Matches Trends for At-Home Meal Prep
MEDFORD, N.J. – ShopRite of Medford is wrapping up a 6 ½-month major remodel that focused on matching the store’s features to modern customer needs. Aside from updating equipment, the project reconfigured floor space and doubled size of the kitchen to recognize that many people shop for ready-made foods in addition to pantry staples.
Survey data from Nielsen captures the trend with two contradictory statistics. In 2018 the data analytics company found that dinner meals are not planned in advance in 3 to 4 households, but also that dinner is prepared at home in 7 to 10 households. In other words, meals are often tossed together. That’s the driver behind the demand for grocery stores to stock meal components – both raw and cooked – so busy customers can still enjoy the process and the personalization of cooking at home.
From eight months in the planning stages to another six months of on-site work, ShopRite of Medford’s remodel affected the floor, the ceiling, and nearly every aisle and shelf in between. Management describes it as an intense effort to make ShopRite of Medford very “customer-centric.”
“Some of the aspects of our remodeling project were no-brainers, like installing energy-efficient refrigerated cases and boosting the lighting throughout the store,” said Store Manager Carney Siciliano. “Other pieces required much more thought as we acknowledged how food shopping has changed and how to meet our customers’ expectations.”
Expanded ‘Grab and Go’ Cases: Several areas of the Deli and Prepared Food sections were overhauled to dedicate more floor space to match the way customers shop. Four new rotisserie ovens are more efficient and expand the store’s capacity to roast whole chickens and other meats to keep up with market demand. Team members will assemble custom sandwiches on the spot. In addition to complete cooked meals, additional cases hold meal components so customers can select a main and sides that will please various palates.
Meals of the Week: Like a mail-order kit but with customization options, each week ShopRite of Medford showcases two meals consisting of protein + grain + produce. Not only are all the key ingredients available in one place for easy shopping, so are the recipe cards and prep tools such as foil. Customers can select a recipe (or both), swap chicken for fish based on their preferences, and walk into their homes with the prep work done.
Catering Office: What used to be just a table and chairs tucked next to the deli case is now a bona fide Catering Office connected to the kitchen. The space is quieter and more welcoming, and a result of the strong market growth of customers who seek a little help with their workload.
“Our Catering Department doesn’t just handle large-scale events like bridal showers and office parties,” Siciliano said. “Catering has evolved to play a role in smaller-scale celebrations; a labor-intensive portion of holiday meal-making; when guests are coming for dinner; or when a guest is expected to contribute to the meal. Our remodeling project really took that trend into account.”
ShopRite of Medford, 208 East Route 70, plans activities throughout March to celebrate the completion of the store’s remodel and as a show of appreciation for their patient and loyal customers. Events will begin with a Grand Re-Opening Celebration on March 1 and continue through March 28 with giveaways, special visitors, a health fair, and several contests.
ShopRite of Medford, 208 East Route 70, is part of the Wakefern Food Corp. cooperative founded in 1946 and based in Keasbey, New Jersey. ShopRite of Medford is the flagship store of the Zallie-Somerset group of stores owned by David and Renee Zallie, which also includes ShopRite of Lawnside and ShopRite of Gibbstown.