Micro markets provide powerful grab-and-go solutions
This article was originally featured in Foodservice Director on June 3, 2022.
Micro markets have proven to be valuable solutions for many foodservice facilities, allowing operators to provide convenience for consumers with minimal labor costs.
These unattended stores, which feature open shelving and self-checkout kiosks, have been among the best-performing convenience services that onsite foodservice operators provide, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA)’s 2020 Industry Census report.
While all areas of onsite foodservice suffered during the height of the pandemic, micro markets are expected to bounce back—and are expected to grow at a faster pace than other convenience service segments (including vending, office coffee service and pantry service) through 2025, said Eric Dell, executive vice president of NAMA.
Micro markets had already been gaining traction before the pandemic, he said, noting that the number of micro markets grew 39% from 2018 to 2020, reaching 43,500. While the number of vending machines declined 21% in that time frame, vending also remains an important tool for operators, with more than 4.1 million units still in operation as of 2021.
Ongoing technological advances in both micro markets and vending have the potential to drive the utility of these segments going forward, the report found.
Self-service solutions such as micro markets and automated checkout kiosks are gaining interest throughout the retail and foodservice industries as operators seek to minimize their labor needs. The highly competitive market for workers, compounded by inflationary pressures in other areas of the business, including food costs, is forcing foodservice operators to seek the kinds of operating efficiencies that automated micro markets can provide.
Merchandising strategies are key to the success of micro markets. It’s important for operators to stock their self-service shelves with products that their customers will need and demand. In addition, operators should look for grab-and-go, portable products that carry strong brand recognition.
Campbell’s Foodservice offers a variety of snack, soup and beverage products within its Convenience Portfolio that meet these criteria. Included are brands such as Snyder’s of Hanover®, Lance®, Goldfish® and V8®, each of which have proven themselves in the vending market and easily translate into micro market merchandising.
In fact, Snyder’s of Hanover is the top pretzel brand sourced from vending machines, according to data from The NPD Group/SnackTrack. Meanwhile, the Snack Factory® line includes pretzel crisps that are a popular alternative.
Other grab-and-go snacks include items from Lance, maker of America’s No. 1 sandwich cracker, and chips under the Kettle Brand®, Cape Cod® and Late July® brands to appeal to a wide variety of consumer tastes. Pepperidge Farm® brands include the iconic Milano® cookies and Goldfish® crackers.
A range of other products are available for the micro market segment to meet the demands of today’s consumers, including Campbell’s® Sipping Soups and Microwaveable Bowls, and V8®fruit and vegetable juices and sparkling energy drinks.
All of the products in the Campbell’s Foodservice Convenience Portfolio are available in snack-sized portions that are perfect for either vending or micro market applications.