The evidence continues to build that supermarkets need health and wellness strategies as much as their shoppers do. Natural, organic and better-for-you products have become proven winners, so the big question now is how can retailers best succeed in the face of increased competition? That was the focus of SN’s second annual Health and Wellness Summit at Expo West in Anaheim this month.
Here are five key takeaways from the Summit sessions along with related social media posts:
1-Wellness products, especially natural and organic, are outperforming compared to most other supermarket segments.
Nearly 80% of industry respondents to SN’s newly released Whole Health survey, presented at the Summit, said sales in health and wellness categories grew over the past 12 months. And 32% of respondents said those sales grew by 20% or more.
Not surprisingly, in one of the educational sessions at SN’s event, retailers emphasized natural and organics are now fully mainstream at supermarkets.
2-Stores need to commit to action because retail competitors are growing their assortments of natural and organic products.
Even as the Summit was getting underway, new media stories surfaced of big retailers expanding their footprints in organics. Costco Wholesale Corp. said it would increase its organics assortment in the face of recent successes in those categories, and Kroger Co. is on track to eventually overtake Whole Foods Market as the country’s biggest seller of organic and natural foods, according to a report.
A panel of retailers including Unified Grocers, Northgate Gonzalez, and Lazy Acres emphasized the importance of taking action with organics and related products.
3-Supermarkets need to make informed decisions on a range of store merchandising topics to boost wellness strategies.
One Summit panel addressed the debate on whether it’s better to integrate or segregate wellness products in stores, and it seems the momentum is moving to integrating.
In another session, a speaker said stores may need to devote more space to refrigerated products to satisfy consumer needs for both wellness and convenience.
4-Retailers can’t do health and wellness alone. They need collaborative relationships with strong suppliers.
However, supermarkets will continue to be selective about supplier partners and products to carry.
5-Supermarkets need to look at health and wellness holistically, as part building an exciting customer experience overall.
This will require careful attention to key trends, and sometimes tailoring strategies for different shoppers, said speaker Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru.
Lempert trends to watch: smoked foods, fermented foods, grazing golden agers, new nutrition labels, "grocerants" #expowest— Jenna Telesca (@JennaTelesca) March 5, 2015
Can mainstream food retailers accomplish what is needed to succeed? The panelists at SN’s Expo event said yes, as long as the industry does its homework and aligns strategies with shopper needs.
That’s the formula for ringing the health and wellness bell this year.