Sprouts is known for healthy, organic and natural, convenient, fresh, local and affordable produce and groceries.
Based on its integration of those trend-forward attributes and its successful financial model that has helped it absorb two rivals and triple in size in the last three years, the Phoenix-based chain has been selected for the award.
“Sprouts is at the intersection of two mega-trends in the industry today — health and wellness and value, and that’s really what we hang our hat on,” said Steve Black, chief information and marketing officer, Sprouts, in an interview with SN. “That’s the model we’ve built for the last 10 years — to make healthy eating easy, understandable and affordable. That’s what we talk about with our tag line, ‘Healthy Living for Less.’
As the chain’s president and chief executive officer, Doug Sanders told SN in a separate interview at the launch of the company’s recent initial public offering that Sprouts is well positioned to be a gateway for shoppers of conventional supermarkets seeking a more healthy diet.
While traditional supermarkets seek to lure some share of consumers’ food spending away from restaurants by touting the healthfulness of home cooking, Sprouts seeks to take that one step further and teach those shoppers how to live even healthier.
“Most people want to eat better, they just don’t feel like they can afford to, and they don’t know how to,” Black explained. “That’s the secret to our success — that it’s affordable, and we have team members in the stores that can help you understand the vitamins and the supplements.
If you are on a gluten-free diet, or wherever you are in life from a health perspective, we have people in the stores who can help you with that.”
The focal point of Sprouts’ relatively small stores is they measure about 25,000 to 28,000 square feet — is the farmers’ market-style produce display, where Sprouts leverages its longtime relationships with growers and suppliers to make a statement on price. Founder Henry Boney began his food retail career with a farmers’ market in 1943, and his legacy lives in the chain’s current positioning.
Stores devote about 15 percent of their floor space to produce, which generates about 25 percent of sales, according to Sprouts’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to its recent initial public offering.
Sprouts tooks to attract both the lifestyle customer and everyday supermarket customer by featuring fresh produce at prices that are significantly lower than the conventional supermarket. The emphasis on produce not only helps enhance the stores’ healthful image, but also helps drive repeat traffic.
Produce is the focal point of Sprouts stores, where customers are attracted to the selection and value, company executives say. Stores have a farmers’ market ambiance with low shelving for better visibility and to create a bright, open-air atmosphere.