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Americans who love to cook on the decline - how will grocers react?

Posted: December 17th, 2018, 10:50 am
by SamSpade
From Boston's WGBH Radio and PRI, Innovation Hub frequently talks about the food industry.
This week they (I think re-ran) a program about changes in food culture in America.

The most relevant segment to this board was probably this one:
The Future of Food Shopping
Three Takeaways:

Some people still love to cook; ten percent of Americans, according to Yoon's research. But the majority don’t love it, and frankly, don’t have a lot of time to do it. As a result, Yoon says that cooking, like sewing, has - and will, increasingly - morph from a necessary skill into a hobby. This is down from 15% of Americans in an earlier study (year that research was conducted in either case is not cited)

You’d think the Food Network would inspire viewers to try new foods and recipes. But Yoon says he was surprised to discover this wasn’t the case. Cooking shows have raised the bar for viewers, turning actual cooking (beyond, say, boxed mac n’ cheese) into something that might seem too challenging for the average home chef.

Yoon says that right now, the food industry is in a technology vacuum, and in order to survive, industry leaders need to harken back to their innovative roots. One food technology he hopes to see popping up in grocery stores? Shelf-stable foods, created through a process called microwave assisted thermal sterilization, or MATS.

Re: Americans who love to cook on the decline - how will grocers react?

Posted: December 17th, 2018, 8:08 pm
by storewanderer
More quality prepared foods and much smaller center store. It is tough because for a lot of these grocers, center store is still a huge chunk of their sales. They seem to be hanging on to the past thinking that this is how it will be in the future. Larger chains like Kroger and Wal Mart are especially guilty of this with their very below average bakery and deli/prepared foods operations. The perimeter areas have labor, shrink, and equipment issues to deal with that are costly.

The grocers need to get serious about their perimeter operations. They need to pay their deli employees enough to reduce turnover in that department. If they could sell more and cut down on shrink, they could easily afford the increased labor costs. The amount that these grocery store delis throw out every day is unreal. If it was better quality, they could sell more.

Re: Americans who love to cook on the decline - how will grocers react?

Posted: January 9th, 2019, 6:20 pm
by cjd
Ugh, OT, but it sounds like so much retail is suffering from the fact that more and more people want nothing to do with anything these days that doesn't involve their smartphone, or that does requires thinking or work :roll:

Re: Americans who love to cook on the decline - how will grocers react?

Posted: January 11th, 2019, 9:10 pm
by mbz321
storewanderer wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 8:08 pm
.

The grocers need to get serious about their perimeter operations. They need to pay their deli employees enough to reduce turnover in that department. If they could sell more and cut down on shrink, they could easily afford the increased labor costs. The amount that these grocery store delis throw out every day is unreal. If it was better quality, they could sell more.
Less people making food at home = less people making sandwiches to pack for lunches = less demand for a service deli. I can't remember the last time I bought something at a deli counter. Deli meat is already pricey as it is, I can't imagine what the price would be like with a better quality.

Re: Americans who love to cook on the decline - how will grocers react?

Posted: January 11th, 2019, 11:16 pm
by storewanderer
The service deli needs to evolve into the prepared foods area for ready to eat. I think the problem is the profit margin on that stuff (once you factor in shrink) is much lower than on lunchmeat and cheese where shrink is a bit more controllable since the stuff has a longer shelf life.

I cringe at the lunchmeat prices like 12.99/lb Boar's Head Turkey/Chicken at NorCal Safeway; are they crazy? Luckily in this market there is also the 10.99/lb Boar's Head at Sprouts and Smiths which is already a pretty high price for lunchmeat. There is WinCo for $5-$6/lb lunchmeat and the quality is definitely not at the level of Boar's Head but it is edible.

The problem is these stores with service delis try too hard but are not focused well. They don't stick to ideas long enough to make them work (I can't even remember how many times I've seen Raleys change its deli programs a month or two after implementing something; they have some great ideas that almost always taste great, but never give them enough time to work).

So I was about to type as the service delis "evolve" it needs to be about more than fried chicken, sandwiches, and potato salad. But, does it? Publix has a really heavy deli business doing sandwiches and fried chicken and doing them both very well. They have executed those basic core products well and have built a following for them across market after market by executing well.