Fruit poised to replace chocolate on shelves

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Retailing, Convenience store, Uk

UK sweet manufacturers could soon see a slump in retailer sales
following talks between the Department of Health and industry
bodies to wean consumers away from convenience shop confectionery.

The discussions between the health department, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) are part of a drive towards combating obesity by promoting products such as fruit at the expense of chocolate bars and sweets.

Should the outcome of the talks result in shops being forced to devote much of their store displays - previously a mainstay of confectionery sales - to fruit and nuts, sweet manufacturers will feel the pinch as demand from retailers is significantly cut.

Convenience store sales are important to chocolate manufacturers who rely on impulse buying to drive sales of so-called 'indulgence' products.

No timetable for the talks has been set but meetings have been taking place in the last couple of weeks as part of the UK Government's actions to make healthy eating a priority among consumers.

But small corner shops may well prove reluctant to embrace such a scheme given the disparity between profit margins for chocolate and fruit.

A spokesman from the BRC told confectionerynews.com that small retailers with less storage space could struggle with the change from standard products to those with a shorter shelf-life.

He added however that feedback during the ongoing talks has been positive and lessons could be learnt from larger shops selling healthy products alongside chocolate bars and sweets to give greater consumer choice.

The Department of Health is not the only body seeking to influence consumers in this way.

In July, UK watchdog, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) finalised its action plan on promotion of foods to children in which supermarkets are particularly targeted.

The plan urges retailers to "remove confectionery products, snacks and soft drinks from supermarket checkouts and, wherever practicable, replace them with healthier options such as fruit."

Related topics: Ingredients, Chocolate

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