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Abstract

Many food retailers perceive home meal replacements (HMR) or meal solutions as major opportunities for sales growth. These fully- or partially-prepared foods appear to solve growing consumer needs: lack of time, lack of skill, and lack of desire to prepare food. However, a recent financial review of the foodservice operations at 10 large supermarket chains found that the average store's prepared food operation was losing money. The study identified three important areas that supermarkets need to improve: product shrink, employee training, and promotion. These three areas are closely linked with the design and marketing of the HMR concept. To increase the profitability of their HMR programs, supermarkets and restaurants need to address the seven key "Ps" of HMR marketing: positioning, product, package, place, price, promotion, and people. This paper reviews these seven marketing issues and summarizes the lessons learned by early HMR providers.

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