Are you stocking the right healthy options for the modern shopper? Three retailers reveal what works for them

The betterRetailing team finds out whether customers are looking for healthier options and how retailers are responding to demand

Healthy Food

1Shisan Patel, JASP (DPS), Birmingham

Sugar-free drinks sales have increased, but that’s more because of the price difference now. You can get six cans of Coca-Cola for £3.99, but you can get a 12-pack of Diet Coke for £4.50. It’s just the impact of the sugar tax and that difference in price is really starting to show.

“People were more than happy to swallow some of the cost before, but now that everything is going up in price, they’ve seen normal Coca-Cola go up more than Diet Coke. It’s the same with Pepsi and Pepsi Max.

“We’ve also noticed products like protein bars, protein cereals and yoghurts are all selling well at the moment as more customers are focusing on their protein intake, whether before or after workouts or just generally.

“We have a gym close to our store, so people are buying water, Grenade protein bars and ready-made protein shakes a lot.”

2Muhammad Rashid, Attock Superstore, Oldham, Greater Manchester

“We haven’t seen much of a decline in sales of chocolate, crisps and other unhealthy things. But we have added healthier lines to our ready-to-eat sandwich range and I have seen growth in demand for that. It’s definitely a trend. We’ve tried bringing in other healthier options and we’re stocking them side by side with the normal, ‘unhealthy’ products. We’re doing it with things such as pizzas and frozen ready meals, but there’s not really a massive demand for them yet.

“Some customers do want them, though. There’s a local family who wants healthier meals for their kids and they asked for a few specific lines. And if they ask for something we’ll bring it in and we’ll try it.

“We also have seen much more demand for sugar-free drinks since the sugar tax came in and we do stock more of them as a result.”

3Danny Wilson, 13 One Stop stores, Yorkshire

“Over the past year there has been more growth in demand for protein shakes and things like that. It can be fragile and difficult to predict. Being based in Scarborough, we’re not going to be shifting them at the same rate as a store in London would. But even in the countryside, you’ve got a lot more people who are very healthy now.

“It takes a while to sell them through. We promote them the same way as other products and we follow One Stop’s advice. There are lots of healthier options in our meal deals now and the protein bars are on offer sometimes. We don’t sell as many crisps as we used to in our meal deal. We sell more fruit mixes instead, so people are moving onto healthier options.

“You’ve got to balance it with the price. When they’re in a meal deal, they’re perceived as good value and can seem very good to customers and will sell well.”

Read more advice for independent convenience retailers


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