17 April 2020, 11:17 AM
  • Jackie Mitchell explores how retailers can seize opportunities
How to cash in on celebrity-influenced ‘foodie’ culture

FORWARD PLANNING IS ESSENTIAL
Scott Winston says, “When I worked for a major retailer, key dates were noted and annualised. So when The Great British Bake Off is running, make sure you have a compelling range of home baking products – maybe cross merchandising with any relevant books. This approach allowed us to participate, but not fall foul of any specific licensing rules, for example we would not use the show name.”

DOES THE CELEBRITY ETHOS FIT YOUR SHOP’S PROFILE?
Vhari Russell says, “Make sure the celebrity influence is aligned with your shop’s ethos and brand ethics. If you are a butcher, you wouldn’t talk about veganism.”

LOOKING AHEAD TO CHRISTMAS
Keep posted on which Christmas TV shows are coming up so you can prepare displays and join in on social media. For example, Nigella Lawson usually has a festive show and, as Vhari points out, this will have a knock-on effect “not only on ingredients, but also on non-food products, the utensils she uses in the kitchen. It’s a great idea to sell items in your shop which are being highlighted by someone with great influence. Make every inch of your shop work for you. Non-food items have a higher margin and there are no shelf-life issues.”

MAKING CELEBRITY COOKBOOKS WORK FOR YOU
Capitalise on celebrity recipe books and use them to focus on the USP of your shop. As Scott Winston says, “For example, it you are in the West Country, on the coast or feature fish and seafood heavily, you could feature books by chefs such as Mitch Tonks or Rich Stein. This helps reinforce your own niche on the high street. Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries is great and I always have a copy close by. It’s brilliant for reminding you what’s around the corner from a seasonal perspective and then offering suggestions on how to use the ingredients. Cookbooks can often add a subtle upsell to your range. Find a good distributor working across multiple publishers, keep stock levels light and rotate the range seasonally.”

SOCIAL MEDIA – JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION
As Vhari Russell says, it’s important to engage on social media. “Twitter is powerful from The Great British Bake Off point of view,” she says. “Post images of baking ingredients, cakes and so on. When the TV programme is on, take part in the discussion. Show your customers you’re part of it. Post on social media that you’re offering sampling in your shop and invite them to come in.” Another idea is to follow celebrities’ social media accounts so you can see what they are promoting and capitalise on it. Also follow food TV series and wellknown food Instagrammers to see what’s on trend.

FINDING NICHE PRODUCTS
Karen Green, The Food Mentor suggests researching what celebrities are doing in the mainstream grocery market (such as Kombucha No 1 and Just Water) “and then find more of a niche product from a smaller up and coming brand relative to your customer base. Find a point of difference, something innovative and new,” she says. She cites the example of Pip & Nut, producers of nut butters such as Crunchy Maple Peanut Butter and Coconut Almond Butter, with a range of recipes on the website such as Chocolate & Almond Bread. Or there’s Candy Kittens, the gourmet sweet company, which produces vegan, veggie-friendly, gluten and dairyfree sweets with no gelatine. Variants include Wild Strawberry, Blueberry Bliss, Peach Fizz and Sour Watermelon.

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