Starved for time and a home-cooked meal – Publix offers help

Publix Super Markets, the area’s largest grocer, is diving into the food prep and assembly business.

We have already read that Publix is right in the fray of opening meal prep centers within their stores. We could definately see an upsurge in this kind of combination, however as this article points out, there are some consumers who are still skeptical.

The Lakeland-based chain will open its first Make-Ahead Meal outlet in the Jacksonville area this fall. The store is an extension of Publix Apron’s program, which includes recipes, simple meals and cooking schools, spokesman Dwaine Stevens said. Another pilot store is slated for the Tampa Bay area.

But, she said, she isn’t sure that she would patronize a meal-assembly outlet, whether at Publix or at a private firm. “I don’t like to buy bulk food because it would stay in the freezer too long,” she said in a telephone interview.

Petrosky also said she thinks $200 for 12 meals is a bit costly. “Maybe if it was $100 or we had the ability to get fewer meals, I could consider it,” she said.

The $200 for 12 meals is right in line with almost all other vendors, but, if grocery stores are going to stick with just 12 meals and not allow consumers to grab 6 or even 3, that could certainly limit their viability.

There is certainly no lack of potential customers. A recent study still shows many people still have trouble finding the time to make the meals, let alone clean up from their efforts.

A recent quick poll at SuperMarketGuru.com asked panelists what things discouraged them most from cooking. Of those who responded, 58 percent said they didn’t like to clean up and 49 percent said they didn’t have time.

The poll also found more consumers preferred a supermarket deli than restaurants and fast-food.

“Ready-to-eat meals are becoming increasingly popular with time-constrained shoppers,” said trends analyst and author Phil Lempert in an article in Progressive Grocer.

The article also offers a couple of interesting statistics:

Food for Thought

70% of parents get stressed about dinner

47% don’t know what to make

23% don’t have time to cook

62 Average number of prepared food items offered at grocery stores

1,500+ Meal prep operations in the United States as of June 9

Read the full article here:

http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/Business/Headlines/bizBIZ01FOOD072907.htm

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