FROM KOSHER TODAY, JULY 6, 2010
Retailers Look for Scarce Shelf Space for Plethora of New Kosher Products
New York…Kosher retailers in many parts of the country are faced with an unprecedented dilemma: What to do with the ever-increasing number of new kosher products? The retailers say that many of the new products are right for placement in almost every part of the store — grocery, frozen, and refrigerated — but that finding the space is a daunting challenge. It appears that even stores with adequate space, stores that have at least 5,000 square feet are finding it hard to find shelf space for an estimated 300 new products that have been added to distributor lists in just the last six months. It is particularly stressful for retailers that are aware of the quest for the new products, whether a new whole wheat pretzel, a prepared dish with soy, new flavored sauce, or a new variety of couscous. There are many new snack foods in an already crowded snack aisle or flavored beverages in the shelf that often takes up the most space. The problem is compounded by the fact that most existing products have a stable customer base. Said a Queens NY retailer: “Who am I going to throw out to find out whether a new product can sell better than the product it has displaced?” Some stores are making arbitrary decisions, choosing new products that are heavily advertised or that already enjoy broad acceptance.” The retailer cited the Shibolim brand as an example. “I started out with one small display; now I have an end cap plus three shelves of the product. I cut out three flavored rice cakes to make room for the product.”
Retailers nowadays are much more accommodating to new products than in the past. Many of the products are quality items and as has been proven in the past, can add to the bottom line. New products helped the bottom line of many retailers this past Passover, although as is often the case, the products seldom survive the Passover season. What drives sales of new products, say the retailers, is the enormous interest by younger customers to experiment with new items. In many kosher sections throughout the country, an elaborate display of Sushi products has replaced other items.