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PG Web Extra: Sampling Wellness


Any retailer’s bid to become a health-and-wellness destination should include sampling and cooking demonstrations. At ShopRite stores operated by members of Keasbey, N.J.-based retailer cooperative Wakefern Food Corp., “we offer monthly culinary workshops featuring menus that have been created with healthy themes in mind,” notes Manager of Health and Wellness Natalie Menza, MS, RD. “Additionally, each month we have different themes, demos and topics of focus, of course always making sure we tailor in-store events and activities to the needs of our customers.”

The banner’s philosophy in regard to demos, according to Menza, is “Taste it, Touch it, Love it. And then … Bring it home. Customers love to try before they buy, especially when it comes to a new food or beverage they have never experienced before. By holding interactive product demos, customers can learn about new products, taste them, and get ideas on how to add them to their diet or their favorite recipes.  These demos inspire our customers to take actionable steps when it comes to incorporating healthy foods into their diets.”

The results of such programs are encouraging. Jaime Schwartz Cohen, MS, RD, director of nutrition at New York-based public relations and marketing agency Ketchum, says that “through Ketchum’s retail RD relationships, we identified in-store sampling opportunities tied to a regional event, and worked with our client to send product to the retailer. Among the three stores where we received sales data, sales increased.”

Manufacturers are also getting involved in demos with a healthy twist. “Siggi’s partnered with a major U.S. retailer to create two customized demo kits for in-store dietitians,” recounts Abi Kinnear, RD, marketing associate at New York-based Siggi’s Dairy. “These demo kits tied in with the retailers’ monthly health themes and provided shoppers with simple, nutritious recipes that incorporated Siggi’s yogurts.  For back-to-school-themed demos, Siggi’s was highlighted as a high-protein, lower-sugar addition to breakfast in a nutrient-packed overnight-oats recipe.  Siggi’s created an ancient grains food-pairing infographic that highlighted easy ways to prepare ancient grains and Siggi’s. This was paired with the sampling of a quinoa fruit parfait, showing this alternative use of quinoa as a breakfast food. Retailers respond well to Siggi’s resources, as they are educational in nature versus being overly promotional, and the content has a clean, simple aesthetic.”

Besides sampling, Siggi’s has found that group classes and in-store events focusing on specific themes such as diabetes, protein in foods, and general trends in healthy eating, are most successful in engaging consumers. “The supermarket is the perfect setting for education on these important health topics, as the call to action can easily be implemented,” notes Kinnear.

Of course, sampling and other in-store events are just part of an overall in-store program that Carl Jorgensen, director, global consumer strategy – wellness at Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon Worldwide, recommends, along with “training store management and personnel … and providing informative point-of-sale materials.”

For more about driving health in-store, read PG's March issue

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