By: Cathy Polley, RPh, Vice President, Health & Wellness, FMI & Executive Director, FMI Foundation
Hank Cardello

Several landmark studies on the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and food service sector conducted by Hudson Institute, have determined links between the sale of “better-for-you” products and increased sales, demonstrating the impact of growing consumer demand for healthier products and the business case for meeting this demand.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Hank Cardello, Senior Fellow and Director of Obesity Solutions Initiatives for Hudson Institute, about their newest study The “Better-For-You” Business Case: How is The Supermarket Sector Shaping Up? being unveiled at FMI Connect, June 8-11 in Chicago.

What’s your favorite thing about Chicago and what’s on your agenda during your visit? I’ve always liked the Italian food in Chicago and I have to visit Michigan Avenue.

What was your initial goal in creating the new study, what were you trying to achieve? We partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to conduct a series of studies and analysis on whether or not there was a business case for selling more lower-calorie, “better-for-you” products. First looking at CPG food companies, our study was able to determine that the companies selling the “better-for-you” products were performing better financially. We then performed a similar study with restaurant chains and also found a positive impact of lower-calorie and/or “better-for-you” foods and beverages on overall sales growth.

In our most recent study released in October of 2014, Lower-Calorie Foods and Beverages Fuel Growth at Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Companies, results found over a five-year period that 99 percent of the almost $1/2 billion sales growth came from lower-calories foods, while only 1 percent of sales growth came from higher-calorie foods. These sales trends are the most compelling demonstrations of the consumer shift toward “better-for-you” products. I see this is an opportunity to stress that companies are leaving money on the table if you’re not addressing this.

The upcoming “Better-For-You” Business Case study will assess whether or not the supermarket sector is achieving similar growth with the sale of these products and will discover the level of progress that supermarkets have made in selling lower-calorie foods and beverages compared to the CPG and restaurant sectors.

What would you consider a “lower-calorie” food? For a previous study, we worked with the University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center to develop a chart that illustrates the “lower-calorie” thresholds for key product categories. You can view the chart in this report on Page 6.   

Check back in May for more key findings from Hank and learn more about
The “Better-For-You” Business Case: How is The Supermarket Sector Shaping Up? report being released at FMI Connect.