The Future Is Now: Food Retail Establishments Becoming Health and Wellness Destinations Dec 29, 2017 By: Sue Borra, RD, Chief Health and Wellness Officer for FMI and Executive Director of the FMI Foundation While food trends may change as quickly as your Instagram feed refreshes, health and wellness in food retail continues to grow into a mainstay in food purchase decisions. Food retailers report the top two trends they believe will most positively impact sales and profits are, first, consumers’ desire to place health and wellness as a value over price or brand loyalty (82 percent) and, second, consumers’ desire to use their food choices to manage and avoid health issues (77 percent). (FMI Speaks 2017) Food retailers see their role as serving as a key health and wellness partner for the communities they serve, and currently almost 90 percent of supermarkets have established health and wellness programs for customers, employees, or both, up from on 54 percent just three years ago. FMI’s Report on Retailer Contributions to Health & Wellness 2017 identified that 81 percent of respondents view supermarket health and wellness as a significant business growth opportunity and they identify retail registered dietitians as the most effective promotion vehicle of health and wellness activities in their stores. In addition, developing a FMI community of corporate retail dietitians is a priority to assist FMI members in meeting the health and wellness needs of their customers. The FMI Health and Wellness Council is developing a series of white papers to provide best practices and case examples for integrating health and wellness programming into key departments in food retail. The first is focused on fresh food retail departments including meat, seafood, produce, deli, and fresh prepared. This report will delve into key elements of success, profitable partnerships and resources, and the future of health and wellness in fresh. The Council also embraced National Family Meals Month™ in September as an important health and wellness program for food retailers. Simply focusing attention on the importance offamily meals and offering meal solutions results in improving the nutrition, health and wellbeing of families along with enhancing customer store loyalty. Trust and transparency are at the forefront of the health and wellness emerging issues list with topics like clean labeling, implementing menu labeling, communicating on the new nutrition facts panel and introducing the new SmartLabel™ program being top priorities. All these health and wellness efforts by food retailers have resulted in 45 percent of consumers seeing their primary store as their ally in wellness. (FMI Trends 2017) This trend will continue to grow as retailers offer more healthy choices in both products and services and consumers will count on their food retailers as a trusted resource. FMI’s Center for Food Retail Health and Wellness delivers resources and tools to help members meet the needs of today’s shopper.