Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, TGI Fridays, Boston Market, Sheetz, Wawa and Walgreen’s all have entered the branded private label ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food grocerant niche. Each is finding success while rolling out additional meal components. Consumers have responded positively, in fact the entire food industry is taking notice.
Thom Bilschok global president, innovation and strategy for SymphonyIRI stated while speaking about IRI’s new survey “Accelerating Growth in Uncertain Times” that “ meal ingredients and components together make up the “hottest supercategory” … We’re projecting that meal ingredients are going to grow over double digits for 2011 and 2012,” he said. “Shoppers continue to [struggle] with expenditures.
Success leaves clues and Blischok went on to make a number of suggestions. “Within meal ingredients/components, retailers should invest in flavor innovation.“People are getting tired of eating the same old meatloaf — they’d like to try a different kind of meatloaf,” he noted. “So if I were a retailer, I would do two things: I would make sure shoppers understood that I’m there to help them make a simpler, better-quality, more value-driven meal than in the past; and I would be doing some private brand innovation around flavors and taste.” Regular readers of this blog are not surprised by this at all.