- Natural Grocers, the Colorado-based specialty retailer focused on organic and natural products, has shifted its in-house nutrition education program from in-person to online, the grocer announced Monday.
- Nutritional health experts are now available for one-hour coaching sessions by phone or video and will answer questions people can submit through an online form.
- Starting Wednesday, online classes with guest presenters will be held every Wednesday evening and include topics like reducing food waste, understanding how the immune system works and prioritizing healthier choices.
Natural Grocers’ launch of its nutritional health program online follows recent efforts by other grocers to promote health and wellness virtually for shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this year, ShopRite announced virtual access to dietitians for shoppers and Giant Food held a four-week healthy-at-home food challenge led by the grocery's nutrition team to offer health guidance to shoppers virtually. In addition, Kroger announced in May that registered dietitians would help consumers pick nutritious products to buy through free virtual consultations.
Natural Grocers’ switch from in-person to online nutrition services is happening right as flu season starts amid the pandemic. The specialty retailer, which has 159 stores across 20 states, is likely to reach more people now that its nutrition education program has gone virtual.
Studies indicate that the pandemic hasn’t curbed rising, pre-pandemic consumer interest in healthier food purchases.
A Nielsen report published in December found that three in 10 Americans said their food choices got healthier compared to a year ago and that sales have increased for fresh foods, organics and plant-based foods. Meanwhile, this year's Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council found that a higher percentage of people said they were making healthier food choices because of the pandemic. A report released in September by sales and marketing agency Acosta found that more than half of shoppers have been eating at home more often since the start of the pandemic.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, the number of states Natural Grocers has stores in was misidentified. The grocer has stores in 20 states.