By Christine Blank, Contributing Editor
Published on Wednesday, March 15, 2017
The Fresh Market, a United States chain of 177 grocery stores, recently launched a line of fresh prepared seafood meals.
Called “Meals in Minutes,” the pre-packaged fresh seafood and vegetable meals include combinations such as Cajun Shrimp with Broccoli, Salmon with Asparagus and Cod with Asparagus. Appetizers and meals such as Tuna Sashimi and Shrimp Cocktail are also offered.
The meals include a fish entree and a vegetable side, along with seasonings and sauces. The bag can be placed in the microwave or easily transferred to another cooking container to heat in the oven.
“We do all the prep work with fresh ingredients from seafood and produce departments, then package each meal so it’s ready to cook,” the Greensboro, North Carolina, chain said in an email to customers.
The Meals in Minutes are priced between USD 6.99 (EUR 6.59) and USD 8.99 (EUR 8.47), on average.
The Fresh Market declined comment to SeafoodSource on the product launch. However, Steven Johnson, grocerant guru at consultancy Foodservice Solutions in Tacoma, Washington, said it was a good move by the company.
“Without doubt, seafood has the halo of better-for-you around it. Consumers like better for you options,” Johnson said. “Seafood is a protein that millennials and Gen Z consumers are attracted to and they are today’s and tomorrow’s shoppers.”
Programs like Meals in Minutes also help grocers provide solutions to consumers’ busy schedules, he said.
“Consumers are more time-starved today than they were five years ago. Combine that with consumers’ expanded global palate and an unending quest for bold, fresh flavors with a lack of skill-set to cook those flavors from scratch,” and ready-to-eat solutions look like a surefire win, Johnson said.
While Johnson said Fresh Market does not stand out as a leading “grocerant” retailer, he hopes that the “steps taken are improved and expanded, so they might enjoy the full benefits related to selling grocerant niche ready-to-eat and heat-n-eat fresh prepared food.”
Retailers that do an excellent job of offering convenient, flavorful restaurant-style meals to shoppers include Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, New Seasons Market and Green Zebra Grocery, Johnson said.