While they might not dominate assortment or function as primary sales drivers at most retailers, better-for-you (BFY) foods and beverages, including natural, organic, low-in and free-from products, do play an important strategic role for many retailers, according to results from the latest exclusive Retail Leader survey. Although nearly two-thirds (61.9 percent) of respondents said 25 percent or less of the food and beverage products they sell are BFY products, more than one-third (38.1 percent) collectively reported that 26 percent or more of the SKUs they retail are BFY products. Additionally, while nearly three-quarters (71.4 percent) of respondents reported 25 percent or less of their food and beverage sales coming from BFY foods and beverages, more than one-quarter (28.6 percent) collectively reported that 26 percent or more of their food and beverage sales come from BFY products.
As for statements that resonate most with respondents shoppers, "gluten-free," by far, received the most votes, with more than two-thirds (68.4 percent) choosing it. This corresponds with the booming gluten-free trend driven by both gluten-intolerant shoppers and those seeking simply to eat healthier. Cleaner labels were next, with 52.6 percent selecting "no artificial ingredients," followed by trans-fat-free (36.8 percent) and non-GMO (31.6 percent).
While consumers might tend to associate fresh foods with BFY attributes, survey respondents seem to indicate otherwise. When asked to select the departments that enjoy the strongest BFY food and beverage sales, respondents chose center store (42.1 percent), beverages (36.8 percent) and refrigerated, frozen and dairy (31.6 percent) more than fresh-focused departments such as deli (26.3 percent), produce (21.1 percent), prepared foods (15.8 percent), meat and seafood (10.5 percent) and bakery (5.3 percent).
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