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Retail Foodservice Catching Up to Restaurants, Says Techomic

CHICAGO (February 8, 2011)—Consumers taking part in a recent survey conducted by Technomic say they are sourcing prepared meals from a wider range of retail foodservice operations than they were two years ago, many times at the expense of restaurants. Traditional supermarkets, convenience stores and mass merchandisers have been able to grow their share of the food-away-from-home market as they expand their foodservice platforms and build upon consumer desire for convenience, quality and variety of offerings in retail locations.

“Retailers benefit from the fact that consumers are already visiting them for other purchases.” says Darren Tristano, EVP of Technomic. “If retailers can offer a foodservice option that rivals that of restaurants in terms of quality, freshness and variety, they can build on the advantage they inherently enjoy when it comes to convenience.”

Technomic’s new Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report was designed to help restaurant operators, manufacturers and retailers stay on top of evolving consumer attitudes and preferences with regard to retailer meal solutions.

Interesting findings include:

  • Health is an important factor in the RMS purchasing decision, and seems to be of greater importance for RMS occasions than for restaurant meals. About two in five consumers say that they usually consider nutrition when purchasing prepared foods, compared to only about a quarter who say they consider nutrition when ordering food at restaurants.
  • Kid appeal stands out as the primary concept attribute that consumers think RMS programs are lacking. The attribute related to RMS’ appeal to children ranked among the bottom three for each type of retailer as compared to both limited- and full-service restaurants.
  • Forty percent of consumers who visit mass merchandisers and convenience stores for RMS purchases, do so at least once a week from those locations.

Technomic’s Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report provides a comprehensive guide to the trends that shape the RMS market and how they are leveraged across varying dayparts, food categories and retail segments. An online survey of 1,500 consumers reveals consumer RMS usage and sourcing and uncovers the attitudes and preferences that impact the RMS purchasing decision.

The report reveals how RMS competes with restaurants through consumer comparisons between limited- and full service restaurants and RMS on 25 attributes and amenities, and includes detailed profiles of 20 retailer concepts, as well as retail foodservice sales growth data.

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