Manufacturers see biscuits as major snack food – already an impulse outlet success but with substantial scope for further growth, especially for on-the go.
AS convenience stores become increasingly used for substantial top-up shopping visits the ranges they carry are beginning to more closely resemble full-blown supermarkets. And some product categories could present opportunities for incremental impulse sales.
Biscuits supplier United Biscuits UK reckons biscuits is just such a category and it has been busy developing its business website to provide the sort of information it thinks will help retailers achieve those extra impulse sales.
Quoting Kantar Worldpanel Hena Chandarana, trade communications controller at UBUK, said research had shown that biscuits are bought more frequently and feature in more shopping baskets than any other snack food category and are now worth more than £213m in the convenience channel.
“However, at United Biscuits we believe that there is still a huge sales growth opportunity for the impulse trade in biscuits, with an £18m retail sales value opportunity still to be unlocked in the convenience sector,” she said.
“With squeezed budgets, a rise in smaller households and increased urban living, shoppers continue to choose more frequent, lower-cost trips. As a result small basket shops are likely to increase and, therefore, there is likely to be a higher volume of overall visits to convenience stores.”
The Better Biscuits, Better Business platform breaks the UBUK advice down into five main points.
• Stock the best-selling lines. The firm says there is a lack of awareness among retailers about which products will increase sales. Chandarana said the UK’s best-selling line of biscuits is McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Digestives but only half of the country’s independent retailers stock them.
• Make biscuits impossible to miss. UB suggests retailers locate biscuits in high-footfall areas at the front of stores to catch shoppers’ attention. It also suggests placing biscuits next to categories such as tea and coffee and says themed displays and the use of point-of-sale materials help to encourage purchases of impulse items such as biscuits.
• Merchandise to attract shoppers to the biscuit shelves. Making simple adjustments to displays, such as keeping branded products together and displaying similar biscuit types together can encourage customers to spend more time at the shelves and more readily consider buying biscuits.
• Make prices easy to see. Most shoppers say price is very important to them when they are shopping in c-stores.
Chandarana said: “As part of our Better Biscuits, Better Business category advice to retailers, we have identified the vital role that price-marked packs can play in demonstrating value to customers.
“UB has over 40 SKUs available in this format. For example, McVitie’s Digestives 300g and Jacob’s Cream Crackers are now both available in a £1 PMP, Mini Cheddars in a £1 sharing bag and the DeliChoc everyday special treat chocolate biscuit in PMP at £1.99.”
• Maximise impulse and events. During seasonal sales periods, retailers should theme displays with point-of-sale materials or decorations, stock attention-grabbing novelty products, add extra biscuit displays at secondary sites and use special shippers, UBUK suggests.
At Burton’s Biscuit Company David Costello, head of customer category management suggested convenience stores should focus on what makes them different, the bias towards impulse purchase.
With 33% of biscuits bought on impulse, 45% of which are treats, stocking what the firm calls ‘treatier’ brands that will appeal to impulsive shoppers is critical, he argued.
Retailers should look to attract shoppers to the biscuit shelves by using point-of-sale materials and, where and when appropriate, seasonal product displays or new product displays.
He also recommends merchandising similarly branded products together in easily seen blocks on the biscuit shelves.
He described a number of lines from the Burton’s range as “beacon brands” and “impulse must stocks” including Jammie Dodgers, Maryland and Wagon Wheels. They will attract shoppers looking for the products that they recognise, he said.
The firm sees a major opportunity for retailers to increase sales of biscuits for on-the-go consumption and it has launched a series of snack packs – in multi-packs and in single-serve sizes. The range includes a 30g Maryland Gooeys twin snack-pack, and a 40g bag of bite size Maryland Choc Chip Cookies, both available as 39p PMPs and in plain packs (RRP 45p).