Why food retail in garden centres is here to stay

Leanda Hoyland-Linch

April 15, 2022

While including food as part of a garden centre offer is a hardly a new innovation, recent years have seen a notable shift in shopping habits as consumers have increasingly enjoyed relaxed shopping and dining alongside exceptional customer service, as well as feeling safer by virtue of spacious open internal and external retail areas.

Consumer analysts have long understood the importance of pairing associated products and garden centres present a ready-made market for high quality artisan food and drink products to environmentally aware customers for whom sustainability, quality, taste and provenance matter.

Run well, a food offering can be a significant and profitable asset. So why choose outsourced purchasing?

Appetite Me work with a substantial network of local, regional and national food and drink producers, delivering high-quality products to garden centres and farm shops throughout the UK.

Their team of five buyers have extensive experience in assessing and matching supplier categories for garden centres. With consumer expectations riding high, an eye for detail is critical when it comes to ranging the best food while ethnicity and sustainability are key. Working within the client’s brief, products go through a rigorous selection process; only those with the best credentials reach the shelves - chosen to increase turnover, footfall and ultimately, profit.

There is currently a strong uplift in fresh foods, especially butchery and delicatessen concessions which add considerable value to a food retail offer, bringing low-risk rental income and driving additional footfall. Furthermore, there’s an opportunity to tap into an established regional brand with existing reliable suppliers, loyal customer base and ready-skilled team.

Outsourced purchasing gives centre managers freedom to focus on the core business while an experienced team will handle everything from supplier negotiations and merchandising through to Epos system analytics and product ranging to reflect seasonal variations and events.

Another upward trend is the development of own-label products and Appetite Me manage product sourcing and branding for clients taking advantage of the groundswell of interest in niche lines such as small-batch preserves or speciality gins.

The company provides innovative and intelligent design and shop-fitting - essential pre-requisites for eye-catching displays, maximising sight-lines and shopper flow, adding value to the customer experience and profit to the bottom line.

With the popularity of garden centres in its ascendancy, the integration of a high-end food retail offer looks set to become the paradigm of the future.