Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Technomic released results of a survey detailing the sophistication of supermarket fresh prepared foods among 28 banners, representing 8,000 stores, and substantiated the $15 billion growth of supermarket foodservice over the last eight years. The study suggests that most stores (64%) witnessed 2014 prepared foods category growth of 9% or higher.

FMI Vice President, Fresh Foods, Rick Stein, observed, "It's clear that food retailers are differentiating their businesses by leveraging fresh food selections to meet shopper demands for convenience, all while counterbalancing declining center store sales. The trends in consumers eating away from home are being fought among restaurants, supermarkets and even convenience stores. This work aims to offer insights that will help understand the issues as retailers try to gain share of the consumer's stomach."

Stein continued, "Our work with Technomic on The Sophistication of Supermarket Fresh Prepared Foods supports how food retailers are actively evolving. The data delineate investments food retailers are making in their stores and what they're gaining in terms of operational efficiencies. For instance, survey respondents said they are breaking out deli sales and prepared food sales as separate profit and loss line-items in their respective income portfolios."

Technomic's Principal Wade Hanson explained, "Sixty-two percent of supermarkets participating in this research now offer customers made-to-order stations along the store perimeter, but select supermarkets have incorporated limited service or full-service restaurants into their physical footprint. Importantly, and as FMI has defined in its consumer research, supermarkets are catering to the changing preferences of shoppers and their demands for customization."