Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Raley's Supermarkets Introducing New 'Raley's Tonight' Fresh Heat-and-Eat Gourmet Entrees

Private Brand Showcase: Fresh-Prepared Foods' Category

West Sacramento, California-based  Supermarkets is introducing a new brand - "Raley's Tonight" - and new line of ready-to-heat, packaged, fresh-prepared gourmet meal entrees in its Raley's, Nob Hill and Bel-Air banner food and grocery markets in Northern California and northern Nevada this week.

The "Raley's Tonight" ready-to-heat gourmet entrees, which Raley's is merchandising in its refrigerated meat departments rather than in its service delis, were most of the grocery chain's prepared foods items are sold, come in nine varieties: Beef Florentine Flank Steak; Chicken Cordon Bleu; Asparagus Cheddar Stuffed Chicken Breast; Stuffed Boneless Pork Chop; Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms; Beef Fajitas; Chicken Fajitas; Beef Kabobs; and Chicken Kabobs.

The fresh, refrigerated packaged entrees, which are designed as a dinner for two people, sell for about $10 each, and take about 35 minutes to prepare in the oven.

Raley's already offers numerous refrigerated ready-to-heat entrees and side dishes, pre-packaged and in bulk, that take only a few minutes (quick meals) to prepare using  microwave oven, including its "Raley's TO GO" brand, which the grocer introduced last fall, and which we reported on in this story - October 30, 2010: Raley's Launches New 'Raley's TO GO' Pre-Packaged, Refrigerated Fresh-Prepared Foods Line.

However, the new "Raley's Tonight" heat-and-eat entrees are designed to take a longer (the 30-35 minutes) to prepare because of the premium quality, along with the fact the retailer is attempting with the new brand and line to tap into a growing trend among many consumers, who want pre-made meals that require some simple effort on their part, such as popping the entree in the oven and waiting for the timer to go off 30 minutes later, along with preparing something simple to have with the main course.

To this end, is offering consumers "complete dinner suggestions" for each of the entrees. The suggestions, which shoppers can follow, preparing the side-dishes while waiting for the "Raley's Tonight" entree of their choice to heat in the oven, are available in the stores, on the shopping list section of Raley's website, and on the product packages.

For example, Raley's suggests preparing and serving steamed vegetables and a white and wild rice blend to go with the Beef Florentine Flank Steak; steamed vegetables and au gratin potatoes to complement the Chicken Cordon Blue entree; and rice pilaf or risotto and a green salad with the "Raley's Tonight" Stuffed Pork Chop.

Raley's has been pioneer in the ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh-prepared foods category since the late 1980's. Most recently the privately-held supermarket chain has been focusing on creating new brands and lines of ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat fresh, refrigerated foods under its Raley's and Nob Hill Trading Company private brands.

As an example, the grocer recently introduced a line of ready-to-eat gourmet panini sandwiches under its Nob Hill Trading Company brand, and a line of breakfast meal bowls under the Raley's brand.

The supermarket chain is also offering two ready-to-heat complete gourmet meals (designed to feed 8-10 people) for Easter -  Easter Lobster Ravioli Dinner and Eastern Bourbon Maple Glazed Ham Dinner - along with its Nob Hill Trading Company brand ready-to-heat premium Fire-Glazed Spiral Cut Ham, which is locally produced for Raley's by artisan meat guru Bill Andreetta, at his Sunnyvalley Smoked Meats in Manteca, California. Manteca is in the Northern Central Valley near Modesto, located about 80 miles from the grocer's corporate headquarters in West Sacramento.

Raley's operates 133 stores in Northern California and northern Nevada - 85 Raley's banner superstores (located throughout Northern California and northern Nevada), 22 Nob Hill Foods supermarkets (in the San Francisco Bay Area, the central coast and the northern Central Valley); 21 Bel Air Market supermarkets (in the Sacramento region); and five Food Source discount warehouse stores, in the Sacramento area and in the Bay Area city of Hayward.

According to company spokeswoman Ashley Zepernick, Raley's, which was founded in 1935 by Tom Raley, who died in 1991, and is owned by his daughter, Joyce Raley-Teel, currently has annual sales of $3.1 billion -  and about 13,400 employees.

Joyce Raley-Teel and her husband, James Teel, are co-chairs of Raley's board. Both are former Raley's senior-level executives, who retired from their respective day-to-day positions few years ago

Ms. Raley-Teel's son, Michael Teel, is the CEO of the family-owned grocery chain. Teel, who was the CEO of Raley's from 1996 -to- 2002  but left in 2002 to pursue entrepreneurial interests, returned last year as head of the chain to, in his words, "right the family ship."

Raley's has been struggling financially since 2009, and continues to struggle, although it's made some significant progress in the last year by cutting labor costs (layoffs at its corporate headquarters primarily) and streamlining its corporate structure; creating better operational efficiencies; improving its pricing profile and kicking-up its merchandising, marketing and promotional efforts.

"The growth of its private brand fresh-prepared foods program - including the introduction late last year of its  "Raley's TO GO" private brand entrees and side-dishes and the launching of the "Raley's Tonight" brand entrees this week - is one of the added merchandising efforts the 76-year old privately-held grocery chain has embarked on since Michael Teel returned as CEO in 2010.

In the spirit of our 'Private Brand Showcase,' we offer this marketing and merchandising tag line to Raley's, at no charge. The tag line: "Don't Cook Tonight. Try ... 'Raley's Tonight.'

Reader Resource

You can read the full-selection of stories in our 'Private Brand Showcase' feature by clicking on the link here: . Use the older posts/newer posts link at the bottom of the linked page for more page and stories.

No comments: