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Epicurium tech helps shops find niche lines 

Epicurium is to launch a toolkit to help retailers find the right unique products for their stores on its website, which now takes online orders from every customer type.

The healthier-snacking wholesaler’s managing director, Ben McKechnie, told our sister title RN: “It’s easy to say, ‘let’s cut back on range to focus on price’, but that leaves you trying to compete on price with supermarkets and – even worse – discounters.

“You’re never going to win that battle, so you’ve got to connect with your local market by offering something different.”

The company said the new website tailors offers, prices and promotions to suit the needs of each customer.

This will be supported by a guidance-and-advice section for retailers, set to launch this summer.

McKechnie said the toolkit would include resources such as planograms and ranging advice, designed to help independent stores capitalise on the areas where supermarkets struggle.

Read more: Epicurium predicts premium snacking opportunity

He said convenience stores had an advantage over multiples when it came to the unpredictable market of trending products such as Prime and spicy pickles.

“Supermarkets find it hard to capitalise on those, but a convenience store is in a prime position to tap into these trends,” McKechnie said.

He added that non-core products from popular brands do well in convenience stores that can adapt their product range to better fit their local consumers.

Epicurium experienced success recently with products such as meal-replacement drink Huel, sales of which increased by 75% after it was put on promotion in May.

The new site may not be the only change in the near future for Epicurium.

When asked about importing, McKechnie said efforts had been scaled back after Brexit and Covid-19, but that it was “definitely something we’re looking to do”.

McKechnie also thinks HFSS represents an opportunity for smaller retailers to bring in less well-known products.

“It’s levelled those big brands,” he said. “By pushing them into the aisle instead of the gondola end, you’ve got the challenger brands with stronger packaging alongside the bigger ones, and they’re doing very well because of it.”

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