Supermarket Trends Target Café & Dining Menus
Here at Future Food, we study trends and changes taking place in the exciting world of food and hospitality. None is more exciting or challenging for retail food operators that the endless growth in prepared food furnishing the shelves of our supermarkets. Maybe Australia is just catching-up with supermarkets globally or waking-up to the fact that people want convenience, value and freshness, something that supermarkets are good at delivering.
Cafés, fast food, restaurants, bars etc needs to fulfil 2 basic and timeless crucial criteria to guarantee repeat patronage:
1. The customer must value their offer – e.g. Quality Coffee - every time
2. The customer must trust the food operator - e.g. Positive experience – every time
In today’s age of high-tech and high-touch, people think things change, they don’t. We all want quality and consistency across all food and hospitality price points. There are no exceptions; today’s customer is king, they are informed and they can decide the fate of a food business.
It should not come as a shock to anyone, there has been a dramatic change in consumer behaviour over the past ten years. Therefore, food operators performance is now more important than ever if they wish to maintain and grow market share in a dog-eat-dog market.
Coles is ramping up its convenience strategy, with a plan to grow sales on the back of “food-for-now” and “food-for-later” products, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review, May 13th 2019.
As part of this strategy, the brand will convert around 200 Coles supermarkets to a more premium, convenience-focused format, and shift 200 lower-volume stores to a more value-centric format, while adding around 75 new product lines to its existing range for ready-to-eat meals – such as breakfast foods, curries, soups, roast vegetables and stir-fry kits. According to this report by Insider Retail, Coles chief executive Stephen Cain sees an opportunity through this strategy to grow another billion dollars in sales over the next five years.
Whilst traditional supermarkets in Australia are not in the food service industry per se more and more they are identifying the economic benefits of offering prepared food to their shoppers who have an appetite to eat-now for breakfast and buy lunch or dinner at the same time at the best price.
Supermarkets are evolving and cafes must lift their game. “Good is no longer good enough” says Francis Loughran, MD at Future Food. This notion is aptly depicted in Penny Flanagan article, ‘Dear cafes, you can do better’ Melbourne Age (May 20 2019), describing her current local cafe search for a great cafe as ‘journey of disappointment’ as she ‘bounced from one unsatisfying cafe to the next.’
Retail food, foodservice and hospitality sectors have many attributes and service-centric benefits that customers yearn for and are prepared to pay for, that Supermarkets can not compete with, however, this evolving landscape proves again café and retail food should take note of the 2 timeless criteria, value and trust, (mentioned above) that makes hospitality unique.
Cover image: Coles Foodie Hub (Image via Neoscape)