Great profit margins are there for the taking. But retailers need to help shoppers make better choices by investing in fresh produce promotions and offering them plenty of products to choose from.

Rosemary Hignett
Head of nutrition, Food Standards Agency

We want to make it easier for consumers to make healthier choices, particularly by choosing foods that are lower in salt, fat, saturated fat and sugar.

Small retailers can support this by stocking a variety of healthier foods and prominently displaying reduced fat or salt versions of popular products alongside less healthy options, for example putting bags of dried fruits next to the till alongside sweets and chocolate.

Customers interested in healthy eating are likely to want to buy a wide range of fruit and vegetables including fresh, frozen, dried or tinned and starchy carbohydrate products such as wholegrain bread, pasta and rice. Small retailers could maximise the potential in this by regularly changing their selection of fresh and dried fruit and vegetables to meet changing seasonal demands.

Retailers looking for advice on healthy eating and nutrition can go to:

Chris Rose
Marketing director, Landmark Wholesale

Consumers are looking for healthy options, without compromising on taste, value or convenience. Therefore, retailers should work with their local wholesalers and suppliers to offer a range of healthy alternatives to the top-selling brands, for example across snacks, drinks and confectionery. This healthy range should be comparable in price to the 'standard' range.

Retailers also need to promote their healthy option. Last year Landmark Wholesale launched its 5-a-day initiative aimed at helping independent retailers promote their stores as places where consumers can conveniently pick up their fruit and veg.

The campaign used POS material to help flag up areas such as fresh, tinned, frozen and juices.

For those with the space, fresh fruit and vegetables can instantly reassure consumers that the store can meet their health needs. If carefully managed, fresh fruit and vegetable fixtures can offer great profit margins for retailers and increase sales across other areas.
Landmark's Lifestyle Direct drop shipment service works with retailers to manage their fresh stock and delivers at a frequency that suits the retailer to help manage wastage and stock issues.

Saleem Yousf

I don't think there is much available advice to assist with an issue such as this. However, you can help yourself simply by knowing your market.

Talking to your customers about what they do and don't want to buy is the best way of doing that and also makes for a more friendly store environment.

This industry is totally driven by consumer demand, so there is no sense in stocking a product if customers won't buy it - and in my case there is a very limited demand for healthy products.

Stocking healthy foods is difficult for smaller, independent retailers anyway, as they tend to be picked up by shoppers during their regular supermarket visit.

As a result, I only stock a very limited amount of snack products that people can grab when they're on the run and don't have the time to stop at a supermarket.

On-the-go products, such as fresh fruit, vegetables and low fat snack bars have proved to be quite a hit, but with my female customers rather than male, as have low-calorie soft drinks.