Prepared food purchases grow at commissaries

by Bryan Salvage
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CHICAGO – Commissaries, also known as meal assemblers and central kitchens, are the source of a large percentage of all foodservice purchases in supermarkets and c-stores, Technomic states in its new study titled Selling to Foodservice Commissaries Serving Supermarkets and C-Stores. These growing channels are planning ahead to increase their overall foodservice sales and to meet consumer demand for fresh, prepared foods.

"Commissaries are a great option for c-stores and supermarkets largely because they can outsource the food preparation function to someone else," said Tim Powell, a director of research and consulting at Technomic. "As these channels have explored new avenues of growth, foodservice has shown that margins can sometimes be three times as high as other in-store categories."

In recent years, supermarkets and c-stores have looked to foodservice for expansion and have been growing faster than the overall foodservice industry rate, making them attractive targets for suppliers to the industry.

Other major findings include:

  • Four primary models of commissaries have been identified that will be critical for trading partners to understand.
  •  Over the next three years, commissary growth will exceed both c-store and supermarket growth.
  • Cold deli sandwiches, burritos and pizza account for the largest shipments from commissaries to c-stores.
  • The largest volume categories going to supermarkets are fully-cooked meats, prepared salads, pizza and cold deli sandwiches.
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