In late 2018, a report from the Food Marketing Institute revealed that 55% of consumers see their primary food store as an ally in their wellness efforts. This shouldn't come as a surprise. Groceries and wellness are inextricably linked. Not just that, but according to Kraft Heinz, consumers spend 40 minutes a week planning meals and finding recipes, with 52% saying that deciding what to eat is the most difficult part. None of this is conducive to overall wellness. For many, life is only becoming busier and more stressful, while the need to feed ourselves and our families nutritious, tasty food is also growing. This need to get dinner on the table quickly and easily is perhaps why meal kit sales were estimated to reach 3.1 billion by the end of 2018. Consumers crave convenience, particularly when it comes to creating tasty, nutritionally balanced meals.
Convenience is not the only factor for consumers who turn to grocery retailers to support their wellness needs. Expertise is also an issue. Almost three-quarters of consumers surveyed by the American Heart Association and the International Food Information Council Foundation admitted that they find it difficult to determine what is healthy and what isn't on supermarket shelves. Since grocery retailers are food experts, it follows that consumers will turn to them for health information.
How can grocery retailers help consumers live their best lives?
With no shortage of healthy recipe inspiration freely available online, it can be difficult to stand out. Since grocery retailers that seen as an ally in consumers' wellness efforts, they have an advantage in this space. With online grocery on the rise, grocery retailers can leverage the trust consumers place in them by creating balanced shoppable meal plans. This also ticks the convenience box, enabling consumers to add a week's worth of groceries to their basket in just a couple of clicks. Tesco excels in this area. Customers can choose from a selection of seasonal meal plans to suit a variety of dietary requirements and budgets or create their own personalised plan. Not just that, but other customers' plans are available to browse and purchase, and meal plans can be rated. This is the sort of content marketing strategy that illustrates a real desire to engage with consumers through content that adds true value to customers' wellness efforts.
Meal plans aren't for everyone though, and this is where personalised individual recipes come in. With the vast amount of customer data available to grocery retailers from online orders and in-store loyalty cards, it follows that retailers should be well placed to offer personalised recipe suggestions that help customers achieve their wellness goals. If the data shows that a customer has swapped out meat for alternative protein sources, perhaps plant-based recipe suggestions will engage them? Similarly, if a customer switches to low-sugar or sugar-free products, the recipes they are greeted with should reflect this change. Making lifestyle changes is difficult for consumers and grocery retailers hold the tools to make the transition a little easier.
What if grocery retailers want to be truly innovative?
Source: Giant Food
We often talk about standing out from the crowd, and when it comes to helping consumers with their wellness efforts, the recently-announced health-focused podcast from Giant Food does just that. Meeting customers where they are is important, and since 44% of Americans have listened to podcasts, this is a smart move from Giant Food. The "Nutrition Made Easy!" podcast offers product advice, 'what's for dinner?' inspiration and healthy swaps. If used in conjunction with complementary shoppable recipes on the Giant Food website, this strategy should not only benefit consumers, but it should also benefit the retailer with increased engagement and basket value.
Whatever strategy is employed, it's clear that grocery retailers can benefit from the increased mainstream interest in health and wellness and the trust consumers place in them. The onus is now on retailers to continue to earn that trust by using their expertise to provide truly valuable wellness content to their customers.
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