Digital Content to Help Grocers Meet ‘The White House Challenge’

Tech can play a role in making consumers healthier in the next 7 years
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Digital content could be a tremendous asset in helping support the White House's call for retailers and members of the food industry to promote healthy life choices in marketing, and to make healthy foods easy to find.

In the United States, 20% of consumers aged 2 to 19 deal with obesity, and 42% of adults battle the complex disease, putting them at risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC also said that obesity is the root of nearly $173 billion in health care costs annually in the country. To improve the health and wallets of Americans everywhere, it isn’t surprising that the Biden administration has launched the White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthier Communities — and it’s asking the food retail industry to play a role.

Part of the challenge is a call for food retailers, e-commerce platforms and manufacturers to help American consumers make healthier choices. It’s a natural role for them, too. After all, grocers build stronger relationships with their shoppers through online personalized product recommendations, meaningful loyalty programs, transparency into where products are being sourced, and more.

By leveraging promotions, targeted digital content and clever marketing initiatives, grocers and CPGs can help consumers eat healthier and learn more about the importance of being active.

Retailers and Food Businesses Can Empower Consumers

The White House Challenge is built on five pillars, each targeting specific industries or organizations. Pillar three of the challenge, as designated by the challenge, is to “empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices.” The pillar further outlines a call for retailers and members of the food industry to promote healthy life choices in marketing, and to make healthy foods easy to find. It also asks food retailers to stock a greater number of nutritious items and asks investors to invest more in companies that produce better-for-you options.

For retailers and marketers, digital content could be a tremendous asset in helping support this initiative.

Digital Content Can Lead the Charge

Inside physical stores, grocers can — and should — continue to deploy tried-and-true tactics to promote healthier products, such as setting up displays, offering nutritious prepared meals and distributing coupons. On the digital side, there are innovative tactics to get healthy foods in front of consumers to inform better choices. Some tactics to consider include:

  • Recipe and retailer apps. Brands and grocers can reach online shoppers while they’re browsing the many recipe-based and shopping list mobile apps. Here, brands and retailers can deliver targeted ads and content that enable consumers to immediately add their healthiest items to a shopping list. Retailers can also reach consumers over their own mobile apps, with ads that suggest healthy recipes, ads from CPG partners that highlight healthier options to be added to a virtual cart, and digital content that shares tips on physical activities or how to live a healthier lifestyle.
  • Personalized content. By leveraging key online data such as purchase history and loyalty data, brands and retailers can create personalized ads for healthier versions of past purchases. Consumers can receive items tailored to a specific diet and take food allergies into account. With this information, brands can offer targeted ads that increase the purchase intent of healthier options by consumers both in-store and online.
  • Lifestyle tips and virtual dietitians. Brands and retailers can also work with qualified health care providers to create engaging digital content such as tips to living a healthier lifestyle or reward loyalty members for achieving physical activity goals like walking a certain number of steps, for example. Going a step further, brands and retailers can pair a consumer’s past purchase history or future purchase intent data to provide custom health tips.

Food Industry Steps Up to the Plate

Digital content offers brands and retailers a more intimate way to reach consumers. Every day, consumers interact with their favorite companies over social media and mobile apps. Consumers trust and will rely on their favorite brands when it comes to learning more about healthier product information, more nutritious options and healthy living tips. Using digital content to connect with consumers about their health is a natural fit. 

About the Author

Molly McFarland

Molly McFarland, co-founder and chief revenue officer of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based AdAdapted, offers a unique perspective as a woman in the tech startup world. A native of Maine and graduate of Tulane, McFarland began her career as a marketing professional and has gone on to found a fast-growing advertising platform. She offers expertise in the mobile advertising environment and add-to-list solutions, and extensive knowledge on how to reach consumers in an ever-changing ad space.
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