October 11, 2017


The unexpected benefits of prepared foods.

Tyson Foods recently conducted an experiment with a number of families and their use of prepared foods.

In our Prepared Foods Challenge1, participating families started out with high hopes for a satisfying meal experience featuring their grocer's prepared foods. But, without a plan, they quickly realized they could not create anything enjoyable from a random assortment of prepared food products. Then, we brought in a chef to show them how to develop meal plans and menus, and every one discovered that the experience of using prepared foods not only changed the way they view our departments but also changed their perspectives of spending time together as a family—and it increased the quality of that time.

Right now, there may be shoppers in your department or thinking about visiting your store. And most of them have no idea what's for dinner.2

For every ten visits shoppers make to the prepared foods area, six are planned and four are impulse. Are you prepared to meet them with inspirational meal ideas wherever they are during pre-shop as well as in store? 3

Whether shoppers visit purposefully or by impulse, without a plan, they will likely grab an assortment of prepared foods products that may result in an uninspired meal. But Tyson Foods studies1,2,3 have demonstrated when we show shoppers how to use prepared foods – with other SKUs from around the store – they can create a meal they are proud to serve. Plus, they may enjoy a few other benefits, like spending less time alone in the kitchen and enjoying more family time together. They may even discover how to repurpose leftovers that can help stretch the family budget.

It all comes down to education, inspiration and execution. While it may not be possible to pair your shoppers with a personal chef, you can use social media messages to share meal planning and recipe ideas. Then, reinforce those messages with in-store signage, items that are fresh and in stock, and staff members who are prepared to help during peak shopping hours. The key to delivering inspirational ideas is to "think meal, not product; think satisfaction, not price."

We've been looking at prepared foods through the lens of the shopper over the past several months in our Exclusive :60 series. This month, we focus on the "ah ha" moment when the families realize that there is more to prepared foods than putting dinner on the table. Not only did they learn to make meals their families love, they also discovered how prepared foods could help them create family memories.

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