GIVEN THE INFLUX of cereals packed with healthful ingredients hitting Center Store, it's important for retailers to find ways to let customers know about new products, experts say.
“It's hard for families to make changes to their grocery habits,” said Amy McLeod, director of food and nutrition services at Brookshire Brothers , based in Lufkin, Texas. “I know what it's like — even I buy the same products over and over — but when I do store tours I'm able to really analyze each food group and share new offerings with consumers.”
Michelle Mix, nutrition coordinator for Hannaford Supermarkets  in Taunton, Mass., also thinks in-store shopping tours are important. “A lot of retailers have a corporate dietitian, which is great, but also I think more need dietitians in every store.”
For example, before her career at Hannaford, Mix worked for a hospital in New Jersey that had a partnership with a local supermarket. “The health system in New Jersey was forward-thinking in community outreach and would hold events at the store on a regular basis,” she said.
In the present day, Hannaford also makes a strong effort to partner with community organizations, holding events and store tours (see the story, “Retailers Team With Hospitals,” here ), and Mix thinks this kind of grassroots marketing is great for shoppers and stores.
A mobile approach is another way to make healthy breakfast outreach well-rounded. For instance, Kellogg is communicating the healthy changes it has been making to its cereal formulations by using digital and mobile media, according to Yuvraj Arora, senior director, U.S. morning foods brand marketing for Kellogg.
“One example is the Special K myPlan mobile application that helps consumers track their weight management progress and includes tips, shopping lists and personalized weight-management plans,” Arora added.
Launched in December for iPhone and Android mobile devices, the app is designed to help consumers take the Special K Challenge and lets users design a unique weight management plan, access daily menus, track progress, find challenge-friendly recipes and access Special K's full suite of products. Users can also share their progress and celebrate their victories with friends on Facebook.
In addition, Kellogg has been working closely with major mom bloggers to share the many benefits of ready-to-eat cereal, said Arora.