SpartanNash’s Personalized Seasonal Candy and Snack Strategies

SpartanNash adjusts its holidy candy and snack merchandising by banner

Go to different SpartanNash-owned stores during the fall and winter festive season, and you won’t find an identical holiday assortment in the various candy and snack aisles.

“At SpartanNash, we operate under several store banners, each tailored to our store guests and their shopping preferences,” explains Larry Pierce, EVP, merchandising and marketing at the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer and wholesaler. “As a result, we also select some products based on banner. For example, in our 11 D&W Fresh Market stores in Michigan, Lindt and Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate are very popular items, because store guests tend to prefer premium, trendy foods and unique options when they’re entertaining for the holidays. On the flip side, our Family Fresh Markets in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska carry Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls, since their store guests prefer everyday values. Our Supermercado Nuestra Familia stores in Omaha, Neb., also have an assortment of candies and chocolates tailored to the Latino store guests who shop there.”

Observes Pierce: “Having different retail banners enables us to deliver unique offerings based on the personalized preferences of that banner’s customer.”

Across all banners, however, expect to see more high-end treats. “Premium chocolate … will be a big part of the season as well, because customers will trade up and add this product to their candy dishes,” he observes.

Shoppers’ health and wellness is another big consideration for SpartanNash, even during the holidays. Pierce notes that “we have also increased our assortment of dark chocolates, as this is one of the fastest-growing segments year over year. For our diabetic store guests that have the sweet tooth, we offer more than 20 varieties of Russell Stover sugar-free chocolates.”

Explaining the reason for these offerings, he notes, “Even as more and more customers focus on health and wellness, they are also looking for a little indulgence now and then, and candy – particularly premium candies – provide that indulgence.”

Further, the products that SpartanNash chooses to merchandise with its seasonal candy are informed by consumers’ holiday needs. “We’ve recently started stocking gingerbread house kits, because we are seeing more and more customers create holiday memories with family and friends through these kits,” note Pierce. “Our customers are having get-together parties and putting these kits together as part of their festivities. These kits are merchandised alongside Brach’s Jellies, Skittles, LifeSavers and Washburn’s hard candies for the extra items needed to build and personalize their gingerbread houses.”

Asked about the future of holiday candy sales, Pierce is highly optimistic: “There is no limit with seasonal category growth, because it allows us to continue to surprise and delight our customers and challenge our vendor partners to be creative.”

Read more about holiday candy and snack merchandising in the article published in the September 2017 issue of Progressive Grocer.

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