The company’s managing director, Ben McKechnie, told Better Retailing: “It’s at the budget end that there’s this big drop in sales. Customers will still buy brands that fit the lifestyles that they’re really engaged with. It’s about value, not cost.”
He added that Epicurium saw 30% increase in sales on pre-Covid levels during its last financial year, fuelled by demand for healthy snacks. Its team has also expanded, meaning an improved focus on customer service for independent retailers.
“What we can offer is advice and experience,” McKechnie added. “We’ve always dealt with the main symbol groups on a direct to retailer basis. They want to allow access to our kind of range.”
Recent legislation such as high fat, salt and sugar, and Natasha’s Law, which prohibit the placement of confectionery in convenience stores and create higher allergen labelling responsibilities, reflect a growing consumer consciousness of healthy options in snacking and drinks.
McKechnie said: “There is an element where we’re protected from the worst of these changes by the nature of the product, we’ve got a leg up there.
“A lot of our brands are already free-from, gluten-free, low salt, and low fat.”