September 11, 2017


Many prepared foods shoppers will admit they are not "plan ahead" people. About 4:30 in the afternoon, as the "dinner decision" hour is looming, they're not in your store and probably not even thinking of retail as an option.It is exactly at this hour, when they are trying to decide what's for dinner, that we need to reach out to them to present convenient meal solutions using prepared foods.

This "dinner disconnect" was one of the drawbacks for participants of Tyson Foods' Prepared Foods Challenge1, which we've been sharing with you over the past several months in our Exclusive :60 series. Without any real plan, the families would hop into the car and head to the store, purchase an assortment of prepared foods then head home and hope for the best as the family gathered around the table. After failing night after night to prepare a satisfying meal, they sat down with a personal chef.

Everything changed when the chef helped them develop menus based on their tastes and likes and showed them a smarter way to shop for meals that are both appealing and easy to assemble. They began to understand that they should think of their retailer's prepared foods as the basis of a convenient meal solution that also incorporates other items from around the store.

While it's impossible for you to send a chef out to educate every shopper, there are ways to reach them wherever they are with the same out-of-store marketing tools you're already using – broadcast emails, mobile apps, social media promotions and even direct mail.


Inspire shoppers with messaging that features enticing meal ideas that deliver on quality and freshness using prepared foods combined with ingredients from the whole store.


Educate shoppers by helping them create a complete meal solution instead of focusing on price, value or a random assortment of products


Execute on your promises when shoppers enter the store; be prepared to guide them through their shopping experience by using in-store signage that reminds them of the inspirational menu ideas that brought them there and provides navigational assistance to help them find the related products and have those items fresh and in stock.

You can also use digital marketing messages to guide shoppers in developing better skills with menu planning, which will also help streamline their shopping and meal preparation time. You might want to offer theme ideas like Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian, Asian, or Southern Cooking. Show shoppers how to organize their shopping cart by dish (proteins, carbs, veggies, desserts) and provide tips for complementing prepared food items with other fresh ingredients. They might also appreciate ideas about multiple uses for prepared foods, such as saving rotisserie chicken leftovers for tacos on day two.

We'd like to invite you to spend a minute with our families in this month's Exclusive :60, to see how they learned to use the whole store to make enticing yet easy meals featuring prepared foods that deliver on quality and fresh flavor. They'll also share why they now think of their retailer's prepared foods as a go-to treat instead of a last-minute compromise.

1 Tyson Foods, Prepared Foods Challenge, June 2016
2 Tyson Foods, On the Go Study, 2014