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As the rotisserie turns, the prepared foods section of the supermarket has become a key strategic area of opportunity for supermarkets. Retailer meal solutions (RMS) programs are still growing in popularity and creativity, according to the industry research firm Technomic.
"Gone are the days of trips to the grocery store designed to address a family's needs for the next one to two weeks," declared Wade Hanson, Technomic principal and director of the firm's retailer meal solutions practice. "Instead, consumers shop more often and use many different types of stores with an eye toward fresh foods and ready-to-eat meals." Hanson said deli operators can truly distinguish their stores and offerings through their prepared food sections.
Technomic recently released a new study on RMS trends. According to the study Retailer Meal Solutions: Capitalizing on the Next Generation, the supermarket prepared foods category has grown more than 6 percent annually over the past five years. Within mass merchandiser/supercenters, that growth has exceeded 13 percent.
Retailers and deli operators can differentiate their RMS programs to consumers through food menus, preparation practices, merchandising, store layout and labor utilization and would benefit from doing so, according to the Technomic. As the overall economy recovers, and consumers dine out in restaurants more frequently, a strong RMS program will be a key differentiator amid tougher competition.
Meanwhile, visit Technomic online for more research on retailer meal solutions.