How Grocerants Can Compete with the Fast Food Epidemic

October 08, 2018

How Grocerants Can Compete with the Fast Food Epidemic

Grocerants may be the a fairly new trend, but still have the potential to compete with fast food.

Drive north, south, east, or west in the US, and in rural or urban parts of the country, and one obvious common thread is that fast food restaurants are ubiquitous. Cheap and convenient, these options have become such a part of the American diet, that now studies reveal that 40% of consumers eat fast food on any given day in a 24 hour period.

If that’s not startling enough to hear, a new report tells us that an estimated 93 million Americans are obese. The report, based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, also states that seven states now have exceeded obesity rates of 35%, and only three states have rates less than 25%. In none of the 50 states, have rates declined. 

And while there is a common misconception that these cheap meal options are most popular with low income families, consumption actually went up with higher income families. Forty-two percent of higher income families ate fast food within a 24 hour period, compared to 32% of families that earned 130% of the federal poverty level or less.

As more supermarkets begin to embrace the grocerant concept, a fairly new trend, reports such as this one can guide them in creating attractive alternatives to the drive through. But in order to do that, the grocerant will need to compete with price and provide reasons for consumers to park their cars and walk into the store. Here are some ideas:

  • The typical American on average, according to a Bankrate survey, buys takeout or restaurant food 2.4 times a week, and spends an average of $2,443 a year. So what we know is that Americans enjoy eating out, but based on fast food statistics, healthier options aren’t top of mind. If taste and price are key for consumers, grocerant chefs and their teams can compete by offering tastier options, comparative in price, but also made with better-for-you ingredients in order to differentiate themselves. 
  • According to the same Bankrate survey, the typical American buys prepared beverages like smoothies and brewed coffee 2.5 times per week. This is a great way to lure customers and keep them in the store by meeting modern beverage trends in coffee and tea, fresh juices and smoothies as well as craft beers and wine bars, which have become more popular. 
  • Technology has become a second by second part of the average American’s daily life. A study on reported that the majority (62%) of people check their phone up to 160 times a day, and 24% check their phones up to 320 times per day! Wifi options for customers should be easy and accessible, and if your grocerant has charging stations as well, you won’t lose customers that need to stay connected even when they are dining out or enjoying a beverage. 
  • Samples, samples, samples! Supermarkets have for some time been improving on their sample opportunities with cooking demonstration stations, recipe cards and all ingredients available right there at the station. But what about grocerant chefs at meal time hours offering samples of what’s on the menu. One delicious bite could be just enough to inspire an immediate sale to a hungry shopper. 

Despite health food trends and recommendations by health professionals, junk food consumption seems unstoppable these days. Retailers will need to find creative and affordable ways to offer foods that give the consumer a similar experience, but with something in addition that makes them more attractive!