- Schnuck Markets has begun rolling out a new line of prepared meals called “Restaurant Selections by Schnucks," the company announced in a press release on Thursday. The program will roll out to all stores by March.
- The meals, targeted toward the on-the-go and health-conscious consumer, will align with a bi-monthly culinary theme. Entree themes announced for 2021 are “Eat Good to Feel Great” (January/February), Mediterranean and Italian (March/April), barbeque (May/June), Southwest (July/August), Pan Asian (September/October) and comfort foods (November/December).
- Schnucks wants its stores to remain top-of-mind for consumer mealtimes this year. “Restaurant Selections” will be featured in the grocers' digital coupons to target its omnichannel shopper base.
As consumers look ahead to a 2021 that could eventually include traveling and dining out more, Schnucks wants to give its shoppers as many reasons as it can to keep them coming back for mealtimes.
The grocer's “Restaurant Selections” themes throughout the year take aim at popular seasonal shopping and lifestyle habits, including a health-conscious January and February to entice the New Years’ Resolution crowd and a comfort food theme during the holiday season to round out the year.
Schnucks is promoting the new line as "restaurant quality," which sets a high bar for shoppers in a prepared foods department that, looking across the industry, is not renowned for its culinary flair. The dishes Schucks plans to serve up include smokehouse rotisserie pork roast, Mediterranean turkey meatloaf and linguine carbonara.
Like other grocers, Schnucks has expanded its lineup of prepared meals, meal accompaniments and items aimed at promoting home cooking over the past year. This includes partnering with local restaurants, including Black-owned establishments, to stock its grab-and-go offerings.
Regional grocer H-E-B took a similar approach of integrating products made by local restaurants into its prepared meals sections at select stores, while other grocers have set up “grocerants” in stores or guest chef programs with local restaurateurs to help meet demand for meals at home.
As they expand their packaged food options, grocers are also figuring out what to do with self-service stations like hot bars and salad bars. Albertsons said last week it's replacing self-service stations with refrigerated cases in its stores. In an interview last year, Anne-Marie Roerink, president of food and retail industry research firm 210 Analytics, said that rebounding sales in self-service departments will mostly hinge on consumer confidence in spending more time inside grocery stores and interacting with grocery employees amid the pandemic.