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Are Things Changing in Your Grocery Store?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
People purchase food from a variety of grocery options. Some prefer the convenience of one stop shopping that supercenters offer. Others focus on the benefits of buying in bulk through warehouse clubs. More and more people are visiting dollar stores and extreme-value outlets to get the most for their food dollar. We have provided guidelines to help our readers save money by planning ahead. We have shared ideas suggesting shopping the perimeter as well as tips to make over your meals. Now it seems grocery stores are getting in the act too by providing new opportunities to share information at the point of purchase.

To help stores develop strategies that reach shoppers in their target markets, The National Grocers Association conducted a consumer survey earlier this year. Some of the results were interesting. For instance, 76 percent of the respondents said accurate shelf tags were very important. The majority of respondents felt low prices were very important as well and 84 percent believed product freshness on the shelf was of high importance. Where do consumers get information about nutrition issues on a regular basis? Seventy-five percent in this survey relied on the internet and 64 percent used information they found in magazines. Only 33 percent were getting nutrition related information at the grocery store. It appears stores are beginning to expand their services to make a shift in this area.

I recently read an article about grocery stores in the Chicago area that are hiring dietitians. One store has a dietitian ready and willing to review a shopping list and offer alternative nutrient rich ideas. Dietitians might also schedule store tours to highlight healthier products. They also have the ability to help people with specific medical conditions find food choices to support their specialized diets. Dominick's have dietitians that rotate through their pharmacies to make information available when you shop. Jewel-Osco stores have an on-line dietitian to help with shopping and cooking information before you make your trip to the store.

Food City President Steve Smith just released a video announcement highlighting the NuVal nutritional scoring system used in the store to help customers make healthier choices while comparison-shopping at the point of purchase. They hope the scoring system will help their customers quickly determine which product is the nutritious choice for the price. Other grocery chains like Meijer and Kroger stores are testing the NuVal system as well. Kroger is also trialing a machine they refer to as LUCY or the LC600 Health Station. This machine provides customers with more than just pulse and blood pressure information. It can provide weight and body mass index feedback as well.

From now through the end of October a variety of grocery store chains such as Publix, Giant and Martin's are participating in the Produce for Kids Fall Campaign. Over 1,500 stores throughout 20 states will help PBS Kids when shoppers purchase participating fresh produce. To get children excited about produce, there is a Play with Your Produce Healthy Challenge that can provide winning families with grocery gift cards and classrooms and teachers with cash. There are also Ideal Meals in-store displays with shopping and meal tips focusing on sponsor products and fast meal tips using fresh produce. The suggestions are developed by a Registered Dietitian and meet USDA Dietary Guidelines. These colorful displays provide shoppers with on the spot meal ideas as well as shopping and assembly tips focused on increasing nutrition and produce selection.

Grocers have definitely turned up the heat on in-store nutrition education and product information. Store dietitians, easy to find store tags with NuVal scoring information and seasonal campaigns that are part product promotion and part nutrition education definitely make it easier to make nutrient wise and dollar smart choices.

Have you seen any of these new initiatives in your grocery stores? What services or information would you like to see your favorite stores provide?