CHICAGO – Supermarkets are reaping the benefits of offering consumers prepared, restaurant-style meals, but retailers also are seeing some unintended consequences.
A new report from market research firm NPD Group reveals that a declining number of consumers believe prepared meals offered at supermarkets are safe to eat. NPD found that since 2006, the percentage of consumers who feel that the foods in supermarkets are safe has declined to 58 percent from 66 percent.
“Consumers typically rate grocery prepared foods higher on freshness and quality than quick service restaurants, but more food handling issues and concerns come into play when foods are prepared for you,” Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst, said in a news release. “They are now extending the concerns they have about the safety of foods served at restaurants to supermarkets. Since groceries are taking on more of the role of a restaurant they are reaping the rewards as well as the risks that go with it.”
Consumers’ use of in-store dining and take-out from ‘grocerants,’ or supermarkets that offer prepared foods, has grown nearly 30 percent since 2008, and account for 2.4 billion foodservice visits, according to data from NPD. These visits amounted to $10 billion of consumer spending in 2015. Additionally, more than 40 percent of US consumers buy prepared foods from grocery stores.
Driving the trend are millennials who use grocery stores less than other generational groups, but are increasing their use of prepared foods at supermarkets, NPD said.