March is National Nutrition Month, but when April arrives, that’s not the end of the story. Food retailers can parlay the awareness they’ve generated during the month into more nutritious meal options all through the year.

What are some ways to do this? Solutran’s new program for CPG companies, due to roll out nationally next year, encourages shoppers to choose better-for-you products by reducing their costs, and making the discounts and free offers automatically available to consumers at checkout. So far, in tandem with its Midwest rollout, the initiative has attracted retailer participation from the likes of Supervalu’s Cub Foods, Roundy’s Rainbow stores, and Lund Food Holdings’ Lunds and Byerly’s stores, with more undoubtedly to come.

There’s also the matter of providing shoppers with healthier versions of cherished foods from their respective cultures. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has compiled a list of products from a variety of ethnic traditions that can be adapted to provide optimal nutritive value. Besides providing recipes incorporating this information via circulars and handout cards, grocers can augment their foodservice lineups with prepared versions of better-for-you traditional fare – giving even time-pressed consumers no reason not to improve their eating habits while still honoring their various heritages.

And, of course, supermarkets, through their in-store dietitian bulletins, informative signage or even an attractive end cap display, can steer shoppers with the munchies to better-for-you snack options such as oil-roasted salted peanuts, which have received the respected Heart-Check mark from the American Heart Association, thereby signaling to consumers that the snack can be part of an overall healthy diet.

Meanwhile, just making supermarkets offering wholesome foods more accessible is a big part of transforming consumers’ eating habits as well, and the grocery industry has made strides in this area, as indicated in the Partnership for a Healthier America’s recently released progress report, which found that 141 new or renovated grocery stores or other retail locations have opened in or near food deserts.

More needs to be done to make sure shoppers of every socioeconomic background are able to choose healthy foods with ease, but enterprising grocers can keep better nutrition in the forefront at all times, without sacrificing either flavor or fun.

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