Buying betterment... bringing in the sales

* 3 min read
Focus on health and it brings in the money. Not surprising was the January UK market growth in fresh produce (up 1.7%), with the Co-op the only non-discounter enjoying a market share gain year on year, with an increase to 5.9%.

With growth set to continue as they announced a further 100 new stores will open this year. The new Co-op stores will focus on fresh, healthy foods and food-to-go supplemented with award winning wines, meal deals and essentials in key city centre locations, transport hubs and university campuses. Look out for a further gain in market share as they address the convenient betterment demand.

There’s an interesting switch to healthier food at a category level too. January figures show some surprise increases year on year in some of the less likely healthier food categories. Nielsen report that Frozen has seen a 3.7% rise which could demonstrate a quest for convenience, value and an attempt at reducing consumer food waste. ‘Free From’ ranges have also seen an ongoing increase in sales of 17%, which demonstrates consumers are willing to experiment wider than their regular shopping list, into less mainstream categories. With Kantar reporting over two-thirds of customers buying an item labelled ‘free from’ in January.

Healthier eating out

With IGD research highlighting that 31% of consumers would eat out more often if healthier options were available, we are seeing more operators flex their offer as a response. With more of us opting to follow special diets and an increasing requirement for specific health requirements whether we are eating in or out of home. Food halls with individual food operators offering shared tables are on the increase – offering freshly made, personalised meals with no compromise necessary, and something for everyone.

Notable trends in The Waitrose and Partners Good Food Guide include restaurants focussing on reducing food waste, catering for vegans and vegetarians, and diners being able to pay for their meals before eating. There has been an influx of quirky pop-up restaurants with bespoke selections of plant-based dishes often with ingredients cultivated and foraged in the local area.

And on-the-go

So, a one-size fits all approach is increasingly retro. With the transient food-to-go market becoming increasingly sophisticated based on mission, time of day, day of the week and catchment. Consumer expectations are on the increase and health and wellness operators are leveraging this demand. With 1 in 3 shoppers age 18 to 24 following or considering a vegan diet new healthy ‘junk’ fast food operators are popping up in UK cities every day. From 100% plant-based power food to a new twist on millennial vegan pie and mash, flavour, choice and now convenience is no longer a compromise. In Ireland, traditional leaders in excellent food to go stores, the Baggot Mile SPAR is a great example of promoting healthier options Monday to Thursday then replacing them on a Friday with a ‘naughty corner’ of more indulgent meal solutions such a pizza. According to HIM insight 61% of shoppers are demanding healthier food to go options.

Even motorway service food-to-go is getting healthier with interesting partnerships. Shell have recently partnered with trusted, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to bring some lighter options to their Shell service hubs across the UK. With fruit and veg snack pots, salad bowls and sushi, alongside traditional favourites. According to Shell, 60% of the range communicates a green or amber traffic light rating to help customers choose healthier options.

jamie oliver with food zoomed in

So, whether you are eating in, eating out or on-the-go, healthier options shouldn’t be so difficult to find, buy and enjoy. So now there’s no excuse…