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ConAgra Foods is helping retailers drive center store growth by creating an in-store destination set for ultra-convenient shelf-stable microwaveable meals, called “Mealtime Made Simple.” The unique shelf set has proven to increase category sales by 12 percent to 15 percent, according to internal research, for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 14, while addressing an evolving shopper need. The Mealtime Made Simple set includes ultra-convenient microwavable (UCM) meals such as microwaveable pasta, soup, chili and Asian items.
ConAgra’s In-Store Experience team created innovative, consumer-centric signage to call out specific product segments. The signage highlighted the new ultra-convenient meal category, as well as guided shoppers from the parent categories to the new microwave destination. Nielsen Spectra clustering targeted the stores where convenience-seeking consumers were more likely to shop, an IRI assortment tool identified the optimal array of convenience items by retailer and region, and a virtual store environment tested various in-store options to help determine the size of the section before actual in-store testing began.
Sales increases varied by item, but all products within the category saw an increase of some kind, based on the shelving change. Most critical is that the category grew by double digits in an area where sales are flat to declining.
ConAgra has further developed a strategy to expand the ultra-convenient meal destination in other markets and channels. The solution has been successfully implemented in new stores and remodels, and will also undergo continuous testing and execution.