- A new survey of 39 retail companies and more than 20,000 stores from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) found 90% of respondents have health and wellness programs, an 86% increase in health and wellness activity since 2017.
- Eighty-five percent of respondents employ dietitians, and one in three grocery stores has an in-store clinic for shoppers, half of which are owned and operated by a health system.
- The report suggests retailers should do more to integrate their health and wellness programs into omnichannel strategies. Currently 70% of retailers make health and wellness initiatives available online, while 94% offer online shopping.
Among retailers with health and wellness programs, the top offerings include product sampling, better-for-you prepared foods, healthy recipes and menu labeling. On the flip side, weight management classes, candy-free checkouts and health tip kiosks were less common among surveyed stores.
Seventy-one percent of food retailers see health and wellness as a business growth opportunity, and 63% see it as a way to meet consumer expectations, FMI's chief food and product safety officer Hilary Thesmar said in a statement.
"Grocers understand their value as both a destination and partner in a shopper’s health and wellness journey," she said.
Retailers are finding innovative ways to provide health and wellness information to their shoppers. Giant Foods has created a podcast to help educate consumers about healthy lifestyles, provide recipe ideas and point them to healthy items in their stores. Kroger’s OptUp app scores store products based on nutritional value to help customers make smart shopping decisions.
Raley’s has taken a similar approach with an online video series starring its CEO, which is just one way the store has positioned itself as a wellness grocer. In recent years, the California-based retailer has hired a full-time dietitian, moved high sugar cereals to bottom shelves, added shelf flags designating sugar levels in products, eliminated the sale of tobacco and created "better for you" checkout lanes that don’t have candy or soda.
Hy-Vee has been a pioneer in using dietitians to help customers combat nutrition-influenced conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol. The grocer offers a dietitian-led weight loss management program to help customers manage and prevent those conditions.