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Fresh! Free From Fear

I think most people would agree that small stores need to stock a credible range of fresh foods. This is what today's local shopper expects to find.

If you read the trade press and get out on the streets you will see many examples of fresh food done well in independently owned stores. Just not enough of them. There are still far too many shop owners who do not invest enough time and money in the fresh categories.

Badly lit stores, milk sold in soft drinks coolers, and dirty shelves are still far too prevalent. For these retailers fresh food is an imposition. A risk which has to be eliminated by simply not reordering, insisting on total sale or return or expecting ridiculously long codes on everything.

The truth is that there's no such thing as fresh without risk. It has to be managed diligently in a proper store environment fit for purpose. This is the skill of retailing - and the joy. The science and the art of finding the balance between optimised sales with controlled waste. And this requires care and attention to detail. Not simply filling and leaving or expecting a third party to do all the work.

Independents must embrace this and be prepared to own and love the fresh categories. Fresh food does not need to be feared, but failure to address these categories is very scary.

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