Grocers Turn to Grab-and-Go

Supermarkets are using packaged meals to differentiate from the competition.

August 15, 2019

CHICAGO—Convenience is driving many of the top retail trends these days, and grocery stores are turning to grab-and-go to stand out from the competition—and bring in more dollars, Grocery Dive reports. For example, deli department sales—which traditionally account for much of the grab-and-go items in supermarkets—have skyrocketed, jumping from $15 billion in 2014 to $20 billion last year, according to Nielsen. Driving those sales are packaged salads, wings, meal kits and sandwiches.

“Grocers who do grab-and-go items are all challenged by velocity per SKU, meaning they usually have lots and lots of items, but a lot of them don't move very fast. Volume is a killer for retailers in this segment,” said Bob Goldin, co-founder and partner at Pentallect. “Shrink rates are extremely high and it kills profitability.”

Goldin emphasized the importance of presentation to entice shoppers to pick up grab-and-go items, which tend to be clustered in the deli department and front-of-store locations. For example, Festival Foods puts its ready-to-heat items in its deli. “In recent years, the convenience factor has played a big role in what our guests are looking for and as a result, we have expanded our grab-and-go, ready-to-eat type items,” said Kyle Kress, assistant deli director. “We have had to adapt to the increase in demand for these items and will continue to do so to stay relevant.”

Shoppers continue to enjoy indulgent grab-and-go items, such as wings, pizza and lasagna, but healthier items are growing as well, including salads and plant-based foods, according to Nielsen data.