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    Easy on Mom

    Supermarket delis take the lead in simple-to-prepare meals.

    Now that Mother’s Day pampering is a distant memory, moms are returning to the task of turning out meals for their families. As any mom knows, planning and preparing lunches and dinners that everyone likes can be a monumental challenge, and it can make quick service restaurants look particularly tempting.

    Grocery retailers—delis and prepared food departments in particular—are in a unique position to lighten that meal-making load and bring busy moms back to the store. Publix and Safeway are two retailers doing just that. Each has been recognized with a Gold Plate Award from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) for its efforts in creating outstanding programs that help minimize meal-making hurdles.

    Award-winning retailer programs

    At Publix, a 2014 Gold Plate Award winner, the Aprons Simple Meals program features new ideas every week to simplify meal planning, preparation and cleanup. Complete meal ideas using products available at Publix are featured in store circulars, online and in-store. Each recipe includes a color photo of the finished meal, a shopping list, step-by-step instructions, plus advice including recipe shortcuts or suggestions for desserts or other sides.

    Safeway’s Sustaining Meal Solutions Platform, which garnered a 2013 Gold Plate Award, is another example. Developed through a partnership with The Coca-Cola Co., the program transformed the deli into a destination for quick service family meals. The package deals, offered through Safeway’s Signature Café, let shoppers create their own meal “bundle,” choosing a pre-prepared protein dish like rotisserie chicken, two side dishes and a beverage, all for a low price.

    “We looked at the KFCs of the world,” John Beretta, vice president of Deli Food Service & Starbucks for Safeway, told FMI after winning the award. “They promote a family meal on TV. It’s about the experience. We knew it was something we needed.”

    Creative ways to help time-starved moms

    To make your store THE destination that busy moms turn to for easier meal prep, FMI’s Idea of the Week for Retailers can help:

    • Set up a cooler next to your deli and stock it with freshly sliced cold cuts, packaged and ready to grab. Include buns and sandwich toppings for an easy family meal.
    • Ditch something old for something new. Feature a main dish item such as chicken (think rotisserie), fish or pasta and provide cards with recipes featuring 10 Ways to Make It New Again.
    • Set up a display with popular ingredients for easy casserole dishes. Provide recipes for customers and sell casserole bakeware dishes in the same area.
    • Set up a soup station where customers can view recipe ideas, pick a stock, and then choose ingredients to add. Feature salads, crackers and other sides to complete the meal.
    • Show customers how to create crockpot meals by displaying all the ingredients in one cooler. Stack crockpots for sale around the display and include recipe cards.

    For more great ideas, visit http://www.fmifamilymeals.com/category/idea-week-retailers.

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