2021 Retailer Contributions to Health and Well-being reveals significant increase in health and well-being activities.

ARLINGTON, VA— FMI – The Food Industry Association, today releases the 2021Retailer Contributions to H&WB 2021 Cover Retailer Contributions to Health and Well-being report, finding that grocery stores have made significant investments to expand their role as community destinations for health and well-being. Eighty-four percent of respondents said their company has an established health and well-being strategy, and this same share of retailers report their company offers health and well-being activities for both employees and customers — an impressive increase from 49% in 2019. 

“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in efforts by food retailers to expand health and well-being programs and activities,” said Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, director of health and well-being at FMI. “Eighty-five percent of food retail executives who responded to the survey view these initiatives as key selling points for their store’s brand to compete for customer loyalty and 69% believe they are a significant business growth opportunity for the entire industry in the years ahead.” 

Health and Well-being Program Expansion 

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the all-important connection between food and health for consumers and food retailers alike. Program focus areas shifted to nutrition and overall health and well-being to include self-care and preventive care. Half of food retailers say their company’s health and well-being programs and activities have significantly or moderately increased since 2019. “This sharp growth in programs also includes an enhanced focus on employee wellness and community engagement,” said Register.

Multi-Channel Shopper Engagement  

The report finds food retailers are using a range of outreach tools to deliver critical information to consumers and employees on health and well-being initiatives. They are amplifying traditional channels, such as in-store signage and weekly circulars, with dedicated marketing and education efforts on social media, apps and websites, to meet their cross-generational consumers where they are on digital platforms. Key topics for education range from vaccine information to common health concerns and healthful meal ideas. 

Collaboration-Driven Progress 

Pharmacists, dietitians and other retail health care practitioners offer trusted guidance to consumers and are viewed as essential ambassadors for health and well-being. According to the report, 54% of these professionals also collaborate to enhance and develop new health and well-being programs for food retailers — up from 42% in 2019. "The role of the retail pharmacist and retail registered dietitian has never been more important," said Register. "These professionals have the skillset to support shoppers' health and well-being needs and help translate experiences in-store and online for a cohesive journey." 

The survey represented 27 food retail companies and over 26,000 stores ranging from small to large operators. 

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