The Coca-Cola Co. recently presented research about “Fresh-to-Go” meals, with the goal of helping grocers fine-tune their prepared meals programs to help families eat dinner together at home more often.
Carrie Williams, senior manager of shopper insights for Coca-Cola, shared some of the insights from the research, which was fielded to help retailers participate in Family Meals Month in September.
Who buys Fresh-to-Go meals?
• Nearly three-fourths of grocery shoppers purchase prepared foods, and half of all grocery shoppers purchased a Fresh-to-Go meal in the past month.
• One in 10 grocery shoppers buy Fresh-to-Go meals frequently (defined as 5+ per month).
• Most shoppers of Fresh-to-Go meals have children. They buy these meals because they are busy and it’s convenient.
• Most Fresh-to-Go meals are eaten at home, especially for dinner.
• Nearly two-thirds of store visits are driven by a specific meal need, and 78 percent of purchases from the deli area are not impulse buys.
• Beverages bring extra value, given single-serve’s variety and ability to be tailored to a food item. Just under half of those buying a beverage in store are purchasing a beverage in the deli area; consumers want a “fresh” beverage to go with their fresh food, even if they are taking their food home to consume.
• When shoppers choose a beverage with their Fresh-to-Go meal, 21 percent drink bottled water, 18 percent choose soda, 6 percent choose iced tea and 6 percent choose juice/vegetable drinks. Yet most Fresh-to-Go store areas are not currently stocking these items, causing shoppers to hunt for their beverage of choice or choosing to drink tap water (14 percent).
• One of the most important needs for Fresh-to-Go consumers is that the food is fresh, which can be conveyed with fully stocked displays or “made by” dates on packages.
• Ready-to-eat meals are more popular than heat-and-eat offerings.
• Ensure a variety of food options are available to meet the varying needs of shoppers.
• Offer a broad range of single-serve beverage choices that pair with local Fresh-to-Go food offerings.
• Focus on both out-of-store and in-store marketing to drive awareness and help retailers grow shopper loyalty for Fresh-to-Go meals.
• Enhance the shopping experience and meet shopper needs by highlighting the convenience of Fresh-to-Go meals through tasty and appetizing merchandising solutions.
• Promote value through combo specials that are not price-driven. Instead, feature food and beverages that are paired well together or highlight a new food and/or beverage.