Since this past fall, when all 18 of Roche Bros.’ stores rolled out dedicated gluten-free sections stocked with hundreds of new items, the New England grocer has experienced double-digit increases in gluten-free sales, aided by price cuts and increased consumer messaging.
“Our customers are expressing a growing concern about gluten sensitivity,” noted Paul McGillivray, VP of sales and merchandising at Wellesley Hills, Mass.-based Roche Bros. “Even people who haven’t committed to a gluten-free diet are experimenting with reducing intake and trying gluten free items as part of a healthy diet.”
The sections include expanded offerings from such top brands as King Arthur, Betty Crocker, Glutino, Annies, Bob’s Red Mill, Schar, Lundberg, Enjoy Life, and Pamela’s, alongside newer offerings like Barilla gluten-free pasta; Aleia’s stuffing, croutons and breadcrumbs; Bops chips; Notta Pasta; I Heart Keenwah snacks; Wow cookies; and Benito’s chips.
“Selection and convenience are incredibly important to our customers,” added McGillivray, “but for a long time, people on a gluten-free diet didn’t have many choices, and it took a lot of effort to search out safe and palatable gluten-free options. We’re changing that.”
Roche Bros. introduced the sections based on direct feedback from customers that they wanted more gluten-free choices, according to McGillivray. The grocer also continues to call out gluten-free items beyond the sections with shelf tags and signs throughout the store.