How to start a health food store

This growing industry could give you some healthy profits, read our business guide to help you get started...

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How to make a profit

Competition from high street stores can put a dent in your profits, so you should focus on offering something different and new. The British public are becoming increasingly interested in natural, organic food, and it’s a niche market you should try hard to exploit.

“Because of the high prices of organic produce, you can’t really compete with other stores in terms of cost,” explains Richard Bosly of the Organic Food Federation. “Although supermarkets offer some organic produce, they haven’t become entrenched with the idea of selling natural products, so you have to make this niche area your own.”

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and how they can affect your business. For example, are there any other businesses around that provide products that complement your own? If so, why not form an alliance to boost both of your profits.

Also, are you reasonably close to farmers’ markets and other sources of natural produce? The quicker and easier you can get your stock in, the fresher it will be.

Employing therapists and offering services such as allergy testing may cost you in the short term, but your increased custom will generate profits over a longer period of time – with good planning and foresight you can corner the market on almost all alternative health services in your local area.

If the extra services are too expensive to run full time, why not ditch the specialised therapy room and offer customers a part-time surgery-style service, or even a call-out option?

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“Health food store can be profitable if your location and product range is good,” says Paul Wick of the Southville Deli in Bristol. “I wish I had bigger storage facilities, because it would give me a better discount with suppliers.

“Also, packing your own wholefoods to sell, even a very basic range, will give you a much bigger profit margin.”

Farmers’ markets are a good source of natural, affordable products.