The rise and hopeful demise of ‘grocerant’
The retail industry has a great capacity to devise descriptive terms that should never see the light of day. Retailtainment and omni-channel are two such terms that really should have been consigned straight to the bin.
A similar thought occurred to me when I came across a new term – grocerant. I guess you’ve worked out that it is a mash-up of grocer and restaurant. It refers to retailers that are including a greater amount of ready prepared food-to-go options that require no cooking at home.
Waitrose is among those retailers to recognise that in the US prepared food sections have had a massive impact and that this trend will find a place in the UK market too. It began playing around with the idea at its Barbican store in London where the number of regular grocery lines have been reduced and replaced by more food-to-go options. The plan is to replicate this at more of its stores around the UK.
This desire by consumers for ready prepared foods led to the emergence of recipe boxes or meal kits. These contain all the ingredients and simply require the purchaser to throw them all together before cooking and voila!
A number of suppliers also tapped into the other key trends of home delivery and subscription schemes so we ended up with the likes of HelloFresh and Gousto delivering a number of meal solutions to customers’ houses each week or so.
The reality is that they have never really taken hold. They seem to fall between the two stools of being neither a take-away nor a meal cooked fully from scratch. It cannot be a surprise that these brands are now looking to pivot and seek listings in the major grocers. HelloFresh has just gone into Sainsbury’s and Gousto is potentially going to do similar with the Co-op.
The omens are not great because Waitrose has already given meal kits a go in its stores when it stocked Dinner for Tonight meal solutions but pulled them from the shelves after the trial failed to live up to expectations.
It’s fair to say that the company is on much firmer ground with its move to introduce more food to go options into its stores – just as long as it does not start calling itself a grocerant.
Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider