Better For You Back to School – Industry Insights

back to school blog pic

It’s July.  The kids are beginning to get restless and parents are already thinking about sending their kids back to school.  With the selling season right around the corner (August-September) retailers can begin to focus on additional seasonal opportunities for back to school.  Families are beginning to get into shopping mode so it’s time to benefit from some creative marketing and enjoy the incremental sales that are generated.

In recent years, the percentage of households switching their kids to homemade, packed lunches – at least a few times a week – has almost doubled.  Parents are making an increased effort to avoid school hot lunches for 3 key reasons:

  • School lunches are not nutritious.  Only 6% of school lunch programs nationally meet the nutritional requirements established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • They contribute to childhood obesity.  Compared with kids who brought lunch from home vs. those who ate school-prepared lunches were more likely to be overweight or obese (38.2% vs. 24.7%)
  • They can take a bite out of your wallet.  Packing a lunch for your children means that you can choose healthy and inexpensive items to keep them fueled for the school day.

With specialty & natural food sales at an all-time high and a health conscious community screaming for additional healthy options, retailers find themselves in the enviable position of offering high growth specialty & natural items to mom’s that are interested in good health and tasty alternatives.  Transform ends with high visibility into back to school destinations. Recommendations include:

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly with Almond Butter as an upscale/healthier option.  Almond butter sales were up 20% last year which equals half a pound of almonds a year per person in the U.S.
  • Snack size options including pita chips, popcorn, coconut chips, premium fruit snacks and Non-GMO pretzels.  Cross merchandise using clip strips to create additional selling opportunities.
  • Ready to drink beverages; Organic juice/juice box multi-packs, bottled and seltzer water.
  • Grab-and-go breakfast items such as granola bars and fruit/oatmeal squeeze pouches.

According to a study by Viacom’s Nickelodeon, 71% of parents say they solicit opinions from their kids regarding purchases.  Nearly all let the kids weigh in when what’s being purchased is mainly for the kids themselves, but more than two-thirds of parents take their kids views into consideration when making family purchases.

Kids today have more of a say than ever.  In “Preparing for Back to School Merchandising and Marketing Tips” by Debby Swoboda, some unique ideas are featured to engage kids in the purchase process.  Examples include a tasting fair where kids are able to vote on their favorite specialty healthy options and use the results to place “Kid tasted & approved” shelf talkers throughout the store.  Consider holding a contest where they vote online – kids love the internet.  Or create an end cap geared to kids with signage or recipes that educates parents on how to create “nutritious snacks.”

Be creative, add color, make sets attractive, eye catching and make back to school your most important growth opportunity for seasonal and holiday selling.

By Craig Bannon, Chex Marketing Manager

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