Strategies for retailers to attract health-driven consumers

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 18th September 2008

A new report has established the forces behind the eating habits of children and outlined solutions for retailers to build brand loyalty amongst health-driven consumers.

In the second installment of their “Healthy Kids” study, Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), a leading global provider of consumer, shopper, and market insights for CPG, retail, and healthcare industries, has suggested that retail strategies should include: a commitment to product marketing innovations, consumer education initiatives, in-store navigation tools and shopper messaging efforts fostering healthier product choices.

“As a nation, while we are starting to see progress in battling the true crisis of child health, we need to remain conscious and vigilant,” said Sean Seitzinger, senior vice president, IRI Center for Retail Innovation.

IRI findings show that American parents are increasingly looking to outside influences, such as schools, government agencies, and, particularly, grocery retailers, to support them in making healthier meal choices for their children. According to the study, 75 per cent of parents confirm that they are making a conscious effort to purchase healthy foods, yet just 35 per cent believe that retailers are doing a good job of helping them find healthy selections for their families. For retailers, this gap offers an open opportunity to meet the challenge of better in-store communication and a more informative health-focused shopping experience for parents, translating into a sizeable revenue growth potential for responsive retailers.

The report urges retailers to commit to a strong family wellness program as part of their overall customer service and store communications plan. Tapping into the emerging market of health-focused parents, IRI recommends the following action steps by retailers to meet this new shopper-focused demand:

1. Implement new “better-for-you” standards across product categories to clearly segment better-for-you products from mainstream products
2. Collaborate with manufacturers to optimize availability of healthy assortments
3. Develop in-store shopper education and navigation initiatives

According to Mr Seitzinger, a focused effort on the part of CPG retailers and manufacturers will benefit kids, parents and retailers alike. “As an industry, CPG manufacturers and retailers working together can lighten the load for parents, affect healthy change for kids, and bump up their bottom lines all by simply making it easier to make healthy choices,” he concluded.