When it comes to the fresh foods offered in supermarket perimeter departments, convenience may be king, but the way consumers see it, fresh is queen.

More than one-fourth of supermarket shoppers say they value convenience in the fresh prepared foods they’re looking for. They also want more nutrition information and greater emphasis on healthy ingredients.

To compete for customer loyalty in today’s marketplace, more supermarkets are turning to the grab & go segment. A vital component in the race for loyalty and repeat business in grab & go is a well-displayed, accurate and detailed label. We know this from multiple surveys of supermarket customers.

Freshly prepared meals-to-go and fresh-and-ready snacks allow supermarkets to both please their customers and increase basket size. Data shows that basket sizes increase when there are fresh prepared foods included. Offering these while guarding profitability means a plan must be in place. Smart tools, such as automated labeling software, menu and ingredient management, and quick, easy, flexible label printing are all part of a solid plan.

Let the label tell your fresh story – and sell more product

While it’s true that consumers want fresh, local, clean and convenient food, providing this type of food is only part of a good perimeter profits plan. It must be made clear to shoppers what’s inside the package. Female and millennial customers, especially, want to see clear labeling with detailed nutrition facts, date, and a list of every single ingredient. With the multitude of food allergies, we’re facing today, this becomes a vital health issue – far beyond mere personal preference.

For supermarkets that offer clear labeling of ingredients with nutrition facts on their fresh prepared food, including grab & go options, strong indicators point to the potential for greater customer loyalty and perimeter department market share, the likes of which they’ve not seen.

Transparency is a hot topic throughout our culture and the supermarket landscape is no different. Shoppers nationwide say they want more transparency, especially when it comes to the ingredients of fresh prepared foods. They want calorie counts, sodium content, accurate product dating, and detailed ingredient information. They want fresh, and they want evidence. Indicators show that supermarkets that provide the clearest, most information-filled labels will win more business.

Got fresh foods you’re proud of? Tell them

Food service kitchens, juice bars, bakeries, delis and in-store automation systems are all becoming part of the supermarket perimeter.

Labels play an important sales role. How quickly can customers see what you’re offering? Remember, if convenience is king, fresh is queen. Quickly identified contents, ingredients and nutrition facts clearly listed on the label help provide that convenience by delivering the information shoppers want. Easy in, easy decision, easy out with fresh foods they can be proud to eat and serve their families.

Automated fresh food labeling makes it easy

We’ve already established that having the right label on your fresh prepared perimeter food products is essential. The next question for supermarket operators is, how to provide this kind of accurate, detailed labeling across multiple locations—without adding unnecessary overhead, like labor and equipment repairs.

One supermarket supplier that is making great strides in the area of fresh food labeling automation is DayMark Safety Systems. The company’s popular MenuPilot® kitchen automation platform is turning heads among supermarket operators everywhere. Many food service operations, including several within multi-location supermarket operations, are using systems like this to manage recipes, train staff and produce labels while reducing costs and presenting more appealing product that is clearly labeled, the way consumers want it.

“We find that customers especially value the ability to securely and efficiently pull in updates via the cloud at the store level,” says Jill Carte, Director of Product Development at DayMark. “This includes real-time changes that can be communicated to staff at all locations via a sync operation in the app.”

DayMark’s leading edge platform utilizes a comprehensive database of ingredients, making it easy to build and manage recipes and menu data. A dashboard at the corporate level seamlessly integrates with an app in supermarket kitchens, providing expanded menu management capabilities.

A tough printer with many label options

Of course, the best labeling automation system is useless without a solid, reliable printer. Traditionally, label printers have been cumbersome, expensive and difficult to maintain. We have seen that newer models are breaking this mold.

DayMark’s Matt85™ label printer, available as part of the MenuPilot platform, allows users to print labels wirelessly using the app on an Android tablet via a Bluetooth connection. For this robust, compact printer, DayMark Safety Systems offers dissolvable labels, unique die-cut shapes, wet compatibility and removable versions in widths up to four inches.  

“It’s a premium, affordable direct thermal printer and it needs no repairs, so it pays for itself quickly while providing anytime, anywhere printing.” Carte says.

Supermarkets look to kitchen automation for help in gaining customer loyalty

Smart supermarket operators are taking advantage of advanced automation to reduce costs while improving product identification, safety, rotation, and basket size. An automated system like the MenuPilot platform can provide an easily set-up, affordable competitive edge that allows supermarket perimeter departments to go head-to-head with others in the fresh food, grab & go and fresh snacks categories.

For supermarkets looking for fast, accurate labeling capabilities that can tie to other in-store technologies and meet shopper demands for fresh, clean, convenient foods, companies like DayMark may just have the kinds of solutions they’re looking for.