Holland & Barrett to open 50 Free From stores
Holland & Barrett has opened the UKs first Free From concept store as it looks to cater for the growing market for people who suffer from food allergies and intolerances.
Branded Holland & Barrett More, the new online and high street proposition will list 1,000 Free From products at launch but will have more than 3,000 products available by the end of the year. These will cover all of the main Free From categories defined in legislation, from gluten and dairy free through to nut, egg and fish allergies.
The debut store in Chester will be the first of 50 new Holland & Barrett More stores planned for the next two years as the company aims to become the UK’s largest Free From retailer. All Free From products will be available for home delivery nationwide from the Holland & Barrett website, where users will be able to search, filter and order by allergen as well as food category.
Peter Aldis, chief executive of Holland & Barrett parent company NBTY Europe, said: “The speed of growth of Free From has seen it transform from what was once regarded as a nutritional niche into a mainstream shopping option. You Gov data on where people buy Free From products shows we already do well in this market, scoring significantly ahead of Boots and very close to Waitrose and Morrisons.
“We already have more high street stores than many of the big supermarkets, and the 50 new concept stores we have planned for the next two years will help ensure we can deliver against our ambition to become the largest Free From retailer in the UK.”
According to Mintel, the UK Free From category saw its market value double from 2009 to 2014 to reach £365 million. Mintel's figures also suggest that the category will grow by a further 50% by 2019.
In addition, a 2014 You Gov survey found that one in five people in the UK considered themselves to have a food allergy or intolerance, which was a 5% increase since the previous survey in 2011.
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