That’s the perspective offered by the Nielsen Perishables Group in their Jan. 30 Fresh Perspective newsletter. Titled “Convenience, it’s what’s for dinner tonight,” Nielsen’s report said shoppers are increasingly choosing easy meals.
“The idea of planning and eating three square meals a day is a thing of the past for many consumers,” the report said. With many shoppers looking for fast solutions only hours in advance, the evolution of consumer demand is putting retailers in direct competition with foodservice, according to the report.
Consumers are increasing their visits to value channels, including supercenters, dollar stores and warehouses. On the other hand, the Nielsen report said consumer visits to grocery stores have been falling.
In 2012, the report said the average household made 56 trips to the grocery channel — 16 fewer than 2001.
“Many grocery retailers are striving to recapture fill-in trips by catering to time-strapped consumers with a variety of fresh options,” according to the report.
The report said that consumers are interested in assembling meals but not inclined to fully prepare the food.
“Not surprisingly, these shoppers gravitate toward meals with premade or value-added elements, and this need can be leveraged across the entire store,” the report said.
The Nielsen report said that in the produce department, meal components requiring minimal preparation, including salad kits and value-added vegetable side dishes, are also gaining popularity.
In 2013, vegetable side dishes increased dollar sales 16% and salad kits jumped 26% from the previous year, according to the report. “These convenient produce options fit the “semi-prepared” bill for consumers that want to feel involved with food prep, however limited,” the report said.