High-end speciality products, including locally-sourced goods, look set to take an even more important role in the convenience sales mix in the run up to the festive season and beyond, according to latest shopper insight.

Almost a quarter of shoppers said they would purchase more premium products in the next 12 months, while 15% said they would buy more local goods, data from HIM’s November Shop Waves survey revealed.

“There’s no doubt that speciality products are becoming an increasingly important part of the sales mix,” said Simply Fresh director Kash Khera. “We have one store in Bethnal Green where they now account for almost 20% of its turnover. Speciality and niche goods lend extra weight to a store, adding interest and generating loyalty as customers will keep on coming back for them,” he added.

Fine food distributor Cotswold Fayre said sales to retailers were up 35% year on year, with convenience stores and forecourts accounting for 8% of its business in the past quarter alone.

Local marketing and small producer expert Stephanie Rice said the horsemeat scandal, and resultant quest for provenance, continued to drive purchases. “Horsegate has shown the potential perils of working with non-British suppliers, and customers respond to products where the provenance and personality is clear,” she said.

Premier retailer Bob Bettesworth of Newdigate, in Dorking, Surrey, said sales of speciality sausages from Sussex firm Bangers Galore were far outstripping sales of own-label sausages, despite their higher price. “We sell hundreds of them a week people are happy to pay the higher price as they taste great and come in a wide range of innovative flavours. They are also locally made, which is definitely another boon,” he said.

Rice added: “People are going back to the simple pleasures of cooking and socialising with good food factors which come into play even more strongly at Christmas.”

Horsegate sparks new Scottish laws

The Scottish government is to introduce new laws to tighten up food quality and safety and increase confidence in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

The legislation will grant officers new powers to seize food that does not meet food standards or labelling rules.

It will also be compulsory to report non-compliance with food standards regulations.

Retailers will be required to provide more clarity in how they label red meat products as Scottish, while the Scottish Food Standards Agency will receive extra funds to extend meat testing.


“Shoppers want quality, traceable products that support the local community and taste great, and are happy to pay a premium for that.”

Peter Lamb, Lambs Larder, Bells Yew Green, East Sussex

“We have noted a significant lift in sales of speciality products in the past week, and I expect this to build as we approach Christmas, particularly on products such as high-end chocolates and biscuits.”

David Knight, Knight’s Budgens, Hassocks, East Sussex