Recently, the grocery industry has seen a large increase in consumer preferences for fresh and healthy foods. Shoppers are gravitating to the perimeter of grocery stores, where they can find a variety of fresh offerings, including produce, fresh meats, seafood and more. This ultimately results in a plateau in sales for brands located in center of store.

With fresh products outperforming other categories, brands are in search of original and unique strategies to compete in the center of the supermarket. Here are three key insights on how frozen brands can grow their presence in center-of-store aisles while continuing to appeal to today’s ever-evolving consumer.

Enhance the in-store shopping experience 

Re-gaining control of the in-store experience is crucial for brand growth. To increase center-of-store sales, brands should aim to create shopping experiences that set them apart from the competition. This is especially crucial for brands in the frozen aisle, since frozen goods aren’t typically perceived as high-quality or flavor-forward.

Beyond traditional sampling programs, brands should consider ways to become a resource for the consumer. For example, providing in-store cooking demonstrations, branded recipe cards or simple recipe pairings will help engage buyers in an interactive way while keeping brands top-of-mind. Millennials are especially drawn to these types of experiential concepts while browsing grocery aisles.

“Clean” up product stream

The most successful brands pay attention to emerging shopper preferences and key consumer product traits. Recently, the consumer conversation has been highly focused on clean options in grocery, and this trend is only expected to grow exponentially, as more shoppers become increasingly savvy when it comes to navigating grocery store options and reading ingredient labels. There’s no denying that today’s consumer has a broad desire to eat healthier and consume better ingredients, motivating many brands to purge products of preservatives, additives, high-fructose corn syrup and other unwanted ingredients.

Furthermore, a report published by Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md., indicates that consumers value natural and organic options in the frozen aisle. With this insight, food brands should adapt to this consumer preference and update their product offerings accordingly.

Ensure your retail tracking system is customizable and flexible

Leading brands establish a system to guarantee their products are consistently performing in the center of store as intended. Oftentimes, this requires sending a sales team into stores to survey compliance with pricing, promotions and placement. Consistently gathering insights from the in-store surveys to improve on performance and modify as necessary is vital to driving sales. Progressive companies utilize a variety of technology resources, such as handheld devices or online portals to monitor performance. This helps increase the sales reps’ in-store effectiveness by freeing up time to visit more stores and troubleshooting before any bigger problems regarding display, inventory, pricing and more arise.