Here are some specifics:
• Lean on science– in the face of conflicting messages about health and diet promoted by bloggers and nutrition “experts,” consumers are increasingly skeptical about food marketing and claims, said Elis Halenko, RD, vice president of LiveWell Marketing in Mississauga, Ontario. An on-staff RD or nutrition expert adds credibility; in-store magazines or newsletters featuring the latest research on dietary trends and the health benefits of produce add to reliability.
• Focus on trend-specific foods– cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles for low-carb diets, or spiralized beets for gluten-free or grain-free diets, are examples of ways retailers can capitalize on popular diets. In-store juicing promotes the detox and cleansing trends, and jackfruit appeals to vegans and vegetarians. Creating a low-carb produce section featuring avocados, berries, and leafy greens is an easy way to cater to the Keto market.
• Make it easy– almost 18 percent of consumers say the main reason they don’t eat more vegetables is they don’t have time to prepare them, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey. This can be addressed through ready-to-eat, produce-heavy options like healthy meal kits, precut fruit and vegetables, and packaged salads: according to the Food Marketing Institute, about 92 percent of households purchased value-added produce in 2018.
• Boost your online presence– the world of nutrition is moving to a digital platform, stresses Sarah Limbert, RDN, LD, retail clinical dietitian for Kroger Health. This is seconded by Melinda Goodman, managing partner of FullTilt Marketing: “Online marketing is an easy, affordable, and highly effective way to put your brand into the conversation.”
Retailers can optimize their websites by focusing on two or three social media channels, promote in-store demos with Facebook Live, recruit food bloggers and influencers, and support sales and promotions by posting plenty of recipes. Recipes, studies have shown, are a top-ranking request from consumers, notes the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s BB #:157162 communications manager, Katie Toulouse.
• Make produce alluring– the trendiest diets are “sexy and simple,” said Halenko. “But produce? Simple, yes. Sexy no.” So retailers should look for creative ways to make fruit and vegetables more alluring. Feature exotic alternatives like dragon fruit, rambutan, or purple sweet potatoes, offer intriguing produce demos, and give vegetable dishes sexy names: a Journal of the American Medical Association study found indulgent labels like “sweet sizzlin’ green beans” or “twisted citrus-glazed carrots” led to a 23 to 33 percent increase in vegetable consumption.
This is a multi-part series on dietary trends from the October 2019 Blueprints magazine.