Prepared Food Sales To Grow 7.5 Percent In 2012

Aug. 10, 2012

Prepared foods continue to be a bright spot for supermarkets and convenience stores, as well as an emerging bright spot for retail behemoths Walmart and Target, according to a report from Packaged Facts. Prepared foods are firmly embedded in the mainstream retail shopping experience: Every 10 times adult consumers get food, merchandise or services from one of seven major retail channels, they get prepared foods during two of those visits. This, in turn, translates into sales: Packaged Facts forecasts U.S. prepared foods sales to reach $32.5 billion in 2012, up 7.5 percent from 2011. To assist market participants in understanding and honing this growing slice of the food retail pie, Packaged Facts’ August 2012 “Prepared Foods and Ready-to-Eat Foods at Retail, 2nd Edition” provides guidance on the following questions:

What is the prepared foods usage share (weighted by population, usage and usage frequency) of 13 retail formats? What types prepared foods and dispensed beverages do consumers purchase at supermarkets and convenience stores? How much do they cost? What food retailers carry them? This report analyzes consumers’ prepared foods and dispensed beverage purchasing histories by major category and specific food and beverage type; provides food retail and restaurant retail pricing comparisons; and in-depth store audits of 11 leading food retailers’ prepared food programs.

How does the prepared food visit fit into the wider context of the supermarket or convenience store visit? What else do prepared foods users purchase? How do their purchasing patterns differ from non-prepared foods purchasers? How can trip planning, timing and participants affect purchases?

What’s in the customer’s basket? How are prepared foods tied to other category purchases? This report breaks out ready-to-eat and heat-and-eat purchase tendencies within the context of five other major food, merchandise and services (and 24 specific food, merchandise and services).

Are customers using promotional tie-ins? When they visit, are they aware of prepared foods advertising inside and outside of the store?

How do prepared foods users interact with the store once they purchase the food?

How does prepared food stack up on taste, value, variety, price and health? Why don’t non-users get prepared foods?

More dimensionally, how do certain consumer groups interact with prepared foods? Are the attitudes and behaviors of healthy eaters toward prepared food different than those of budget buyers? Of natural foods lovers? Repeat users? Coffee addicts? This report analyzes prepared foods attitudes and behaviors of five custom consumer groups, each of which share common characteristics relevant to food retail purchasing habits and preferences.

What can be learned about prepared foods placement, variety, pricing and other strategies from store visits at 11 of the nation’s leading food retailing brands? How have the prepared food programs at eight stores visited in May 2010 changed since then? Packaged Facts conducted store visits during April-June 2012 at Alberstons, Costco, Dominick’s, Food 4 Less, Fresh & Easy, Ralphs, SuperTarget, Vons, Walmart Neighborhood Express, Walmart Neighborhood Store, and Whole Foods Market.

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