In-Store Experience: Sprouts Farmers Market’s New Format

The specialty grocer has opened smaller stores that focus even more on the experience for health-minded and food-centric shoppers.

Specialty grocery retailer Sprouts Farmers Market has opened a slew of smaller format stores in 2023 as it grows its physical footprint along the East Coast and focuses its store experience even more on health-minded and food-centric shoppers.

The retailer opened its first small-format store in 2021 in Smyrna, Georgia, and has continued to mold and expand the concept since then, particularly this year. Sprouts plans to have opened more than 30 of these stores in 2023 alone.

The Path to Purchase Institute visited one store that opened in May in Manassas, Virginia, and here is what stood out: Not only is this new format smaller in size, spanning about 23,000 square feet (compared to its 30,000-square-foot traditional locations), but it also features an updated Sprouts logo and decor, revamped signage, rotating displays and some expanded departments.

The stores offer a clean and spacious layout to make it easier for shoppers to discover “better-for-you” products and convenient prepared food options. The stores’ smaller size may not be very noticeable to shoppers, however, because the space eliminated from its traditional store layout came mostly from the backroom.

At the center of the store, Sprouts’ selection of fresh produce includes more than 200 organic offerings, many merchandised in wooden (or designed to look like wood) displays, promoting the fresh/farmers market theme.

Particularly notable is an in-line display — or “Innovation Center,” as Sprouts calls it — located near the front of the store in between the produce and bakery sections. The area features “New for You” signage and highlights new-to-market, attribute-driven products, many of which are exclusive to Sprouts as part of its “Find a New Favorite” program (which rotates monthly).

Dedicated account-specific endcap signage on each end of the display spotlights the merchandised brand(s) and calls out attributes — at the time of our visit, “low-sugar vegan snacks” and other nutritious benefits. The section is a space for Sprouts and vendor partners to test new or local products. Four-way displays near this section also provide brands with shared merchandising space, especially newer, seasonal and healthier products.

Sprouts expanded and redesigned the frozen food section, which features wider aisles and is more intertwined with other aisles. It also particularly highlights innovative meal solutions, including keto, plant-based and paleo options.

Additionally, at the time of our visit, in-store sampling was also conducted near the plant-based food freezers.

Other notable elements include:

• A relocated deli counter and conjoined “heat-and-eat” meals display, which is now located closer to the entrance.

A “Plant-Powered” refrigerated section high-lighting the latest plant-based meat alternatives.

• Sustainable and socially responsible offerings are highlighted throughout the store.

• The self-serve nuts and coffee sections are a staple and feature wooden bins and displays. Reusable branded Sprouts bags are also affixed to the nuts displays, encouraging shoppers to “buy in bulk and save … a bag.”

• Branded displays are still sporadically located throughout the perishable aisles.