- Supervalu-owned Cub Foods is currently offering discounts of 25% off its new Quick & Easy meals in the Twin Cities market, according to the Star Tribune. The company did a soft launch of the meals last month and has now rolled them out across the chain.
- The discounted meals have hit shelves as Cub Foods fights to retain its market share against Target, Walmart and other retailers. Hy-Vee, which entered the Twin Cities market in 2015, has swiftly made inroads and offers its own lineup of prepared foods.
- Examples of Quick & Easy meals include chicken with spicy soy ginger and green beans, and salmon fillet with butter, lemon and broccoli. Both dishes come in steamable bags.
The Quick & Easy line is a key part of Supervalu’s strategy to serve up more fresh, convenient meals in its stores and to its wholesale customers. The strategy also includes meal kits and grab-and-go items, which have seen impressive growth across the industry as grocery stores battle restaurants and quick-service chains for share of stomach.
Headed by Anne Dament, the former Target grocery chief that Supervalu hired at the beginning of this year as senior vice president of retail, merchandising and marketing, the Quick & Easy meals initiative comes at a crucial time for Cub Foods. The chain, which once had as many as 140 stores across 12 states, now has around half that amount. They are all located in the Twin Cities market. According to the Star Tribune, citing data from Metro Market Studies, Cub’s market share has been cut in half over the past 20 years or so, and now sits around 23%.
The conventional grocer operates in a highly competitive region that includes Target, Walmart, Aldi and Trader Joe’s. The biggest threat of late, though, has been Des Moines-based Hy-Vee, which entered the market in 2015 and is on track to have eight Twin Cities stores by the end of this year. One of Hy-Vee’s most potent weapons is its strong perimeter game, including walls of cut fruit, prepared foods and other innovative fresh offerings.
The Quick & Easy meals now available at all Cub locations are more sophisticated than the prepared meals grocers have traditionally offered, and judging by the Star Tribune writer’s verdict, they’re quite tasty, too. The meals are an opportunity to grab more business from time-strapped workers and families, and could go a long way toward elevating Cub’s image.
Supervalu is working hard to keep Cub Foods competitive. In addition to building out its fresh meal offerings, the company has remodeled some stores, changed its store circular schedule to match those of its competitors, and gotten more aggressive with price promotions. But Supervalu is primarily focused on its wholesale business, which makes up nearly three quarters of company sales and is seen as the growth engine for the formerly retail-focused player.