This post is sponsored by Alvarado Street Bakery.
Sprouted grains offer a range of health benefits that are perfectly suited to the needs of today’s consumer, but a lack of consumer knowledge about sprouted grain products can stand in the way of their success. By educating shoppers about the benefits of sprouted grains and using various tactics to make sprouted grain products stand out in the store, retailers can create increased demand for sprouted grains and drive purchases, experts said in a webinar presented last week by Alvarado Street Bakery.
Getting consumers to understand the difference between sprouted grain products and conventional breads made with processed flour is the first step to success, said Michael Girkout, director of marketing for Petaluma, Calif.-based Alvarado Street Bakery.
Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
Clearing up common misconceptions
Although many consumers may see the words “sprouted grain” on a package and know that it’s healthy for them, they may not understand how sprouted products are different than regular whole grain breads.
Alvarado Street Bakery makes its breads with ground, fresh organic sprouted wheat which gives them a unique texture that is easier to digest than conventional breads. Many of the products that they make are completely flourless.
How sprouted grains fit in with food trends
While sprouted grain products aren’t gluten-free, they may provide an option for consumers who have an interest in gluten-free products as a way of dealing with wheat digestion problems, said Megan Roosevelt, registered dietitian nutritionist and CEO of Healthy Grocery Girl.
“There’s really two main health benefits with consuming sprouted grains. One of those is increased digestibility and the second is an increase in the availability of some of the nutrients,” she said. Because sprouted grain products are easily digestible, they promote increased regularity and can reduce bloating. Increased digestibility also gives the body easier access to nutrients such as minerals, antioxidants and vitamins.
These health benefits make sprouted grains a perfect fit for the growing number of consumers looking for healthy, “clean” foods. Sprouted grain products also fit in with another consumer trend: the rising demand for transparency. Alvarado Street Bakery sprouts its grains on-site at the bakery, which gives the company full control over the ingredients that go into its breads. “We’re sprouting grain for bread we’re going to make four days from now,” Girkout said.
Positioning products for success
Optimal merchandising strategies and in-store promotions are key to getting consumers to purchase sprouted grains. Alvarado works with retailers to help them educate consumers and position products for success.
“Oftentimes being first to market or ahead of the trend means we have to work harder to bring attention and awareness to brands…We team up with Alvarado Street Bakery in a variety of different ways to educate consumers and increase brand awareness,” said Lawrence Jacobs, conventional/specialty grocery buyer for Oliver’s Markets, a grocery retailer with four stores in Sonoma County, Calif.
Oliver’s Markets dedicates a large area of its bakery department to Alvarado Street Bakery products to “get the whole brand family together in one spot,” Jacobs said. He cautioned against separating sprouted grain breads from other bakery items by putting them in the freezer section, since customers won’t think to look for them there. When placing products on the shelf, employees make sure packages are standing upright so the “Seriously Sprouted” label is clearly visible.
To increase consumer knowledge about sprouted grain products, the retailer partners with Alvarado Street Bakery for in-store demos and includes the brand’s products in co-demos with complementary products, Jacobs said. The bread category is one of the most-shopped categories at retail, and getting consumers to deviate slightly from their normal purchase pattern and try something new can lead to new, loyal customers.
“When we have the ability to do demos or in-store sampling and provide consumers the opportunity to taste these products, we have a pretty good success rate of getting them to drop one in their basket,” Girkout said.
For more information on sprouted grains and insights from Girkout, Roosevelt and Jacobs, listen to the recorded webcast.
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