Seven tips for bringing convenience to your restaurant with home meal replacement

By Katie Jessop, Heart and Stroke Foundation registered dietitian
December 5, 2013
Bringing convenience to your restaurant with home meal replacement

It is no surprise that consumers like convenience. So much so that many try to eliminate as many stops along their daily routine as possible by combining grocery shopping and meal-planning into one trip. But this harried lifestyle can also give restaurants an opportunity to offer prepared meals and take back their customers.

Many grocery stores already recognized this trend and expanded their home meal replacement (HMR) offerings from the basics, such as potato wedges or rotisserie chicken, to more complex, varied and fulfilling dishes. Now a grocery shopper is not reduced to prematurely snacking on processed foods to ward off hunger. He or she can and does pick a full meal to consume either right at the grocery store or upon arrival at home.

Some might argue that this opens up the opportunity for more nutritious meals. After all, a shopper might pick a bowl of prepared salad over a bag of chips or cookies to satisfy immediate hunger.

Given the affordability, convenience and growing variety of the foods, it is not surprising that the trend has seen growth over the past year. According to a Technomic’s Canadian Retailer Meal Solutions Trend Report, 42 per cent of today’s consumers purchase retail meal solutions four or more times a month.

And while Canadians are happy with what they’re seeing in the grocery stores, there are still a few needs unmet. For instance, according to the report, there still seems to be a void in terms of healthy offerings and ethnic-inspired dishes.

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