to suggest that it’s very challenging to stay in stock with grab-and-go, meal solutions and yadda-yadda. And while I believe that the meal kit delivery companies — and the lemmings that followed them — will soon be extinct for a variety of good reasons, this battle isn’t entirely over.
If you want to establish a pattern of shoppers buying your yadda-yadda so you can build loyalty, traffic and share, you have to stay in stock. Let’s forget about “right product, right price” for a minute. Having product in stock is an absolute.
You need to put more labor against it and stock the shelf more often or simply devote more space to it. Yeah, how basic can you get?
Some retailers avoid this truth because it’s expensive and, um, “inconvenient” to do anything about it. (Did I just say that? Sorry.) Sure, there’s risk involved. But there’s risk in sitting on the sidelines, too.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do many grocers seem to face out-of-stock problems with prepared foods? In your view, what do grocers still not understand about supporting the needs of such sections and offerings?