US supermarket targets time-poor cooks

Posted by Isobel Drake on 15th July 2008

Always on the lookout for innovative ways to build sales and shore up waning customer loyalty, Australian supermarkets and independent grocers will watch this US initiative with interest.

Stop & Shop Supermarkets is testing a new program that appears to bridge the gap between pre-made and homemade meals. With vital ingredients assorted in special refrigerated sections, ‘Choose & Cook’ claims to provide consumers with the capacity to make homemade meals within twenty minutes.

Stop & Shop recently introduced the component-based family meals concept to 28 locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Under Choose & Cook, shoppers can choose from a selection of entrees, sauces, side dishes and fresh vegetables – all located in a single Choose & Cook refrigerated case in the select stores.

The store has outlined four quick steps for the consumer to follow:
1.    Select the primary product (meat, poultry or seafood)
2.    Choose a sauce
3.    Add a side dish (e.g. rice or pasta)
4.    Complete your meal (fresh vegetables)

The consumer can simply choose to purchase matching ingredients, the items are colour coded based on six recommended combinations like ‘Shrimp Pad Thai’ or ‘Sirloin Beef Teriyaki’, or ignore the recommendations and mix ingredients to create their own unique meal.

In order to draw attention to the program Stop & Shop will be holding in-store cooking demonstrations in the coming months.