Thursday, October 18, 2007

convenience, food tech, control and opportunity

The consumption of food is a cultural conundrum. Us Americans just can't figure it all out: diet, convenience, health, family-time, 6 small meals, 3 large ones, no breakfast, Kellogg's flakes for breakfast-lunch-and dinner, etc.
How does one make sense of it all? A recent article in Dallas News, has called it out: Convenience.
  • Restaurants are in a bid to replace Mom as the family's primary chef.
  • Today, consumers are eating more but cooking less. (ouch)
For some examples, look at California Pizza Kitchen, TGI Friday's, Wolfgang Puck and Marie Calendars. More from the article:
  • Food technology has blurred the line between ready-to-eat food from a restaurant and ready-to-heat food from a grocer.
  • Sales of frozen entrees are growing slowly > the challenge has set in.
  • "Companies will be tempted to offer fresh - not frozen - prepared meals. And that will put the competition between grocery and restaurant take-out on more equal footing."
There is something to be said for being the brand on the shelf when the consumer says, I want convenience.
  • "It all goes to the Starbucks strategy of giving the consumer 360-degree exposure to your brand."
Personally, I don't think restaurant take-out can viably compete with ready-to-heat frozen food. Both sound as in-convenient if I'm in a lazy mood. I propose we combine a delivery service with customer-service for a solution. These vehicles could be a chance to exhibit more sides of a brand personality: say an SUV with TGI Friday's comes to your door and a hybrid from California Pizza Kitchen pulls up at the neighbor's. I know some consumers would cringe to hear about advertising creeping into another area of their life but there already is advertising on the road - Billboards.

Delivery = Convenience. Brand that pulls through with the solution = Awesome. Let the races begin. Good lucK!

1 comment:

Balmule said...

Actually there is Meals on Wheels for seniors citizens now that delivers home cooked meals hot to your door and in our town a caterer who advertises that give her a menu and she'll prepare a week's worth of ready to heat gormet meals for you to pop in the freezer so you don't really even have to stop and decide at a grocery. There are also growing numbers of services that will do your gorcery shopping for you. I guess we're all getting nannies for our adult selves yet I feel this is taking away from some simple pleasures in life which is taking the time to cook. Smells, tastes, the art of chopping, dicing and food preparation which can add so much to a hectic life. Is the idea to brand ourselves away from our own kitchens, family time, couple time to whatever brand will offer us the speediest oral gratification or is it to somehow come up with branding that will teach us to again slow down and find comfort and renewed meaning in finding out who we are and who we share our lives with instead of substituting convenience for the meaning of life. This I guess also couples with the robot article; is this really the way we humans wish to go? Can humanity still exist within the robotic society? Thoughts from the coast.