Merchandising Features / Trend Features

Meijer Mines Fresh

February 22, 2012
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Meijer Inc. is emphasizing its large arrays of fresh offerings.
Selections include store-baked breads and butcher-cut meats.
Private-label products are prominent in perishables departments.




A Meijer Thumbnail


  • Meijer Inc.


  • 1934


  • Grand Rapids, Mich.


  • Private


  • About 200


  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky


Fresh is a becoming an increasingly important focus of food merchandisers.

Looking to leverage shoppers’ growing interest in health and wellness and flavorful offerings, more perishables operators are bolstering their assortments of items that are good-for-you, prepared in-store and made daily.

And while traditional supermarkets are the most prominent purveyors of the fresh movement, they are not alone.

Fresh also is becoming more common among supercenter operators, with Meijer Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based chain of about 200 outlets in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, a leading advocate.

Meijer locations, for instance, carry more than 600 types of fruits and vegetables, including 20 varieties of apples and 15 kinds of mushrooms, the company reports.

It also notes that fresh seafood is delivered to stores seven days a week.

This emphasis on fresh is a prudent merchandising strategy, says Gene Hoffman, president of Corporate Strategies International, a Wayzata, Minn.-based retail consulting firm and former president of The Kroger Co.

“It is important today to focus on ‘fresh’ and ‘contemporary’ products that have been freshly prepared by nature, such as fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood, as well as foods that are freshly prepared by the retailer or manufacturer and sold in fresh bakeries and delis,” he states.

Indeed, the bakery is an important part of Meijer’s fresh foray.

The company notes that fresh Italian bread is baked four times a day starting at noon, and that consumers “never will find stale bread” on the shelves.

A bakery associate at a Meijer outlet in Niles, Ill., outside Chicago, states that such items as cookies and doughnuts also are baked fresh each morning.
And selections are ample. There are 26 types of doughnuts at the full-service deli counter; doughnuts sell for 59 cents each or $5.99 for a dozen.

Varieties include Apple Fritters, Boston Cream, Apple Crisp Cake, Glazed, Chocolate Iced Ring, Ice Cake and Powered Sugar.

In addition, stores offer 6- or 10-inch fresh baked pies, and custom-decorated cakes with either butter cream or whipped icing.

Many selections also are prominent at the full-service deli case, including about 84 SKUs of bulk meats and 32 SKUs of bulk cheese.

Meat brands include Meijer, Dietz & Watson, Healthy Ones, Sara Lee, Vienna Beef, Jennie-O, Sahlen’s, Krakus, Armour and Eckrich Deli.

Among the cheese brands are Meijer, Munchee, Wilmot Farms, BelGioioso, Hoffman’s, Maple Leaf, Land O’Lakes, Jarlsberg, Swiss Valley, Lorraine, Heini’s, County Line, Alpine Lace, and American Farm House.

Less extensive is Meijer’s prepared food selections.

The Niles full-service deli case, for instance, features just 17 items, including Corn Salad, Whole Wheat Pasta Salad, Potato Salad, Gourmet Chicken Salad, Lite Italian Vegetable Salad, Salad Dip and Cole Slaw.

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Recent Articles by Rich Mitchell - Perishables Buyer

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