JOINT MANAGING DIRECTOR, BRIDGETHORNE
A desire to eat more healthily, which is thought to be one of the reasons behind a significant boom in sales of avocados in the UK, is likely to lead to new product development that could be used to effect category growth. We have reached this conclusion after figures were published showing avocado sales reached a record £128 million in the 12 months to March 2016, up 39% on the previous year. Avocado has become so popular that it overtook sales of oranges in December.
Tesco has become the first to develop new avocado products with the recent launch of a new dairy-free avocado spread as a substitute for butter and margarine. Tesco says the product, based on ripe frozen avocados, contains less saturated fat, calories and salt when compared to butter.
Celebrity endorsement and a growing appreciation of the health benefits of avocados has helped propel sales. There is no evidence to suggest that this approach to healthy eating going to slow down any time soon but, interestingly, there is a sense that suppliers and retailers could exploit this trend through the development of new formats and products. But to take advantage of the trend suppliers must be able to demonstrate they understand and are able to meet both the shopper demand and the retailer’s expectations.
This means suppliers developing optimal ranging solutions in order to stay relevant and present.
Retailers are continually looking for leaner, stronger ranges that reflect and meet changing shopper demand and deliver choice but in the most business efficient manner. Many suppliers, though, still don’t realise that reviewing their ranges is one of their best chances to positively influence their working relationship with retailer so that both can benefit from delivering more accurately what the shopper is looking for.
But still not enough suppliers either understand the process or have the skills in-house on how to influence the account decision process, how to increase or optimise shelf space for their products or how to build and interpret the information that will give them a competitive edge in their retailer relationships.
Suppliers need to understand how their range functions as part of its category, whether their products, new or existing, are something for which a shopper would deliberately shop for or whether it is an impulse purchase. Then it is about analysing the range in the context of its category in terms of the shopper and consumer requirements and the competition.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019