Whether it’s a packaged salad loaded with proteins and vegetables, a cup of coffee in the morning, or a chicken dinner that’s ready to serve, supermarkets have greatly increased their convenient and ready-to-go food items.
We live in a gotta-run, too-busy, no-time-to-sit-down-and-eat type of world. This is part of the reason why the demand for ready-to-eat, prepared meals has risen over the years. The convenience trend is driven by the desire to have more leisure time – you can’t beat the convenience of purchasing a ready-to-serve, prepared meal. (Especially one that’s properly labeled with ingredient, nutrition and expiration info.)
Packaged Foods posted an interesting article, “Prepared Foods and Ready-to-Eat Foods at Retail: The New Competition to Foodservice.” This article recognized that we live in a time when food value is so closely associated with low cost and convenience—and when consumers increasingly perceive private label food retail brands as competitive with name brands on cost and quality—prepared and ready-to-eat foods programs that deliver on quality, taste, and convenience can not only compete with foodservice fare, but can also help food retailers adapt to modern consumer lifestyles.
The five “P’s” of the marketing strategy (product, packaging, placement, portability, and price) for prepared food items are designed to meet the needs of the on-the-go consumer. For instance, cost also plays a significant factor in a consumer purchasing a prepared meal. As such, supermarkets successful at selling prepared food items have learned to offer consumers full meals at a low price point.
Placement of the items is also important. Many supermarkets have expanded prepared, ready-to-go items throughout various departments within the store. The deli, bakery, produce and refrigerated sections all provide consumers with easy to select and take home options.
The concept of assembling a meal, rather than preparing one, has won over many a consumer who simply does not have the time (or desire) to cook. High quality, ready-to-heat, ready-to-go meals satisfy not only themselves, but their families as well.