BATAVIA, ILL: Discount retailer Aldi has announced it will introduce checkout lanes offering healthy snack options, rather than the usual assortment of chocolate and candies that recent research from Mars suggests should be placed there.

"By introducing Healthier Checklanes and through a number of other initiatives, we are doing our part to remove temptation at checkout and stocking stores with even more nutritious options," said Jason Hart, chief executive officer at the fast-growing supermarket chain.

"At Aldi, we truly care about our customers, and we're responding with guilt-free checkout zones and increased food options they can feel good about," he added.

The move is in line with how the brand has been developing – offering on-trend private brand lines such as Live gFree (gluten-free items) or Fit & Active (better-for-you products) – as it seeks to attract "smart" shoppers who want to save money rather than just poorer customers who need to save money.

Aldi's new view of the checkout zone doesn't quite tally with that recently developed by Wrigley and Mars Chocolates, the confectionery giants, which looked at "transaction zones" across channels and considered how retailers and manufacturers could increase conversion of impulse items.

They concluded from their global research that checkout is the emotional low point of the shopping journey, no matter where or how consumers pay, and that retailers can help shoppers overcome this low point and capture more impulse purchases by merchandising to better satisfy three key shopper mindsets or need states. These they identified as "refresh", "reward" and "remind".

Thus, tired shoppers look to refresh or recharge themselves once the job is done, and Mars advised allocating 51% of transaction zone space to products such as gum, mints, beverages and snacks.

Shoppers may also want reward themselves when the job is done: chocolate and non-chocolate candy meet this need state and should occupy 39% of available space, said Mars

The "remind" state is about small items such as batteries or lip balm that people may forget to put on a shopping list and which can take up the remaining 10% of space.

"It's no secret that people don't shop like they used to, and the traditional mix of impulse items in transaction zones needs to better meet consumer needs," said Kurt Laufer, VP of US sales for Wrigley.

Data sourced from Food Business News, Supermarket News, Retail Wire; additional content by Warc staff