What you need to know

The retail prepared foods business is growing quickly year over year, with more people purchasing them and making more frequent purchases. This is largely thanks to prepared foods’ ability to deliver affordable convenience and a satisfying variety of options to time-strapped consumers. Grocers are investing in convenience with more tech-enabled ordering, pickup and delivery options for prepared foods. They should continue to invest more in limited service food and beverage restaurants, which are ideal for off-premise business, instead of higher-risk sit down restaurants and bars.


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 onsite 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 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, May 2019 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 Convenience Store Foodservice – US, March 2019 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.

  • 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, December 2018.

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