Table for Two by the Produce Section? “Grocerants” are doing well.

Restaurant prices have been soaring 7.1% YoY compared to a 3.6% rise at grocery stores, and consumers are shifting their dining habits towards more affordable, but still convenient options.

→ Enter “Grocerants” – ready-to-eat meals served by grocery stores like Loblaws, Kroger and CostCo are taking a bite out of the restaurant industry’s profits.

→ Deli 2.0: Kroger has expanded its prepared-meal section, bundling entrées with sides and drinks. Giant Eagle is tripling the number of its prepared meals on offer , and Walmart is innovating with in-store ghost kitchens. In Canada, Loblaw Companies Limited are expanding into the market.

→ Pushing the Cart: Prepared-food sales grew 12% last year to over $23B, led by lunch favourites like soup and chilli. Convenience is key!

→ Convenience vs. Experience: Fast food restaurants like Taco Bell, KFC, and Chipotle are upping their game with unique offerings and improved interiors. But can they beat the convenience of a premade meal placed right by pantry staples?

THE TAKEAWAY: Fast food thrived on speed and predictability, but grocers are now encroaching on that turf. And with the cost of food at an all-time high, price will continue to drive decisions.