With the cost of living going nowhere but up, HMR Programs in Retail Grocery Stores are not only here to stay but are actually becoming a greater area of focus. More & more families require both spouses to contribute to monthly earnings in order to be able to keep up financially. So, who is going to do the cooking? After a long day at the office, can you really expect either spouse to be terribly excited about the prospect of having to prepare a meal for the entire family? I don’t think so, at least not in my household!
I think that more & more people don’t want to cook, but want to eat at home, so that’s something that Grocery Retailers can provide. Due to the economic conditions we continue to experience, people are tightening their purse springs so they may not want to go to a restaurant but they still want to treat themselves to restaurant quality food.
This is a big reason why HMR Programs are becoming more & more popular and smart grocery retailers are investing more dollars towards this segment. Another major reason for the increased investment in this market segment is due to the fact that if an HMR Program is done right, it can become an extremely profitable segment for grocery retailers. There are high gross margins to be made by operating a successful HMR Program, however, it doesn’t come without some risks. Those high gross margins can erode quickly if there is a lot of food waste and nothing deteriorates faster than freshly prepared meals.
Therefore, it is imperative that Retail Grocers invest wisely in hiring competent individuals to devise & implement effective HMR Programs which are in tune with what consumers are looking for. The days of featuring only rotisserie chicken, potato wedges & coleslaw are long gone as consumers are demanding a wide range of ‘High Quality Fresh Meals’ which are also ‘Healthy & Nutritious’ for you. Of course, pricing is extremely important as well because consumers are still looking for value and it’s extremely important that the ‘prepared foods section’ turns over quickly. Nothing turns off a potential customer more than to see stale items sitting on display. So it’s extremely important for Retail Grocers to find that ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to pricing.