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    Prepared Meals Growth Blurs Lines Between Restaurants and Grocers: Study

    NEW YORK -- The line between foodservice providers and retailers is blurring as Americans continue to consume massive quantities of prepared meals, according to a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts.

    NEW YORK -- The line between foodservice providers and retailers is blurring as Americans continue to consume massive quantities of prepared meals, according to a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts.

    The report, "Foodservice and Retail: The Blurring of the Channels," concludes that takeout sales, which have been growing at 6 percent to 8 percent annually, have caused a tremendous shift in the way both retailers and foodservice providers do business. American households take out an average of 118 meals per year -- 70 billion meals annually -- up by 64 percent over 20 years ago, and both retail and foodservice providers are scrambling to capitalize on what's becoming more than a niche market.

    "As the trend of co-branding and partnering between retailers and foodservice providers continues to explode, we'll continue to see an upward swing in the takeout business as consumers find it easier to get restaurant-quality foods close to home," said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "In this regard, we'll see the lines between retail and foodservice continue to blur as both sides try to keep their foot in this very lucrative sector of the food market."

    The study examines the movement among restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores as they strive -- both independently and together -- to win over more takeout customers through better packaging, easier availability, and signature recipe items that keep consumers coming back.

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