Even the most organised parents will run out of nappies, wipes and babyfood from time to time - and this means c-stores will always be integral to the

infant care category. Stocking the right range of products is key to success in this channel, say suppliers.

"Childcare represents a high value and profit opportunity and should be considered where space permits," says David Green, category development analyst at Huggies producer Kimberly-Clark. "The category should be well-signposted and the convenience retailer should stock as broad a range as possible. Half of c-store shoppers feel the nappy range is too small and would prefer more brands and products."

Green points out that when shoppers can't find the product they're looking for, 40% will go to a different store. This has implications because, across all categories, baby product shoppers spend 36% more on average than other shoppers. "Specific pack formats for convenience allow retailers to compete on range even where space is limited," he adds.

Green believes that within brand, nappies should be segmented by size in stores. "This should encourage transition through the category and trading up to more premium products," he says.

Some would like to see more choice in babyfood, too. Bill Kimberley, commercial director at halal

babyfood producer Mumtaz, says c-stores should consider widening the choice of brands offered. "Smart retailers are catering specifically for Muslim customers," he says.

Ismail Pirbhai, marketing director at Mumtaz rival Petit Gems, says: "In a survey of Muslim mothers, we found that 80% would prefer a certified halal babyfood over other brands."

C-store operators unsure of how to stock their baby section should speak to their suppliers, says Nicola Savage, marketing manager for infant feeding at Heinz.

One great opportunity is the government's new Healthy Start scheme.

Under the initiative, which replaces the Welfare Food Scheme, low-income families are offered vouchers to exchange for milk, fresh fruit and vegetables - and infant formula.

Formula producer Cow & Gate was quick to take out national press ads to educate consumers about the scheme because formula is now available in grocery stores, whereas under the WFS it was obtained from health clinics.

Heinz's Savage says the scheme is an opportunity for all retailers, but adds: "Stores need to provide

the right information to their customers to take