The shelf-stable food segment is one that gourmet housewares retailers continue to invest in. Olive oil and vinegar was the top-selling category this year, as 26.7% of respondents noted that is has grown most during 2019. Spices and rubs followed that with 22.2% of respondents noting growth. As for category expansion, 48.8% of respondents said they are planning to grow their shelf-stable food selection next year and 46.5% would keep their current array of product. Less than 5% of retailers said they are planning to scale back on the category next year.
While shelf-stable foods is a continually growing category, the influence of Olivelle’s olive oil and vinegar program reverberated throughout the industry during 2019. Olivelle, a Bozeman, MT-based business, was founded by Brie Thompson. After developing her business model, she noticed the demand for the gourmet housewares industry to not only add an extensive olive oil and vinegar refill service to their shops, but that there was also a need to teach retailers about how to run the program, merchandise the products and market the goods and services. Throughout 2019, retailers have continued to bring the program into their stores, each reporting healthy profit margins. Additionally, the product also brings customers back to the store more frequently, allowing them to see new items and shop for complementary goods.
Not to be outdone in the shelf-stable category are coffee and tea. As the craft beverage movement continues, coffee beans and loose tea leaves have also been money makers for the gourmet houseware segment. The turn on these items, as well, allows for more frequent visits to the store.
Shelf-stable foods continue to provide the industry with the opportunity to private label, whether it be a proprietary coffee blend or spice rub that is branded with the store name. This continues to keep the retail outlet top-of-mind with consumers as they reach for the goods in their pantry. This also helps when used in gift baskets, as private-labeled shelf-stable foods can help bring in new customers.