Four ways to make more from chilled and fresh food.

Retailers across the country are making more from the higher margins offered by fresh and chilled. Lee Graham explains four things you need to do to get started

Retailers across the country are making more from the higher margins offered by fresh and chilled. Lee Graham explains four things you need to do to get started.

1) Tap into top-up shopping

fresh, chilled and dairy are vital for making the most of top-up shoppers, so this is the type of mission you need to aim for when moving into the category. 

You need to stock the formats that your shoppers are looking for and identify what packs appeal to the kinds of customers that visit you. 

“With 59% of convenience shoppers walking to the store, small packs will help you to meet the top-up mission,” says Susan Nash, Mondelez International trade communications manager.

Amy Fisher, shopper marketing controller for Dairy Crest, says: “Top-up is the primary mission of older generations. And within the dairy sector, 81% of non-multiples’ convenience sales are undertaken by shoppers older than 45 years old.”

Convenient cheese formats, such as sliced, grated and spreads, are fuelling category growth. Dairy-free spreads and British brands are also top choices as shoppers seek out more sustainable products. 

“Butters and spreads are consumed by more than 98% of consumers and commonly included in top-up shops, so make sure you stock the best sellers,” Fisher explains.

Do it: Stock products in smaller formats to appeal to shoppers who walk to your store.

2) Create an appealing display

keeping a tidy and attractive display is an important part of every category, but it is especially important in fresh and chilled.

“Making the chilled fixture easy to shop is the answer to unlocking the total potential in your store,” says Mondelez’ Susan Nash. 

You should use PoS to increase visibility and inspire purchases and avoid stacking products — making sure you can see the front of them.

Nash also advises to avoid duplication and instead offer different varieties. “Breadth not depth of range is key. For example, there’s little sense in stocking eight lines of cheddar when you can offer a range of cheese segments such as continental, grated, sliced and snacking cheese,” she explains.

Offering free in-store samples of fresh, chilled and dairy lines is an excellent way to create customer engagement, particularly if you are stocking local and premium lines.

Richard Newton-Jones, Snowdonia Cheese Company commercial director, says: “In-store sampling is the most effective tool that retailers have at their disposal, especially if supported by PoS.”

Do it: Make sure all your products are front-facing rather than stacked on shelves to increase visibility.

3) Drive dairy drinks

Flavoured milk continues to grow in independent shops, up by 9.1%. The most popular flavours in convenience stores are chocolate, strawberry, banana and vanilla, which make up 89% of sales.

“Yazoo has been one of the drivers of this growth and is outperforming the market, growing by 15.3%,” says Yazoo marketing manager Richard Duplock. 

“Price-marked packs are important to give shoppers confidence in value. Yazoo’s bestselling 400ml and 1l packs are available in PMPs.”

Michelle Frost, general manager for Mars Chocolate Drinks and Treats, agrees. “PMPs remain strong. To capitalise on this, we have introduced two new PMPs: Snickers and M&M’s Peanut 350ml bottles, price-marked at £1.29,” she says.

“Your core range should include different flavours, with 30% of the space dedicated to chocolate-flavoured milks,” adds Frost. You should also include no-added-sugar formats to widen consumers’ choice.

Do it: Stock the four most popular dairy drinks flavours, chocolate, strawberry, banana and vanilla.

4) Focus on food-to-go

shoppers are increasingly eating and drinking on the go, so convenient formats should always be on your shelves.  

“Food to go will continue to grow, and developing your meal deal fixture can lead to great success by triggering impulse purchases, increasing spend and driving growth,” says Yazoo’s Richard Duplock.

It’s important to offer your shoppers choice in food to go, with lines that cater to different tastes. Make sure you are offering favourite sandwich flavours, including vegetarian and vegan options, as well as wraps, salads and snacks. 

“A recent backlash against sugar and processed carbohydrates has seen on-the-go consumers turning their back on crisps and sweet snacks in search of more nutritious alternatives,” says Anca Lazar, brand manager for Cathedral City. 

Duplock adds: “Health continues to be an important factor. However, there is still a place for treats, and – especially within convenience and independent stores – shopper missions are often about satisfying a craving or indulging in a quick pick-me-up.”

Nurishment brand manager Catherine Pillinger says: “Functional dairy drinks, which act as a ‘gap-filler’, are ideal for consumers who lead busy lives so they represent a major profit opportunity for retailers.”

Do it: Make sure your food-to-go range appeals to different diets and tastes.


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