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12/23/2020

Wellness Outlook for the New Year

Wellness Outlook for the New Year

What a year 2020 was: full of surprises, learnings, challenges, and more time at home. As we embark on a fresh new year, we have some indications of what wellness will look like in 2021. Here are some wellness trends that are anticipated in the New Year, and which retailers should resolve to leverage for the good of their customers.

Plant-Based Foods

Plants continue to take center stage more often on customers’ plates than in years past. The rise of mock meats, dairy-free cheese, milk alternatives, and even bean-based “eggs” have led the pack when it comes to plant-based options that rival traditional animal-based fare. At the core of plant-based eating is showcasing recognizable ingredients in familiar products, but with a twist. Take Birds Eye Buffalo Style Cauliflower Wings, Treeline Treenut Cheese, Savory Wild Portabella Jerky or Banza Chickpea Elbow Pasta, for example.

Consider at your retailer if it makes more sense to integrate plant-based options near conventional products, or if a separate natural food area would see more foot traffic. Offer assortments that always include one or more plant-based alternatives, such as margarines made without milk, dairy-free creamy dressings, non-gelatin “jel” desserts, or vegan frozen pizzas.

Emphasis on Cooking

Millions of households this year saw more working from home and more time spent in our own kitchens than ever. Help out eager home cooks who may want more easy meal ideas or recipes in their arsenal, or find ways to bridge the gap in food preparation via meal kits for those consumers used to ordering takeout only.

Partner up with your dietitian and chef teams, communications department, digital staff and internal media experts to create attractive virtual cooking demos on your website featuring top-selling items or products up for promotion that week in the circular.

Food Safety

There was heightened awareness in 2020 about where food comes from and improved food safety practices. Transparency when it comes to growing, sourcing, packaging and transporting food will continue to be important to consumers in 2021. Many shoppers may favor individually wrapped options of their favorite products and more packaging in places like deli and produce departments, where there could be a greater chance of employee or customer handling.

Tend to these needs by offering single-serve containers of spreads or cut fruit while being diligent in following food safety protocols and social-distancing measures in your stores.

Telehealth

The advancement of expanded telehealth services in 2020 aligns to the grocery store ideal of performing double duty as both a food and a wellness destination. Pharmacies are in a myriad of grocery store locations, and more urgent care, nutrition, biometric, mental health and even COVID-19 testing services are becoming available at retailers. Kroger Health offers access to one-to-one telenutrition appointments with registered dietitians throughout most of the country, while also operating The Little Clinic, which provides virtual care visits with a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to address minor ailments or concerns. Meanwhile, H-E-B is providing Texans with free home delivery of prescription medicines in select areas.

As we flip the calendar over to a new year, we can prepare to serve our customers better by recognizing their wellness needs over the next 12 months. Provide an increased focus on plant-based foods, an emphasis on cooking, food safety, and telehealth, to win over your customers.