November 15, 2017


Creating a new family dynamic: Pride in serving prepared foods.

For far too long we've focused on the convenience of prepared foods, and in doing so we may have lost sight of its other benefits. Tyson Foods' research shows the number one driver of purchase intent is "I feel proud to serve" the product.1 But if convenience means shoppers have to compromise on the very reason they're buying the product, does it even make sense?

In our Prepared Foods Challenge2, participants found that using prepared foods in conjunction with other fresh ingredients created a new dynamic. Instead of mom working alone in the kitchen to provide a good meal, everyone – including the teenagers – participated in the light prep for the meal. Can you imagine who appreciated this time the most? If you guessed it was the kids, you got it right.

Teens in the Prepared Foods Challenge2 said:

"It's really good food, now that we know what we're doing and how to make it. We can sit down as a family and enjoy ourselves."

"So far we've only had snacks, we haven't even had dinner yet, and I'm already loving today."

"Adding your own kind of thing to the prepared foods, it makes it homemade without all the effort."

"I like having dinner with my family. All of us are together."

They saved time, shared prep time together and ate good food together. We set out to offer them the opportunity to have good food – food shoppers are proud to serve – and in doing so, provided the added benefit of supporting and fostering family time together. Prepared foods met their functional and emotional needs and created satisfaction that, not coincidentally, drives repeat purchases and builds deep loyalty.

It is also important to note there is abundant research to show that families who gather around a shared meal at dinnertime experience many benefits: children who are more confident, who perform better in academics and sports, who exhibit more poise, and have significantly lower incidence of a whole range of destructive behaviors that can afflict adolescents.3,4 But family dinners aren't happening as much today as they should be, and those of us who supply food need to engage shoppers in a conversation about it.

Tyson Foods: 
What would you get from more family dinners at the table?

Brooke (15 years old):
"A lot more quality family time and connecting more with them, get to know them more."

Brooke's Mom: 
"I was sort of shocked. She never said anything about it."


So, we do have an important role in bringing families back to the table again. Let's stop talking about new equipment and product value, start recognizing the higher order benefits that families seek and need, and talk about the deeper aspirations that are meaningful to them. It's not something we should leave to chance – we need to be intentional in how we talk about meal occasions – be they family dinner, social snack, lunch break or breakfast on the run.

In this month's Exclusive :60 series. we'll see what happens when the entire family gets involved in menu planning and light meal prep. We'll discover what matters to them, and may also develop a better understanding of the messaging they need to hear from us.

1 Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure, 2015, 2016
2 Prepared Foods Challenge, June 2016
3 Tyson Foods, On the Go Study, 2014
4 Tyson Foods, Emotional Trigger Study, 2016