Retailers need to figure out how to meet the growing demand for prepared meals, according to a study by Acosta Sales & Marketing, Jacksonville, Fla.

According to the study, 27% of shoppers come into a supermarket solely to pick up a prepared meal, and retailers need to meet the “increasing desire for convenient, healthy and economical prepared meal solutions.”

“The shopping landscape is evolving at an accelerated pace, fueled by three key factors: the growing influence of the Millennial shopper [ages 18 to 33]; the blurring of lines between eating in and eating out; and the continued rapid adoption of digital shopping."


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Among the study’s suggestions:

• Ensure adequate signage and promote prepared foods throughout the store.

• Offer value menu options and low-calorie versions of home-cooked favorites like pizza and macaroni and cheese.

• Offer ready-to-eat options that would typically take a long time to prepare at home, such as barbecued or slow-cooked foods.

• Offer a variety of ethnic meal options geared particularly to the Millennial consumer.

• Focus on add-on sales, since nearly half of shoppers studied said they purchased additional prepared items besides those they had planned to buy.

The study noted that Millennials will become the dominant shoppers by 2020, with more than $65 billion worth of grocery spending shifting from Baby Boomers to Millennials.

“Millennials grew up with high-speed internet access and mobile technology,” the report noted. “They are social, technology dependent and environmentally conscious. But they are not yet brand loyal, which represents an opportunity for CPG companies and retailers.

“Millennials seek an enticing, upbeat, healthier, fresher and engaging experience in-store with digital seamlessly integrated. They invest the time to understand benefit claims and reward design and unique benefits. Creating touch-points, both in-store and virtually, to effectively communicate a product or brand’s value proposition, especially non-price related benefits, is critical to success with this generation.”

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