Coke Solutions

Embrace Meal Planning to Grow Grocery Sales

Give shoppers easy-to-make meal ideas with Perfectly Paired Solutions

First, here's the good news: According to Consumer Beverage Landscape 2015 and NPD's Eating Patterns in America 2014, more and more people are preparing meals at home.

Now the bad news: Food Marketing Institute's U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends 2014 research shows that shopper spending is flat, and shoppers are cutting back on their total number of trips to grocery stores.

Grocery stores are feeling the pressure of these dichotomous trends, but a solution may lie in the complex nature of meal planning.

That's where Perfectly Paired Solutions comes in. Perfectly Paired Solutions is a tool based on insights and research unique to The Coca-Cola Company. It is designed to help operators showcase easy-to-execute meal ideas. By providing shoppers with much-needed menu inspiration, store owners can grow trip and dollar volume, as well as customer loyalty.

Shoppers are looking to grocery stores to help make meal planning easier. According to U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends 2014, the top interests for help with meal prep from grocery stores are easy recipes and meals under $10.

The Challenge
The number of meals eaten at home is up 4% compared to 2008, while dining out is down 9%, according to Eating Patterns in America 2014. The opportunity for grocery store operators lies in the fact that shoppers are planning less. "Eighty-three percent of consumers don't know what they are having for dinner at noon," says David Roche senior manager, Channel Strategy and Execution atThe Coca-Cola Company. "This is an opportunity for retailers, because shoppers are going to the grocery store looking for solutions."

It's important to note that today's shoppers have more options for ready-to-eat meals than ever before. As reported in U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends 2014, takeout and delivery accounts for 35% of meals and fast food represents 28%. Grocery stores made up only 12%.

According to Consumer Beverage Landscape 2011, 43% of all nonalcoholic ready-to-drink beverages are consumed with a meal or snack, which means The Coca-Cola Company is in a prime position to help grocery store operators offer meal planning solutions that maximize revenue and basket size.

The Solution

Though meal preparation and shopping behaviors are diverse, the desire for menu inspiration is universal (just check out Pinterest any day of the week). What's more, shoppers are looking to grocery stores to help make meal planning easier. According to US Grocery Shopper Trends 2014, the top interests for help with meal prep from grocery stores are easy recipes and meals under $10.

Perfectly Paired Solutions meets a variety of meal planning needs by including ideas for all age ranges — millennials, GenXers, boomers and mature shoppers. According to FoodIQ's Meals Made at Home Study, June 2015, shoppers rely on only a small number of favorite dishes for the majority of their dinners. Perfectly Paired Solutions focuses on making those 10 key meals easier and more enjoyable to prepare and serve.

Working with grocery store operators to first understand their customers' meal objectives, The Coca-Cola Company designs meal offerings by defining targeted shoppers, prioritizing food solutions and selecting optimal beverage pairings. Together, we activate the meal offerings with merchandising tools such as location, pricing and promotion.

"Retailers who will be successful in the meal space can recognize and help meet the expanding needs of shoppers," Roche says. "Co-merchandising beverages with meal solutions is a great way for retailers to improve shopper satisfaction and grow basket size."

To learn more about Perfectly Paired Solutions, contact your local Coca-Cola Representative.

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Published: July 08, 2016