“Sustainability” is more than just a buzzword that’s flying around. It’s a trend that’s been growing for the past several years, and it’s here to stay.
Capstrat, a strategic communications firm, published a report that confirmed what many grocery store owners and restaurant managers suspected – that people are willing to pay more for sustainable goods. This isn’t to say that your venue should go through a complete overhaul, but it does mean that slowly investing in environmentally friendly foods and other store items will pay off.
Know where to start
Chances are, you already boast some form of sustainable good at your establishment already. It can be something as small as napkins made from recycled fibers or as large as a program that encourages customers to bring their own reusable bags instead of using the store’s bags. Given the ongoing trend, it’d be wise to expand these efforts over time in your food merchandising practices.
If you’re unsure of where to start or what the next step should be, here are five tips to consider.
- Replace to-go containers: There’s no better way to leave a lasting impression on your customers than by changing the to-go containers. They bring these items into their homes and will definitely notice if they’re recyclable when they’re done eating and need to get rid of the containers.
- Use recyclable utensils: Other items that people will bring home, but also use in the grocery store, are the disposable utensils. Rather than plastic utensils, look for ones made of recycled products. These guest-facing items will be sure to gain your audience’s attention and approval.
- Implement a bag program: Plenty of grocery stores no longer offer plastic bags. Instead, they opt for durable paper bags that can be doubled up for heavier loads. Some places have taken this even further and offer rewards for customers who don’t take a bag. These range from a discount on the total cost of groceries to an entry in a sweepstakes for gift cards.
- Feature sustainable foods: This will take longer to implement, but it’ll definitely pay off. Customers are invested in sustainability. Selling environmentally friendly food products involves reaching out to and working with local farmers. Shorter transportation methods mean cutting down on the carbon footprint and selling fresher items that don’t have to be frozen in order to adhere to temperature regulations.
- Invest in sustainable fixtures: Sometimes, sustainability goes beyond directly guest-facing items. Display fixtures are everyday items that visual merchandisers deal with that also impact customers’ view of the store. Replacing current fixtures that aren’t environmentally friendly with ones that are is a good way of showing that your business is committed to sustainability. It shows that you’re considering every possibility of heightening environmental awareness.
There’s no doubt that you and your employees will notice the changes around the store. However, you can’t always assume that guests will do the same, especially because they aren’t involved in the process. Therefore, highlighting the new items and detailing exactly how they benefit the environment will ensure that everyone who visits your store will know that you’re a green grocer.
If you’re unsure of where to begin, you can always interact with guests and take a poll on paper and on your website and social media pages. Think of it as an opportunity to reach out and work with your audience.
Hubert offers more than 7,000 new products each year from around the world. Visit our website to discover amazing offerings for all of your food service and display needs.