Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 15

A

year into the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are
increasingly aware of the impact on health, wellness and the
environment that the items in their grocery cart can have.
" The pandemic highlighted the philosophy of food and medicine
and consumers have been paying more attention to healthy eating, "
said Shelley Balanko, senior vice president of Bellevue, Wash.-based
research and analysis firm The Hartman Group. " It's a trend that really
got accelerated because consumers were interested pre-pandemic in
personalized wellness, eating for specific goals and needs. But with the
onset of the pandemic that focus on personalized wellness has shifted
focus to personalized immunity and eating for immunity. "
Balanko noted that in the last year there has been heightened interest
in traditional ingredients that support immunity such as garlic, green
tea, ginger, turmeric citrus and adaptogenic mushrooms.
While consumer interest in health-based items has been on the rise,
shoppers have also pivoted their shopping habits. Many consumers
have switched to shopping online, and those who still shop brick-andmortar have a get-in-get-out mindset.
With many customers exploring new eating preferences amid the
pandemic, grocers have a special opportunity to help consumers
quickly find the right products for their health and wellness needs.
" With social media it's easy for a retail dietician to share some quickhand information about what foods help build immunity and how to
eat healthier, " pointed out Phil Lempert, the founder and chief executive
officer of the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Retail Dietitians Business
Alliance. " It's about a combination of what you can use instore that's
really simple and won't slow the shopper down, and what you can do
outside the store to build that relationship with the shopper. "

Navigating through nutritional
preferences to reach consumers
Between different eating styles such as vegan, keto and paleo,
ingredient restrictions and functionality goals, shoppers have individual

health needs that can be very different from one customer to another.
Instead of attempting to separate foods by various diet plans,
Lempert recommends that retailers take a wholistic approach to health
and wellness.
" The average person has 3.2 different preferences when it comes to
diets. It could be an allergy to being gluten free, it could be keto, and
so on, " said Lempert. " So, it's getting more complicated, not simpler.
The world is changing around us and we have to have our retailers
step up. "
Balanko said to reach a holistic understanding, retailers should act as
a guide that can help consumers understand which products they can
reap benefits from by highlighting a product's central attributes.
" Let the consumer interpret why they are buying certain products on
their own, " she said. " You can demonstrate the nutrition and still let the
consumer decide why they're choosing a product, whether it's physical
health or it's for their mental wellbeing. Connect with consumers'
emerging knowledge around a variety of food and beverage ingredients
that will support their overall resilience. "
By focusing on product attributes like 'sugar-free,' 'plant-based,'
'natural,' 'sustainably produced,' etc., retailers can help shoppers know
which products match their preferences.
" Many nutritional philosophies have some common attributes. By
focusing on those a consumer can decide, 'Oh, okay, that fits with
my interest in keto or Whole 30' - the same product can fit two
philosophies, " Balanko said.
With online shopping, it's even easier. Retailers can build their
websites to allow consumers to filter out products that meet their exact
eating preferences.
In fact, Chicago-based Sifter SP recently launched sifter.shop, a free
online service that allows shoppers to create a personalized diet profile
and search for products that meet their preferences.
Once a user has selected products and are ready to purchase, Sifter
drops items into the online cart of a growing list of retail partners

NATURAL GROCERS

Healthy eating is a trend that really got accelerated
because consumers were interested pre-pandemic in
personalized wellness, eating for specific goals and
needs. But with the onset of the pandemic that focus on
personalized wellness has shifted focus to personalized
immunity and eating for immunity. "
Shelley Balanko, Hartman Group

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Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021

Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 2
Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 3
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