Will a Food Truck Campaign Put Fresh & Easy’s Sales in Gear?
Fresh & Easy, the struggling mini-grocery chain owned by Tesco, has launched a series of street fairs this summer to showcase its freshly prepared meals. Its first-ever food truck will be on hand at each event to serve free food outside some of its 199 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada.
The menu includes Southwest Chicken Tacos, Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps and Mango Carnitas Stuffed Peppers. Recipes will be handed out and picnic tables will be available. Visitors will also enjoy local musical acts and other attractions such as:
- A "Take It Easy" tent with massage therapists offering free chair massages;
- A "Meals Made Easy" tent where neighbors can talk to a nutritionist about meal ideas and healthy eating tips;
- "Shopping Made Easy" with a Fresh & Easy team member on hand to help customers find all the products needed to recreate the tasty food truck menu options at home.
The Fresh & Easy Street Fair will stop at about four stores a week and will be visiting other local events as it tours around. Events kicked off last week in Los Angeles and will end in the Bay Area in early September.
"We wanted to do something fun and exciting and thought that a street fair would be a great way to keep delivering the Fresh & Easy brand message," Fresh & Easy’s spokesperson Brendan Wonnacott told the Orange County Register.
In April, Tesco announced that it was exiting its U.S. venture to focus on reviving business in its core markets. The U.K. retailer indicated at the time it was in talks with several buyers, "including groups looking to purchase Fresh & Easy as an operating business."
Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, Applebee’s and Sizzler are among chain restaurants that have used food trucks as a branding tool, a sampling platform, and/or to test new locations, according to brandchannel. Some charge for the food and others hand out free samples.
This summer, White Castle brought out two Crave Mobile trucks in Louisville and Columbus that can be rented for weddings or used for marketing. Sampling trucks this year have also supported Stouffer’s Mac ‘N’ Cheese as well as Friendship Dairies’ single-serve cottage cheese, Fit To Go.
In the grocery channel, only Whole Foods appears to be also using food trucks, including one touring Cambridge, MA this summer, charging about $7 a meal.
- Fresh & Easy is Hitting the Road with Summer Street Fair – Fresh & Easy
- Fresh & Easy Truck – Twitter
- StouffersHitsTheRoad – Nestle USA
- White Castle Slides Into Food-Truck Trend – Bloomberg Businessweek
- White Castle Joins CPG, QSR Brands on Food Truck Bandwagon – brandchannel
What do you think of food trucks as a brand awareness and sampling tool for grocers? Should supermarkets be much more involved in sampling in and outside of stores with the growing popularity of prepared meals?