CHICAGO – Consumers participating in a recent survey conducted by Technomic said they are sourcing prepared meals from a wider range of retail foodservice operations than they were two years ago, many times at the expense of restaurants. As a result, traditional supermarkets, convenience stores and mass merchandisers have been able to increase their share of the food-away-from-home market as they expand their foodservice platforms and build upon consumer desire for convenience, quality and variety of offerings in retail locations.

“Retailers benefit from the fact that consumers are already visiting them for other purchases.” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president. “If retailers can offer a foodservice option that rivals that of restaurants in terms of quality, freshness and variety, they can build on the advantage they inherently enjoy when it comes to convenience.”

Technomic’s new Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report was designed to help restaurant operators, manufacturers and retailers stay current on evolving consumer attitudes and preferences with regard to retailer meal solutions.

Highlights include:

  • Health is an important factor in the RMS (retail meal solutions) purchasing decision and seems to be of greater importance for RMS occasions than for restaurant meals.
  • Approximately two in five consumers say they usually consider nutrition when purchasing prepared foods, compared to only about a quarter who say they consider nutrition when ordering food at restaurants.
  • Kid appeal stands out as the primary concept attribute that consumers think RMS programs are lacking. The attribute related to RMS’ appeal to children ranked among the bottom three for each type of retailer as compared to both limited- and full-service restaurants.
  • Forty percent of consumers who visit mass merchandisers and convenience stores for RMS purchases, do so at least once a week from those locations.