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06/24/2021

Encouraging Healthy Eating

Help shoppers ditch pandemic-driven eating habits and adopt a more nutritious, yet convenient, diet
a bowl of fruit on a table
Retail dietitians can encourage healthier eating habits as shoppers emerge from pandemic-imposed lockdowns.

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to ebb in its contagious spread across the country, Americans are venturing more outside their homes and, therefore, their kitchens. As retailers revert to normal operations, restaurants open back up for regular dining, extracurriculars resume for shoppers and their families, and calendars begin to fill with various appointments, the forecast is that consumers will again be seeking out opportunities for shortcuts when it comes to food. Now is a perfect opportunity to present a spread of easy and convenient items through your grocery stores that will also continue to support customers’ health goals and lifestyles.

The COVID-19 crisis affected most U.S. operations beginning in March 2020 until the present. During these past 15 months, the average American household cooked more at home, and often turned to delivery and pickup services for their groceries, but also experienced an uptick in salty and sweet snack food consumption and weight gain. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 36.9% of all American households transitioned to working from home more frequently than before the pandemic, with up to an astounding 73.1% of households at the highest income level switching to telework as a result of the crisis. More time indoors, less access to exercise facilities, and job requirements demanding loads of time perched at a home desk have left many Americans with challenges in controlling their weight. Redirecting efforts at your retailer toward showcasing lower-calorie, reduced-added-sugar, less-added-oil and portion-controlled snacks and easy meal ideas may now be the best bet in connecting with consumers.

Convenience and taste continue to be king when it comes to food choices, and marrying the two is the ultimate duo in attracting shoppers’ attention. Weave in a positive Nutrition Facts panel, and your customers have something to be excited about. New products launched in the past year that meet these criteria include:

  • Vegetable-centered Simple Truth Plant-Based Cauliflower Dips (Simple Truth is a Kroger private brand)
  • Saturated fat-free pre-portioned cheese-and-legume Laughing Cow Blends wedges
  • Just Egg Folded omelet-like high-protein mung bean-based breakfast food
  • Lean Cuisine Bowls like Korean-Style Rice and Vegetables, with 7 grams of fiber and less than 500 milligrams of sodium per serving
  • Otamot’s line of fruit- and vegetable-blended pre-made sauces
  • Green Giant Simply Steam Made with Dash Salt-Free Seasoning flavorful low-sodium sides
  • Kroger CARBMaster bread, with only 30 calories per slice
  • “Gerber” Veggie Bites and Veggie & Grain Bowls for toddlers (for adults alike!)

A dilemma often observed at the grocery store is consumer hesitancy in making a purchase based on unfamiliarity with the product. Break down this barrier with eloquently executed COVID-friendly sampling stations, or free individually wrapped trial sizes of products like trail mixes, nut butters, granola bars, applesauce, guacamole or crackers from manufacturers upon request.

This juncture in our nation’s history also presents a prime time for your shoppers to connect with a dietitian through your retailer. Dietitians working in counseling can deliver a one-on-one nutrition appointment — virtually, telephonically or in person — to assist shoppers with establishing and progressing toward health goals that likely include weight loss and eating well while on the go. If your dietitians don’t provide direct counseling services, seek out their expert help by positioning them to support shoppers along their path to purchase with targeted nutrition messaging on the shelf edge, input on healthier product ideas at checkout, or materials in-aisle for healthy, quick recipe ideas.

Recognizing and responding to the needs of your customers will make them feel heard and valued. Healthy, delicious food that also makes life easier for them and their families translates to fuller baskets and repeat shoppers.

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