Courtesy of FMI News www.fmi.org
March 17, 2015 – Arlington, VA – Consumers have an ally in their efforts to live healthy lives finds the latest report Retail Contributions to Health and Wellness from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). For the third year, FMI has surveyed grocers on how they are meeting the needs of shoppers who are seeking healthier lifestyles. Here’s how supermarkets are helping shoppers live healthier:

1. Investing in health and wellness. More than half (54%) of grocers surveyed have established health and wellness programs for both customers and employees. The majority of these programs include community health events, product sampling, healthy recipes, store tours, cooking demonstrations, health screenings, and additional health and wellness services.

2. Hiring health, wellness and cooking professionals and teaching skills. In addition to employing pharmacists, 95% of grocery stores surveyed report employ dietitians. A majority of supermarkets (76%) employed a chef at all or some stores. Three out of four grocery store respondents offer cooking classes to shoppers with the majority of classes geared towards dietary needs, such as diabetes. In addition, 63% of stores provide weight management classes for adults.

3. Helping shoppers get the health information they need. About half (48%) of survey responds say supermarket dietitians and pharmacist are working together to make customer-specific recommendations. In addition, 52% of them say they are referring customers/patients to each other for counsel. Supermarkets surveyed report labeling products on the shelf as gluten free (90%), organic (81%), low sodium (66%) and even heart healthy (62%).

4. Being your one-stop-shop for health care. In addition to many stores offering pharmacies, 70% of grocery store respondents have in-store clinics in some or all stores, an increase from 40% only a year ago. These in-store clinics and pharmacies offer a variety of health care services, including flu shots; pneumonia, travel and HPV vaccines; blood pressure, blood glucose and BMI screenings.

5. Helping families eat together. “Beyond classes and recipes cited in the survey, grocers are aware of the numerous studies that cite the benefits of families eating together more often. In 2014, they clearly embraced this concept with 84% saying they are actively promoting communal eating, such as family meals,” said Cathy Polley, RPh, executive director of the FMI Foundation and vice president of health and wellness at FMI.