By Sue Borra, RD, Executive Director, FMI Foundation, Chief Health and Wellness Officer, Food Marketing InstituteHealth and Wellness

Q: What are the biggest food retail success stories of 2018?

A: Health and Wellness, Fresh Foods and Private Brands (FMI Speaks, 2018)

Health and wellness is at the heart of almost every food retail success story this year. Significantly, according to the 2018 Food Retailing Industry Speaks research, industry executives identified the consumer health and wellness proposition (81 percent) and leveraging food to manage/avoid health issues (72 percent) as the top two trends creating a positive impact on business. In addition, they identified fresh foods and private brands as their top differentiation strategies to increase their competitive advantage. FMI’s 2018 health and wellness program combined each of these three trends to generate more opportunities for food retailers to showcase health and wellness in their fresh foods and private brand strategies.

Food Retail Fresh Departments are Ripe for Health and Wellness

“Fresh” is the fastest growing sector of supermarkets in recent years. Not surprisingly, health and wellness are innate parts of “fresh.” To illustrate opportunities for integrating health and wellness programming into fresh food retail departments, including meat, seafood, produce, deli, and fresh prepared, FMI’s Health and Wellness Council teamed up with FMI’s Fresh Foods Council to develop Best Practices and Excellence in Fresh Department Health and Wellness Programing.

This new resource details key elements of success to create a culture of health and wellness in fresh departments to meet shopper needs. In turn, use of these elements will:

  • drive sales and loyalty;
  • develop new profitable partnerships and resources; and
  • create food retail examples of excellence from better-for-you products to strong partnership programs.

Private Brands are Profiting from Consumer Health and Wellness

Today’s shoppers expect food retailers to be a trusted partner in health and wellness. Private brands are delivering on this personal quest for well-being. To provide guidance on incorporating positive nutrition attributes and wellness messaging in private brands, FMI’s Health and Wellness Committee partnered with FMI’s Private Brands Leadership Council. This partnership resulted in a new report, Delivering Health and Wellness with Private Brands, which helps retail private brands capitalize on consumers’ desires for healthier lifestyles.

Consumers are Prioritizing Health and Well-Being in Food Retail

This year’s new report Power of Health and Well-Being in Food Retail: An In-Depth Look Through the Shoppers’ Eyes relays the compelling story of the ways consumers are looking to food retail as an ally in supporting their health with products from center store to the perimeter. Topics – such as consumers’ perception of food as medicine, shoppers desire for organic and free-from products, and future need for personalized health at retail – provide a helpful road map for food retailers to better meet the health and well-being demands of customers.

Health and Well-Being is Defined as a Core Competency at FMI

Almost all FMI activities – from food safety and government relations to research and education – touch upon some aspect of improving health and well-being for consumers. As such, FMI’s role is to help the retail food industry feed families, enrich lives and enhance health and well-being in the communities they serve.

Consumers are increasingly looking to their food retailer for help with nutrition and disease prevention as well as their holistic health which includes improving emotional health, managing stress, increasing vitality and more. In turn, FMI’s Health and Wellness Committee and Council members believe it is time to broaden beyond “wellness” to become the FMI Health and Well-Being Committee and Council.