Progressive Grocer

DEC 2016

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December 2016 | | 51 S hifting consum- er tastes have caused retailers to rethink their front-of-store beverage merchandising strategies. Supermarket retailers are finding ways to increase refrigerated space to house the variety of products consumers have come to expect in a hypersegmented beverage category. More retailers are adding space to their ever- expanding deli or produce sets to accommodate higher-priced perishable products such as fresh- pressed juices, kombuchas and cold-pressed coffee. "Super-premium juices are often in the produce and dairy sets incorporated in a section with kombuchas, cold-brew coffee and chia beverages," says Jill Walter, VP of customer business development at Bellevue, Wash.-based Evolution Fresh, a Starbucks subsidiary. "Kroger recently created an 8-foot set in the pro- duce section, and Publix is increasing its section from a 4-foot to an 8-foot section in produce and expanding its selection of products," notes Walter. Premium supermarket chains, such as Parsip- pany, N.J.-based Kings Food Markets and Greens- boro, N.C.-based e Fresh Market, have placed near checkouts open refrigerated sections featuring an array of beverages, from infused sparkling waters to chia beverages. For instance, Kings merchandises healthy snacks in baskets on top of the beverage case at its Midland Park, N.J., location. Keep Cooler "Millennial consumers are always looking for something different, something interesting," as- serts Justin Davis, president of St. Louis-based Madrinas Coffee. "To appeal to these consum- ers, Kroger and other large supermarket chains are now adopting the strategy Whole Foods took 15 years ago. At the Mariano's stores, the cooler program is store-controlled." More chains are taking control of the coolers they place at checkout end caps or are working with manufacturers to create new cooler options that feature products beyond traditional carbonated soft drinks and bottled water. rough their North American Coffee Partner- ship joint venture, Starbucks and Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo have created front end coolers to showcase the successful Starbucks ready- to-drink line. Kings features the coolers, as well as shelf- stable multipacks of Star- bucks Double Shot Espresso, Frappuccino and Iced Coffee on checkout end caps, to capture sales in the fast- growing ready-to-drink coffee segment. Nicole Mydy, innovation manager for the La Farge, Wis.-based Organic Valley co-op, says that retailers are transitioning away from coolers that feature only carbonated soft drinks to coolers that include products that offer higher value for retailers and a more nutritious profile for consumers. "ere's some movement away from 99-cent cans of soda to include some protein drinks or cold- pressed juices that retail for $2.99," she observes. Seeking Differentiation Retailers are looking for new ways to partner with manufacturers to expand space and maxi- mize sales. "Shopping patterns have changed, and retailers are facing a challenge of redesigning their stores to reflect an increased focus on the perim- eter of the store," says Ari Tolwin, CEO of Happy Tree, a Grahams- ville, N.Y.-based manufacturer of coconut water-based beverages. Tolwin adds that his company is stepping up to help retailers solve those challenges by designing coolers that can help expand space devoted to healthy beverages. Mydy notes that some retail- ers are gearing their product mix to specific times of day, and that Organic Valley is open to helping them tailor their assortments. "For the morning rush," she says, "some Safeway West stores are featuring coolers with meal replacement drinks or morning beverages." PG Front End Sips Retailers are offering healthier options for grab-and-go and impulse shoppers. By Barbara Sax "Shopping patterns have changed, and retailers are facing a challenge of redesigning their stores to reflect an increased focus on the perimeter of the store." —Ari Tolwin, Happy Tree Beverage Supplement

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