What independent retailers are stocking to help shoppers make healthier choices

How independent retailers are helping shoppers make long-term healthier choices - Lady shopping in convenience store

The start of the year is typically seen by shoppers as an opportunity to make lifestyle changes and live healthier. An estimated 28 million consumers choose to lose weight or make healthier choices.

Healthier products are a huge opportunity for convenience stores. With higher margins available across fresh produce and premium prices on high-end snacks, retailers that can help their shoppers cement healthier habits for the longer-term can grow their sales and profits throughout 2024.

Here we find out what ranges retailers are introducing to maintain long-term demand for healthier products.

Why health is a core focus for retail customers

What independent retailers are stocking to help shoppers make healthier choices - Fulfil Gym

In January, customers choose to eat more fruit and veg, count calories and increase protein levels, providing an opportunity for retailers to invest and drive sales throughout the year.

For Gaurave Sood, owner of Neelam Convenience Store and Post Office in Uxbridge, London, this means an increase in nuts, protein bars and protein shakes.

“We have quite a strong range of healthier products throughout the year, but we see a noticeable jump in these products in January,” he says.

Within health, there’s a wide range of products available, which can prove challenging to build the right range. Protein has become a key health ingredient that shoppers are focusing on, as it helps keep them fuller for longer.

If you’re yet to stock protein products, Epicurium can help. Its range includes Huel, Bounce, Fuel, Fulfil and Grenade. Each product contains 10-20g of protein. 

Danny Wilson, owner of multiple One Stop stores in and around Yorkshire, has noticed the shift towards protein in his area and has worked with Epicurium, as well as with suppliers directly.

“One Stop has a small range of two brands, so for the majority, we source elsewhere, including Epicurium,” he says. “Huel shakes and other protein products are strong enough to warrant them being a permanent line all year round.”

Meanwhile, James Stead, of Whites Calver in Hope Valley, Peak District, is focusing on expanding his fruit and veg range long term. “We’ve placed healthier lines, including fruit and veg, on end bays to make them more prominent to our shoppers,” he explains. “This helps protect our margins and communicate that shoppers can rely on us for these lines.”

Any healthier product display must stand out to keep it top of mind and increase the association shoppers have with your store. Wilson says sales are driven by effective PoS and in-store theatre. He works with suppliers directly to create this but says there’s an opportunity for wholesalers to help create PoS materials too.

Retailers should also utilise social media to find out what shoppers are looking for and market their healthier ranges. Highlight key information from nutritional benefits to pricing, so shoppers can budget accordingly.

How to provide value to your customers

What independent retailers are stocking to help shoppers make healthier choices - Loyalty App

2024 is set to be a challenging year financially for many. Communicating value will only help boost profits.

Andrew Newton, from Nisa Halesowen in Dudley, works with Jisp to offer strong promotions and multibuys. “It’s a real profit driver for us,” he explains. “It helps get customers through the door.”

Jisp is an app specific to convenience stores and offers one-off vouchers for customers to redeem in store. A QR code is generated via the app, which shoppers show at the till to discount their final bill.

Delivery and loyalty apps are a must-consider for any retailer in 2024. Loyalty apps work similarly to Tesco’s Clubcard or Sainsbury’s Nectar card by enabling customers to collect points to save money on a future shop. Similarly, retailers could offer cheaper prices exclusive to their loyalty app.

Why it is important to make space in your store

It’s important to regularly declutter your store and remove products that aren’t selling. Sood does this and recommends increasing the facings of top sellers and space for new lines.

He says: “In January we delist lines that typically decline. We then double or triple-face our remaining products.

“If you leave slow-selling products, you have more dead space, and it can deter customers.”

Stead has a similar strategy. “We limit our range to products that offer the highest margins, as sales can decline in the first few weeks of January,” he says.

Use sales data to determine your biggest sellers and see if any can be delisted, either permanently or temporarily. And speak with other retailers and wholesalers to find out any new products that should be trialled.

Retailer Top Tips to Drive Sales of Healthier products

  1. Control your waste and don’t overstock slow-selling products
  2. Communicate value by running promotions and marketing on social media
  3. Monitor your margin on stock, reducing prices isn’t always the best option
  4. Use specialist wholesalers, like Epicurium, to meet growing health trends

Want to create your own range of healthier products?

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