B2B | Shopper Connection | October/November 2010
Ultra-convenient meals, the ultimate shopability in center-store
Retail performance in test stores this year indicates that the Ultra-Convenient Meals (UCM) destination center is quickly becoming a center-store hub. The unique design of this 16-foot set showcases the quick, convenient, value appeals of a wide array of shelf-stable microwavable meal solutions—all in one place.
ConAgra Foods research revealed a microwavable meals consumer in center-store, who had to travel to five to seven different in-store locations to look for microwavable food needs, adding up to nine additional minutes to an already time-strapped trip.
In addition, microwave usage has grown at a double-digit pace the past two years1 and consumer interest in microwavable meals has raised separately from parent categories.
“Retailers were thinking the same as we were—that microwave in center-store was becoming more of an opportunity,” said Robert Steed, director-category leadership, ConAgra Foods. “But they didn’t know where it should be located or what it should look like. We needed to act on these insights and bring the set to life through in-store marketing and customer marketing programs.”
People trust soup for its shelf-stable quality; its halo extends to UCM and enhances cross-purchase activity within the set. The complete run includes four sections—Ready Soups, Select Choices (for premium consumers, brands such as Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers and Marie Callender’s), Everyone’s Favorites (Chef Boyardee and select brands from other manufacturers) and Hearty Tastes (other manufacturers as well).
The UCM destination gives shoppers a wider variety of options in one location. People went back to the kitchen in the recession, but not to cook from scratch. The five minutes or less meal preparation theme is compelling today,” said Steed, noting 6% more incremental purchases with UCM products in the basket, in retail and virtual tests.
In a test with a major retailer the UCM set showed 15% higher dollar sales vs. a controlled environment. “We feel it is an opportunity for retailers to gain incremental sales, Steed added. “Most of the sales growth was attributed to stronger cross purchasing across segments.” In addition, none of the parent categories were affected by the move.
Family-centered activities such as cooking around Holiday time build memories, but can also become teaching and bonding moments—with a purpose...
The addition of 3 million U.S. households to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) during October raises the number of eligible households to 18 million and creates new retail opportunities to synchronize promotional and merchandising efforts with the early-in-the-month dollar flow.
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Chief household shoppers are of two minds during the holiday season. They certainly think about the big gatherings, but they also need to be as expedient as possible in meeting their family food needs every other day of the Holidays
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SNAP Shoppers Spend More in Early Part of Month
Retailers can capture SNAP shoppers at the beginning of the month, by doing the following:
- Move food category events that index high to
- Utilize in-store displays to ensure in-stock levels
- Adjust inventory levels on key categories and brands to address increased consumer needs
*Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program
Source: Government Assistance/Food Stamps In-Depths Fusion 4/10, Retailer SNAP tender data
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