Lopez includes mango, guava, pineapple, cherries, and locally grown corn and chiles in Arteaga’s dedicated checkout lane.
“I can actually move a lot of fruit through that aisle,” Lopez says. “It’s not something you’re losing money on. It’s an opportunity to increase sales.”
The lanes at Martin’s Food Markets are stocked with fresh fruit, freeze-dried fruit, nuts, water and other healthy beverages, and packaged snacks meeting specific nutrition standards as determined by store dietitians. The magazine rack contains only health-related publications. One year later, the program is still going strong.
“These stores demonstrate that customers do want these items,” Payne says, “and they can prove with sales data that these products do move.”
Interpreting sales data can be tricky, however. Unless you’re prepared to track the price with different SKUs, keep it simple and offer the same per-pound or per-each pricing you normally do. Lopez says she prices items in the healthy checkout lane by the unit. The key is to stock the aisle with same-size like items, so that the unit price can be made equivalent to the per-pound price. That way it doesn’t matter if the cashier rings the items up by the each or the pound, and customers aren’t wondering whether they’re getting a better deal on the small bananas or the large ones. Avoid this altogether by stocking just one size banana, and create separate baskets for large apples and kid-size apples.
Although Lopez says it’s been difficult to track the sales dollars generated from her healthy checkout lane, she knows it’s working for her. “I sold a pallet of strawberries in a weekend. That’s a lot of strawberries to sell in one weekend for one store.”
Lopez says produce at the checkout stand is so popular that in addition to her dedicated healthy checkout lane, she made room for a basket of produce by every register.
Anyone can do this
You don’t need in-store dietitians, the backing of government funding, or any other help to get started. In fact, if you’re really tight on resources, you can even start without signage.