By Stephanie Steiner, Director of Sales and Marketing, Market Centre
In my previous blog, I covered some of the background reasons shaping our consumers’ shift toward healthier eating habits and a few categories where retailers can begin to make an impact meaningful itemization and merchandising changes.
Categories to Address the Healthier Consumer:
Previously, I covered snacks, beverages, and convenience foods. Here are some other highly visible and high impact areas to consider:
Produce: Consider adding organic choices: leafy greens, packaged herbs, berries, and salad mixes are excellent high-demand options. Bananas are also typically viable if your supply is steady. All of these are options with high household penetration and usually a low conventional price to organic price ratio: the cost of upgrading does not create insurmountable sticker shock.
Yogurt: This is a category where the choices are vast and the prices have come within very close range of conventional. Flavors are excellent and fun: retailers have many options to choose from. Create an assortment that includes: Greek (style), Icelandic (style) (there are other nationalities, but thicker styles are in-demand presently), organic, hormone-free, milk from grass-fed cows, goat milk, non-animal milk (almond, coconut, soy, rice milk), and yogurts with cereal add-ins. Do not shy away from fat: low and full fat protein is on target as people look to high-quality fats for longer-lasting fullness.
Wellness: Consider adding natural products as an addition to your conventional HBC department. If you’re just starting out: add one or two brands to cover natural dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, and herbs), natural toothpaste, natural topical analgesics and muscle creams, and high-quality brands of natural or organic protein powders including some which are plant-based.
Categories Expected to Continue to Decline:
Sodas: sweetened with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) or artificial sweeteners (diet sodas) they’re all on the decline. Big brands have begun to use some natural sweeteners and some blends, but the flavor doesn’t meet the profile that people have come to expect: it’s just not enough to turn around the declines.
Mixes of all kinds: anything that is the highly refined, just add water kind of thing. Baking mixes, side dish mixes, gravy mixes: people want real food that has some nutrition in it. Most understand that the more a product is processed, the less likely it is to provide any nutritive value to the human body.
Ultra-Cheap Candy: the junky kind has fallen and it won’t get up. There will always be six years old who love blue faces and fingers, and want all the sugar coming to them: but they don’t have the income to make the buying choices for the family. Their parents are in charge, and their parents are better educated about food and nutrition than generations past. While candy sales overall are up, these dollar sales were driven by quality chocolate items, not the bottom-dwellers.
Follow up: In the previous blog, I gave the homework assignment of eating two meals per day in the in-store service deli departments to store owners and management. I gave no other instructions other than two meals per day for five days – some did it longer. The results of the feedback you provided from those experiments were fantastic, but predictable. Thank you to those who shared your findings: your efforts help everyone. Here is a brief collection from retailers inside and outside of our service area:
- In-store deli-bakery selections need to get fresher.
- In-store deli-bakery selections need to get healthier.
- In-store deli-bakery selections need to get more interesting every day, and need to rotate often.
- Beverages tied in with in-store deli-bakeries are tired and not relevant (soda fountains or soda-only cases); if the store carries more interesting beverages, they are too far away.
- In-store coffee service available at the service deli-bakery is much less expensive, but also much lower quality than what can be purchased at Starbucks or another local option: people would rather pay a higher price for better quality.
- Best quote of the collection: “There was little I wanted the first day. By the third day, I didn’t want to look at any of it. Imagine what my customers think?”