EDITOR'S NOTE: Keeping Them Honest
Each New Year’s Eve, many people make resolutions to eat better, exercise more, lose weight and generally live more healthfully, but, as the saying (almost) goes, there’s many a slip between the forkful of cake and the lip. The problem isn’t that consumers don’t want to adopt healthier lifestyles, but that they’re in need of positive reinforcement to follow through on their earnest pledges.
That’s where food retailers come in. As sellers of one of the key items in any health makeover, they’re in a unique position to influence their shoppers to make better food choices. Additionally, their ongoing contact with customers gives them unparalleled leverage in encouraging other positive lifestyle changes.
Beyond the no-brainer of carrying plenty of better-for-you food options, a look at what various food retailers are doing to bolster wobbly resolves reveals just how much potential power grocery stores have in the health arena: Sam’s Club is continuing to offer convenient regular health screenings to its members, Birmingham, Ala.’s Belle Foods has brought a nutritionist on board to aid shoppers with meal planning, and Ahold USA banners Giant-Landover and Stop & Shop are maintaining their “Healthy Ideas” program encompassing a sweepstakes, a quarterly in-store publication and store tours for schoolkids, among other offerings. Those operators’ initiatives represent just the tip of the iceberg, however.
Of course, supermarkets’ key partners, food and beverage manufacturers, are doing their part as well, with fun new promotions touting healthier eating from the likes of Balance Bar, Lean Pockets and Jamba Juice. Even Coca-Cola – synonymous in many minds with high-calorie soft drinks – is reaffirming its commitment to solving the obesity crisis through various projects, policies and products, along with a nationwide messaging campaign.
With all of this backing, consumers should find it at least a little easier to achieve their health goals in 2013 and onward. And to all of our readers, happy New Year!