Supervalu focuses on meal solutions

by Eric Schroeder
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 Supervalu
Supervalu is introducing Quick'n Easy brand of meal kits and grab-and-go options.
 
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – As Supervalu works to improve traffic trends and drive sales, meal solutions — especially meal kits and grab-and-go options — will be a key area of focus, said Mark Gross, president and CEO.

Mark Gross
Mark Gross, president and CEO of Supervalu

“We’ve long provided meal solutions, but we’re excited with the innovation and expansion that we’re rolling out in this area,” Gross said during a July 26 conference call with analysts to discuss first-quarter results. “Our expanded offering will be marketed as Quick’n Easy, an easily understood name that will be carried through several departments. We’ll have meal kits, heat-and-serve, grab-and-go versions, all geared to the level of preparation and precooking or not that best fit our customers’ needs.”

He said Supervalu developed many of the recipes for Quick’n Easy in its test kitchens before refining them in the company’s retail stores. Soon, the Quick’n Easy line of products will be available in both retail and wholesale operations.

“Quick’n Easy is a great example of a program developed and tested in our retail business that can then be rolled out to our wholesale customers,” Gross said.

Another area of focus is organics, where Gross said Supervalu will look to close the gap, including in both center-store and fresh departments.

“The organic arena continues to show impressive growth, nationally at around 11 percent last year,” he explained. “Our data tells us that our retail banners have some good opportunities to further drive organic sales as a per cent of the total store, and we’re working to close this gap. Part of this opportunity also relates to private label organic products, where we continue to add additional SKUs (stock-keeping units) to our Wild Harvest line.

“In this fiscal year, we plan to add more than 80 new Wild Harvest items, adding to a brand that currently has approximately 600 SKUs.”

As part of its broader category management efforts, Supervalu is continuously evaluating its store assortments to ensure stores are carrying the most relevant items, including private label offerings, Gross said.

“We’ve found opportunities where certain stores are underpenetrated in private brand SKUs, and we’re in the process of reworking those store planograms to make sure customers have access to these products,” he said.

Net income at Supervalu in the first quarter ended June 17 was $11 million, equal to 4 cents per share on the common stock, down from $46 million, or 17 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales in the quarter increased to $4,004 million from $3,765 million. 

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