Grocers Look to Takeout the Competition
By George Anderson
Harry Balzer of NPD Group knows what he’s talking about. When asked by the Orlando Sentinel if Americans (most of them anyway) want to prepare meals at home anymore, he answered, “No.”
Cooking from scratch, Mr. Balzer predicted, “will become like sewing; it will be recreational.”
There’s no doubt that Americans are increasingly looking to feed themselves and their families with meals prepared by someone other than them. Not coincidentally, restaurants and food retailers are seeking to capture a greater share of the takeout business.
Grocers, in particular, have been attempting for many years to grab a greater slice of a market dominated by food service operators.
The results to date have been mixed. While some stores such as Wegman’s, Publix, Whole Foods and others have found success in prepared meals, others continue to flounder.
The key to success for grocers, it appears, is selling easy to prepare dishes that satisfy consumers’ demand for taste while offering items that are seen as being nutritionally superior to traditional restaurant takeout.
Moderator’s Comment: How do the costs of competing in the prepared foods business compare to the market opportunity for grocery stores? What can grocers
do to grab a greater share of the takeout food business? – George Anderson