July 31, 2017
As mass media outlets continue to bring food craft into public view, the high profile of creative cooking has created new opportunities for grocery operators. Not only has it increased consumer expectation for improved ingredient selection, it’s also created an opportunity for local operators to provide shoppers with meal preparation guidance and weekly menu suggestions. While forward-thinking operators are using the trend to gain momentum, others are playing catchup – and both are hustling to remain relevant in a quickly-changing market.
Even if you don’t cook regularly, home delivery meal kits allow almost anyone to plan and create the meal of their dreams – sort of. While these kits are beginning to chip away at the frequency of premium shoppers’ visits to grocery stores, the bright spot for operators is that what meal kits offer in creativity, they lack in convenience and practicality. For example, a meal kit scheduled for Thursday delivery for a family of two, does little good for an impromptu dinner invitation with the neighbors on Tuesday. Grocery operators now have an opportunity to match or exceed the creativity of meal kits while making them convenient to select any day of the week, for any number of people.
One way to address the needs of shoppers is thru demonstration food preparation with a guided or curated shopping experience. The term curated may seem a bit pretentious – but in a world where $8 crafted cups of coffees are commonplace, curating a shopping experience that capitalizes on the meal kit trend is not a stretch.
Mobile demonstration stations are an excellent anchor to the “build-a-meal kit” concept. Demonstration Chefs are on hand to prepare one of three or four concepts of the day with accompanying menus, preparation guides, and shopping lists which complement the demonstrations. For those wanting to reduce shopping time, ready-to-go kits are available in refrigerated displays.
The Unified Brands design team recently designed a demonstration unit featuring a chill-top preparation area, induction cooking platform, and a hand wash sink. Shown above (left image) branded as an Asian concept, it was recently used as a tradeshow demo stage with great success.
Demonstration carts can also be designed for a weekly special. The Barbacoa branded cart (shown above, right image) comes with a refrigerated storage area and scales for weighing product. When the cart is not in use it’s simply rolled to a storage area and converted to an attention-grabbing merchandiser.
These are just a couple examples of how mobile demonstration stations and carts can help engage shoppers, creating a memorable experience that encourages customers to return to the store not just for groceries, but for crafted-meal ideas as well as an experience.
For more information about creating custom demo concepts, please contact a member of the Unified Brands Retail Team or visit us at http://www.unifiedbrands.net/markets/retail/.