Shelf-stable foods continue to be a money-making category for independent housewares retailers, respondents to the 2019 State Of The Industry Survey said. Many retailers noted that shelf-stable foods grew in sales during 2018 and 45.8% of retailers said they would be looking to create more room for shelf-stable products on their sales floor in the coming year.
According to respondents, olive oil and vinegar have grown the most during the last year, followed by spices and rubs. These products not only complement the hard line goods that independent housewares stores are known for, but they also provide a reason for consumers to return more frequently. Olive oil and vinegar refill programs have been growing during the last year, bringing consumers back to the store more often and giving retailers a chance to discuss new products. Coffee beans and loose teas also give customers a reason to return, as do proprietary spice blends and rubs.
Shelf-stable foods also provide gourmet housewares retailers with the ability to private label products. Private-labeling, said industry insiders, is key to bringing customers back into the store since they cannot shop the good online. If used in gift baskets, private-labeled shelf-stable food products have the potential to bring in new customers or bring in return customers that were not aware of the shelf-stable selection.
However, when it comes to shelf-stable foods, quality is the most important thing, retailers told GOURMET INSIDER®. Goods must be flavorful and unique, and while local products do pack a punch on store shelves, insiders noted that sometimes picking a brand that isn’t as local may mean better quality items.
Additionally, sampling goods in creative ways, especially when it comes to salts and pickled items, is important to the sale of shelf-stable foods. Consumers need to be able to taste and smell the goods to ensure they will be satisfied with their purchases.