What you need to know

Retailers are building out their prepared food programs to be more sophisticated and take direct aim at restaurants, as well as other retailers. They are differentiating with more on-site restaurants, which can range from a well-known quick-service chain to a fast casual restaurant helmed by a celebrity chef. And while fine-dining restaurants, food hall concepts, and bars serving adult beverages are all offering consumers an experience to remember, retailers haven’t lost sight of the importance of quick and affordable grab-and-go options. Mass merchandisers, in particular, are ramping up their prepared grab-and-go focus. Next, look for online ordering and delivery services to help grow prepared foods’ reach.


This Report explores consumer attitudes/behaviors surrounding foodservice concepts in retail, specifically grocery retailing. “Foodservice concepts in retail” refers to any restaurants located in a store (this includes grocery-owned restaurants as well as partnerships with existing brands such as a Subway located in a Walmart) or any meals sold on-site that are created by store employees (ie not shipped in from a manufacturer). Hot soups, prepared sushi, rotisserie chicken, hot and cold food bars, and on-site alcohol bars are all examples of foodservice concepts in retail.

Foodservice in retail also refers to both prepared packaged foods (eg packaged employee-made sandwiches) as well as MTO (made-to-order) foods (eg a station located in the store where customers can have a meal made-to-order, such as a burger station). Throughout this Report the phrase “prepared food” refers to both prepared packaged and MTO food.

While this Report does cover general trends in the grocery retailing industry, the focus of the Report is on foodservice concepts in grocers. For an in-depth analysis of the grocery retailing industry in general, please look to Mintel’s Grocery Retailing – US, July 2018 Report.

This Report excludes prepared foods in convenience stores. For an in-depth analysis of foodservice trends in convenience stores, please look to Mintel’s upcoming Convenience Store Foodservice – US, March 2018 Report.

This Report segments prepared food purchasers into three user groups (see Databook) to help illuminate the behaviors and attitudes of different types of prepared food customers throughout. Heavy users purchase prepared foods at least once a week; moderate users purchase a few times a month to once a month; and light users purchase once every two to three months to a few times a year. This Report builds on analysis presented in Foodservice in Retail – US, October 2017.

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