A Whole Heap Of Trouble For Vitamin And Supplement Brands?
Are you a supplier to health food stores? Do you want to reach store managers more successfully? This blog post outlines some of the results of ACA Research’s Health Food Store Omnibus study and offers detailed insights into trends and opportunities and what they mean for the industry.
The challenges of running a health food store
Many health food storeowners and managers face similar challenges. They have to stock a large range of products to meet their customers’ needs, but have to manage their stock levels to avoid spoilage and waste. They have to be supplied quickly with new products and information to keep up with a market that moves rapidly from trend to trend. These managers want help, and suppliers of products to health food stores have the opportunity to make their lives easier, with the opportunity to gain traction for their brands.
Market trends in focus: wholefoods, vitamins and supplements in focus
Managers of the health food stores surveyed expect a significant rise in their sales of pantry essentials, health snacks and nuts and seeds in the next year, but almost one in ten anticipate a dip in the sales of vitamins and supplements. What does this mean, and what can suppliers do with these expectations?
We know that consumers, influenced by media and new available research, continually change their minds about what they think will get them healthy. At present, health food store managers are seeing more customers wanting to design and maintain healthy natural diets, with whole foods more of a focus. Store managers need help stocking the right range of grocery products to be able to give customers what they want. They need help understanding and managing the shelf life of fresh produce. They will need to get new information quickly to stay ahead of the trends as they continue to change.
When perceptions of a range of leading brands of vitamins and supplements are explored amongst health food store managers, ACA’s survey reveals that 70% of health food store managers doubt the credibility of at least one brand and 44% know nothing about one or more brands beyond the name. There is potential here for suppliers to increase trust in and awareness of their products.
What suppliers can do – next steps
An increased focus on helping managers face and tackle their key challenges should help health food store suppliers towards achieving their goals. Health food stores have to stock a broad and complex inventory and the market demands are always changing. Suppliers will do well if they can help managers stay in control of their stock and anticipate changes in demand. Changing demands and trends also mean new products. A good supplier can help stores stay informed so that they can pitch new offerings to consumers and avoid wastage.
This is important to managers when looking to stay afloat and fight the competition. The big supermarket chains have always been a threat, but up until now health food stores have been able to position themselves as the experts within the health sector. However, now that the big supermarkets are investing and stocking more health foods, the pressure on smaller health food stores is greater than ever. The big chains can afford to increase stock and lower prices, for health food store owners and managers this means forecasting and planning is pivotal to survival – yet another opportunity for suppliers to step in and offer advice and guidance.
To read more about latest trends and what challenges health food store managers face, download our updated report here.