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08/22/2022

How the Supermarket Can Be Destination for Managing Health Conditions

Grocery stores are an important resource for shoppers living with chronic diseases
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Managing Health Conditions
A retailer can potentially be the health care destination of choice by featuring products to suit shoppers’ health needs right on the shelves.

It may be hard to believe, but 60% of Americans suffer from a chronic disease. Chronic disease is defined as a condition that lasts one year or more, and requires ongoing medical attention or limits activities of daily living, or both. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a staggering four in 10 of us have two or more chronic diseases. 

These medical conditions, along with short-term health problems, leave customers confused about what foods align to the possible dietary restrictions that accompany certain health issues. A retailer can potentially be the health care destination of choice by not only offering health events and pharmacy, clinic and dietitian services, but also by featuring products to suit shoppers’ health needs right on the shelves.

Heart Disease

Heart disease continues to push forward as the No. 1 killer in the United States. Two ways to abate risk for this condition are keeping a lid on blood lipids (including triglycerides and cholesterol) and blood pressure. One in two of us has high blood pressure, and this is largely a result of modifiable risk factors such as low physical activity and a diet high in saturated fat and/or sodium. Work with your pharmacy department to offer free or discounted heart-health screenings, coupled with product coupons that can support lowering shoppers’ numbers, such as low-fat yogurts, lean plant proteins and no-added-salt canned vegetables.

[Read more "Is Plant-Based Eating Better for You?"]

Diabetes

There are three forms of diabetes: type 1 (insulin-dependent), type 2 and gestational. Type 2 diabetes makes up more than 90% of all diabetes cases. One of the top nutrition recommendations for prediabetes and diabetes is a controlled and consistent intake of higher-fiber carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Ask your chefs to prepare innovative recipes using these core ingredients, and invite your dietitians to calculate nutrition facts and tips to distribute in print or digital form to customers.

Digestive Disorders

Digestive health has been, and continues to be, a popular topic. Many shoppers are afflicted by minor tummy woes like gas and constipation; others, however, may have clinical problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These issues might have customers seeking anything from low-“FODMAP” products to probiotic supplements, lower-acid alternatives and higher-fiber foods. Invite CPGs that represent these brands to hold an event at your stores to showcase their gut-friendly products, with the help of your marketing team. 

Overweight

The primary reason that a client books a visit with a dietitian is related to weight control. Being overweight (a body mass index, or BMI, of 25 or higher) or obese (a BMI of 30 or higher) is associated with increased risk of chronic disease. America’s waistline is a public health concern and might be a personal journey for your customers. Support their efforts by offering individually packed snacks like carrots with ranch dip, string cheese, crackers and peanut butter, or apples with caramel dip to draw attention to wholesome foods that will improve satiety while also being portion-controlled.

Food Intolerances

From lactose intolerance to an egg allergy to celiac disease, shoppers have their own reasons to find products that suit their unique dietary needs. Customers with food sensitivities, intolerances or allergies gather groceries from all corners of the grocery store as other patrons do, so offering products that highlight “free-from” ingredient lists are helpful for increasing these shoppers’ basket size. Be sure to stock items like nondairy milks, egg-free noodles and gluten-free buns in prominent places so they’re not missed. Also, engage your retail dietitian team to curate pamphlets for educating shoppers on how to shop for these products, including a sample meal plan and grocery list for common food intolerances. 

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