Thoughts on Shelf Space

By Stuart Gates
Published 4th May 2020

One of the most used clichés over recent years has been “too many products, not enough shelf space” when it comes to the speciality food arena.

I read with interest this week that some of the LEON outlets are going to be introducing healthy/natural retail products to sell alongside their food service offer which got me thinking that other shops will follow this as they will need to space out tables and redefine their business moving forward from this coronavirus lockdown.

Could gift or combination packs of your products work – these look great on tables. Consider if you could include complementary products from other producers.

The Seasoned Grocer

I suggest that artisan/local producers should check out these local key players and see what they do. Look through a few windows, check out website photos in order to start collecting ideas and solutions for their own stalls, shops, restaurants etc. For example, see how to use any furniture that they have already, look at what promotional material is being created by others. Could gift or combination packs of your products work? These look great on tables and, as I’ve previously mentioned in articles, consider if there are suitable products from friendly, complementary producers that you can combine in packs in order to have a different solution and then share the promotion duties. Now is the time to use your network of contacts to mutual benefit. It’s not surprising but I think tasting will be off the menu for a while though.

Whatever you do be sure to look at pricing from all angles, the consumer, the retailer/seller and the producer’s own margins. Consumers will be looking for a bargain and retailers looking for sales and producers looking to make a profit. Keep an eye on your margins, you need to make all your efforts pay!

Over the last few years mentoring artisan producers I have always suggested moving into the food service offering, but this unfortunate present personal-distancing situation has created another new opportunity. And, as I have said many times recently, Christmas is still coming, get ready now to avoid panic later on. So there are things artisan producers can do during this lockdown now to help get them ready for later.

Good luck and remember, we at The Seasoned Grocer would love to hear your food related stories and are here to help artisan food producers use this down time wisely.

Illustration: Ailbhe Phelan
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