Driving Total Store Sales with Meal Planning
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Many consumers still carry the belief that the healthiest foods are located in the perimeter of the store. However, many packaged, canned and frozen products contribute significant nutritional value and can help shoppers create easy, delicious and affordable balanced meals. As you help shoppers navigate the total store for meal solutions, be sure to highlight new product innovations and better-for-you options that can be used to create simple, tasty family meals while building a bigger basket. Consider the following opportunities to drive sales across all departments:
- Promote 5 new meal assembly ideas with a common food product. For example - 5 entrée salads built from a spring salad mix; family-friendly recipes with shredded rotisserie chicken; or 5 healthier topping ideas for a frozen cheese pizza.
- Show customers how to create a new recipe with a key frozen food product. A simple ravioli bake can be made with frozen ravioli, jarred pasta sauce and cheese. Or a hearty soup can be created with frozen vegetables, low sodium broth, pasta and ground meat.
- Conduct a class, provide a tour, or write an article highlighting what’s new in the frozen department during frozen food month. There are many new options designed to satisfy a variety of consumer trends such as vegetarian, global flavors, gluten free and higher protein or fiber. For example, Sweet Earth and Wildscape from Nestle are new frozen brands that focus on sustainable, healthy ingredients, exciting flavors and are plant-based.
- Conduct a social media contest during canned or frozen food month and have customers post photos of a balanced meal that utilizes frozen or canned products.
- Partner with CPG companies. The Nestle Balance Your Plate program provides educational materials, meal plans and recipes to help shoppers build a balanced plate with frozen and refrigerated entrees. They include seasonal inspiration that can be used for creating story angles that fit into your promotional calendar.
- Research showed that using 3 frozen entrees a week equals 4 hours of time saved with meal preparation. Promote this time saving benefit by advertising meal assembly ideas such as – Frozen Lasagna + Frozen Green Beans + Bakery Garlic Bread.
- In January many households are focused on budgets. Highlight money saving meal ideas such as $10 Tuesdays using meal assembly components from across the store. This is also the time of year shoppers may try to manage their weight by not eating out. Introduce new, healthier individual frozen lunch entrees with built in portion control.
- Don’t forget about breakfast. Write a blog showing a month of quick and healthy breakfast ideas from fresh, frozen and packaged foods, or provide a pantry stocking list that ensures convenient, better-for-you morning foods are available for quick assembly.