U.S. retailers look to meal solutions for growth
Some U.S. supermarket chains are seeing seafood department sales increase with a relatively new meal solution idea — packaging different ingredients together with seafood to form a complete meal.
“The retailers that are winning are starting to put together meal solutions, whether it is a seafood linguini or a salmon salad. The reason that is so important is that people are looking for some sort of innovation in what they can make at home,” said Thom Blischok, chief retail strategist for global consulting firm Booz & Co.
For example, one national supermarket chain recently began featuring a shrimp linguini, in which individual packages of pasta, shrimp and sauce were all packaged in one meal solution container.
“It shows consumers a simple way to make a linguini and really tasted good,” said Blischok.
This new style of meal solutions is particularly successful because shoppers are looking for new types of flavors and healthy meal ideas.
“People have lived for three or four years in this economy and have cut back in every way possible. In the first quarter of this year, shoppers are spending a little bit more and want to taste different things,” said Blischok.
Supermarket chains that are providing meal solutions such as seafood pastas or barbecued halibut with rice are watching sales grow, according to Blischok. “Those that are starting to present retail merchandising solutions are seeing lifts of 3 percent to 7 percent for all the ingredients,” he said.
In-store demos of seafood meal solutions is also boosting some retailers’ seafood sales, according to Blischok. “Those that are doing more in-store demos are starting to see a lift in basket sales subtly, in all the components [of the meal demonstrated],” he said.
Presenting easy preparation ideas along with the ingredients of a meal is another key to merchandising success, according to Blischok.
“If you are going to offer grilled shrimp, for example, make sure that shoppers see the shrimp displayed with the barbecue sauce and the charcoal briquettes,” he said.