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In-Store Dietician

Consumers needs and trends at the grocery store are constantly changing and becoming more involved. It’s not enough to offer the lowest price or the best customer service anymore. Consumers now expect an experience even when shopping for their weekly groceries. What does this mean for a retailer? You need to offer something in your store that adds more value to your customers shopping trips. Health and wellness have been on the rise and is a driving factor in grocery purchasing decisions. How could a store both increase value to a customer’s trip while also being conscious of health and wellness? According to the Food Marketing Institute 80% of grocery chains have dieticians either at the corporate or in store level. For example, Hy-Vee and ShopRite’s have had in store dieticians for years. This offers an in-store experience while still promoting healthy lifestyles and eating. These stores were ahead of the game but now even independent grocers are starting to add retail dieticians to their workforce. Your first question is probably, “What does a retail dietician do?” That answer will…

Clearly Organic BBQ Month Giveaway artwork

Leveraging the Power of Private Label & Organics

I recently listened to a webinar from Store Brands titled The Power of Private Brands. As someone who is focused solely on marketing our private label, this webinar confirmed my belief that AWG Brands consist of great products that carry considerable growth potential. Four key insights presented in the webinar lead me to this belief: (Almost) everyone is buying some private brand products today. Millennials embrace them. Consumers are more and more brand agnostic – they are willing to try private brands instead of always buying the national brand they consumed throughout childhood. Private brands are moving from emulation to differentiation. These key insights present exciting opportunities for AWG Brands in a variety of areas, but one that I wanted to spotlight in this post is the organics category. If you’re reading this as an AWG retailer, you should be familiar with Clearly Organic. Through rebranding, and a focus on product innovation and expansion, Clearly Organic has been a sales success for many of our retailers. Currently, organic only represents 7% of total brand sales. This presents an opportunity for…

Nutrition Facts Label Comparison

What You Need to Know about the New Nutrition Facts Label

On Monday May 20th, the FDA finalized their proposal to change Nutrition Facts labels for packaged goods. Considering that these rules haven’t changed for over two decades, I was pleased to hear the Nutrition Facts label is finally getting a makeover. Americans are changing their views of nutrition and they’re paying closer attention to food labels, with 47% saying they check ingredient lists when deciding what to purchase. According to the IFIC’s 2016 Food and Health Survey, people have less healthful views of: Added sugars Low-calorie sweeteners Enriched refined grains Saturated fat Alternately, people have more positive views of: Natural sugars (like Stevia) Whole grains Protein from plant sources Here is an overview of the proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label: Total calories, servings per container and serving size will be emphasized more with larger, bold font. A separate line for “Added Sugars” will be added. With the current NFP, you can’t tell what sugar is naturally occurring versus what has been added by the manufacturer. Serving sizes will reflect what people usually eat or drink. For example, if someone buys a 20-ounce bottle of soda they…

2016 On the Shelves: Food Trends Lookout

It’s no secret that shoppers are shopping differently. Some of this is impacted by different formats of stores, more competition and a wider variety of products, but shoppers are also considering nutrition when walking the aisles of their local grocery stores. To keep up with these consumers, independent retailers must stay up with what consumers want. Guiding Stars, a program which helps identify nutritious items in stores with a simple one, two or three star indicator recently hosted a webinar to help retailers understand what food trends to look out for in 2016 and beyond. These trends are Transparency, Sustainability & Global Responsibility, Unexpected Ingredients & IT foods, Transparency Short ingredient lists with components that consumers can understand give consumers confidence in what they are putting into their body and understanding how the composition of a food helps them meet their goals. Dietitian Allison Stowell cited General Mills’ recent release about eliminating artificial flavors & colors from 75% of their product line.  Kitty Broihier also added that packaging is changing to call out issues related to exactly what is in…

Michelle Obama at podium supporting nutrition in schools

Supporting Nutrition in Schools

The focus on nutrition in schools as well as other governmental regulations might finally be paying off. Childhood obesity rates appear to be plateauing, though still unacceptably high. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is making the difference, but providing children with education on nutrition is certainly an important factor. For the past five years, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and the Partnership for a Healthier America have been teaching children the importance of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. They’ve made great strides in changing the way food and beverage companies market to America’s youngest consumers. Thanks to those iniativies, food companies have created healthier versions of their products, cutting 6.3 trillion calories from the nation’s diet by reformulating recipes and reducing package sizes. Many convenience stores are selling fruit, protein bars, and other healthy options; even kids meals at fast food restaurants now offer apple slices and skim milk as alternative options. As I discussed in a previous blog post, grocery retailers across the nation are supporting nutrition in various ways. 54% of food retailers have established health and wellness programs for customers and employees, according to…

The Local Trend

Food trends come and go, but one seems to be in it for the long haul: local products. A survey from the National Restaurant Association last year found that local food trends are dominating the market, with three of the top five trends related to local products. This isn’t a new development; however, the trend has been steadily growing for quite some time and 75 percent of Americans say eating local foods is the norm. The sustainability of the trend is evident through the number of farmer’s markets popping up in the last twenty years: from 1992 to 2014, the number has risen 350 percent, from 1.755 to 8.144. Clearly the demand for local products is growing, but is it worth carrying these products in your store? Recent research says, “YES,” and there are a multitude of reasons to carry and emphasize more locally resourced products in your stores. If you carry it, they will buy it. Consumers will buy local products if you put them on the shelves. From 1992 to 2008, direct-to-consumer food sales increased from $404 million…

100% organic produce section at grocery store

How to Successfully Market Organic & Natural Foods

If your store isn’t selling organic or natural food products, you should change that. According to a recent webinar by NGA (National Grocers Association), 8 in 10 U.S. families purchase organic products. The growth of organic and natural sales are trending upwards at increasing rates, reaching $29.5 billion for organic and $27.4 billion for natural in 2013. The marketing strategy a retailer uses for selling naturals and organics is extremely important. 41% of U.S. Families are new to organic products, meaning their first purchase of organic products occurred within the past 2 years. If 4 in 10 shoppers are new to organic, you have to keep educating your shoppers on organics and naturals if you want them to continue buying these products. Here are the top five things a retailer can do to successfully implement a sales and marketing strategy for naturals and organics: Start with your natural and organic merchandising strategy. What natural and organic products are you going to sell? How much space are you going to dedicate to this? Where specifically are you going to put that…

Try organic food ...or as your grandparents called it, "food"

Organic Food is for the Average, Ordinary American

The belief that only wealthy people buy organic food is actually a myth. Ali Partovi disproved this misconception at the 2015 TedxManhattan talks, where he presented recent data on the growing market of organic shoppers. In the past year, 3 out of 4 Americans have consciously chosen to buy organic. 25% of Americans buy organic for the vast majority of their food purchases. 2 in 5 organic shoppers make less than $50,000 a year. 20% of organic shoppers are non-white and 15% are Hispanic. During Partovi’s Tedx talk he point blank states, “The foodie elite who are buying organic are actually the average, ordinary American.” Organic has shifted from being an all-encompassing lifestyle choice of a small population to being occasionally consumed by at least 75% of Americans. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, “Consumers prefer organically produced food because of their concerns regarding health, the environment, and animal welfare, and they show a willingness to pay the price premiums established in the marketplace.” The primary reason why organic food is more expensive than its traditional counterparts is because…

eat right

Keeping up with the Nutrition Competition

What is your store doing to keep up with the competition in nutrition? Retailers across the nation are recognizing the vast opportunities in the growing nutrition market. In this day and age, if you want to keep up with competitors your store needs to do something to support health and wellness. According to FMI’s Retail Contributions to Health and Wellness: 54% of surveyed food retailers have established health and wellness programs for both customers and employees. 63% view health and wellness as a selling point. 70% view health and wellness as an opportunity for growth. 78% view in-store health and wellness programs as a responsibility to their communities. Here is a glimpse of what the competition is doing to grow business in the health and wellness arena: Whole Foods— They are the first national grocery chain committed to labeling all food products with GMO’s in their stores by 2018. Whole Foods already caries 25,000+ organic products and 8,500 Non-GMO-verified products. After introducing their first loyalty program in September 2014 and launching its first national marketing campaign, Whole Foods first-quarter sales went up 10.2%…

grocery shopper looking at pre-packaged produce

Better Nutrition Labels Simplify Health Food Decisions for Customers

Better Nutrition Labels Simplify Health Food Decisions for Customers As a health-conscious grocery shopper, I am constantly checking nutrition labels when deciding between food products. Unfortunately, this process is extremely time-consuming, and often leaves me confused. Nutrition Fact labels are supposed to help us make healthy decisions, but the format is certainly not easy to follow. I want to eat healthy, but I’d rather not spend so much of my time calculating what the percentages and serving sizes actually mean for my diet. According to a 2012 Nielsen survey, “59 percent of consumers around the world have difficulty understanding nutritional labels on food packaging and more than half (53%) consider themselves overweight.” Without clear guidance on nutrition at grocery stores, many consumers turn to the media for health advice. Magazines, books and TV shows promote the latest trendy diet with slogans like “Drop 10 pounds in two weeks!” Some of these fad diets may help people lose weight, but physicians across the nation recommend exercise and a healthy diet. “It turns out that no matter what region of the world…

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