- ShopRite has opened a store-within-a-store concept focused on fresh meals and meal assembly at three Northeastern stores, the company announced in a press release. “Fresh to Table” presents meal solutions and snacks across a variety of prep levels, including five-ingredient dishes developed by corporate chefs along with ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat items.
- Shoppers can order meals ahead of time through ShopRite’s Order Express App, for DoorDash delivery or through the ShopRite from Home online service. Recipes for the in-store meal bundles are available on ShopRite’s website and can also be accessed by scanning a QR code or using digital screens situated in the department.
- With more consumers now eating at home and turning to grocers as their primary meal destinations during the pandemic, ShopRite’s new meal station is one way retailers are trying to convert recent gains into long-term loyalty.
ShopRite has built a store-within-a-store that pulls together parts of the produce, protein and bakery departments into a separate fresh meals section that could be viewed as a new core category.
Fresh to Table, which has opened in ShopRite's Greenwich and Burlington, New Jersey, stores along with its location in Monroe, New York, covers a range of meal and snack options centered on occasion and preparation style. For those looking to cook at home, there are the “Prep & Eat” and “One Stop Dinner Shop” sections, which include pre-chopped ingredients and point-of-sale recipes. For those looking for quick meals and snacks, there are “Heat & Eat” and “Grab & Go” sections.
The offerings rotate regularly, which promises to keep consumer interest high. The “One Stop Dinner Shop” lineup will change weekly. Inaugural dishes include pumpkin soup, turkey-apple grilled cheese and herb poached salmon. A “Tasty & Trending” department that spotlights on-trend and seasonal foods will change every two weeks.
ShopRite said it plans to expand Fresh to Table to additional stores in the coming months.
Grocers have long offered ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared foods. But the pandemic has increased the need for meal-assembly programs that offer inspiration and practical tools for millions of home cooks. Retailers have dabbled in meal kits in recent years, and now they’re bringing that same culinary assistance approach to their merchandising programs.
As online shopping has grown, so has the need to bring these meal-assembly programs into the digital arena. E-commerce platforms, including mobile apps, offer even more space for recipe marketing and custom offers. ShopRite’s various tools include a CookIt service that offers personalized recipes and offers, letting consumers shop according to meal plans instead of just by ingredients.
The Giant Company is another example of a grocer that’s pulling together fresh ingredients into new meal-focused merchandising. The company’s new “All Set” program identifies meal solutions like turkey burgers and teriyaki bowls across its store departments, in circulars and online.
Even as more consumers are cooking at home these days, research shows some are getting fatigued by the process. Restaurants are also trying to wrest away meal dollars through delivery and pickup programs, making it all the more important for grocers to continue innovating their fresh meal selections.