By Peter Collins, Director for Business Development, Food Marketing Institute
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Shoppers enjoy the discovery process. We feel like everyday heroes when we bring home a new product or experiment with a new recipe for a family meal. Arguably, for food retailers, translating this same consumer experience to toothpaste or light bulbs doesn’t offer as much creative license. General merchandise and health and beauty care (GM/HBC) items often feel like an afterthought in the traditional in-store experience and are slowly losing share to other channels. So, should a traditional food retailer phase out GM/HBC items or is there hope for this category? Based on some new analysis, I believe it’s the latter.

When we first looked at the opportunity for GM/HBC with our research partners at Acosta last year, we focused on the outliers and merchandising strategies. This year, we’ve matured the model to understand how to make the investment in GM/HBC.

We learned from our recently released analysis that shoppers say they purchase GM/HBC in store for the following reasons:

  1. immediacy;
  2. coupons/deals;
  3. convenience;
  4. better prices; and
  5. check out new products.

Among these points, the fifth seems like the strongest opportunity to compete for share of basket and create a discovery experience for the shopper. Consider mimicking the trends you’re witnessing in fresh and apply them to GM/HBC. For instance, shopper demand for products that are local, organic, minimally-processed and focused on wellbeing are just a few of the hot trends to consider when thinking about sourcing everything from skin care to household cleaning products.

As the report suggests, if the grocery channel was to capture its fair share of HBC sales, it would represent an incremental $29 billion, while the same size of prize for GM would equal $15 billion. I hope you agree there’s much to discover in the power of GM/HBC.

Learn more about the second-annual The Power of GM and HBC in Grocery by watching this video.


  • Research
  • Retail Operations