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Some Healthy Wellness Numbers

Fun as it is to fill this space with ramblings and irreverence, as a trade-oriented site we’re obligated to share good hard data when it presents itself. And that’s just what we have for you today, courtesy of a couple state-of-the-industry reports released by the Food Marketing Institute at its banner show in Las Vegas. Though broad in scope, each one contains interesting insights into health and wellness marketing.

I’ll cut straight to the highlights.

The vast majority of retailers are using health and wellness strategies to stay competitive, numbers show. Eighty-nine percent say they’re emphasizing natural and organic products, and 85% say they’re focusing on consumer and family health. Ninety-seven percent say they’re playing up perishables, to great effect.

Economic concerns linger, however, and that could change retailers’ game plans as consumers trade down to less expensive items. Low price is the number one determining factor for shoppers, with 37% saying as much. Other studies have supported these findings, with some even stating directly that sales of premium-priced natural and organic products will suffer. But the opportunity is still there for creative retailers, according to FMI. Indeed, consumers say they’re eating out less, cooking at home more often, and consuming more leftovers than previous years.

People are also maintaining healthy attitudes that could translate into sales. Sixty-two percent say they’d like to eat healthier than they do right now. Of those who would like to improve their diets, 70% fall into the $75,000 to $100,000 annual income category, according to one study.

Sustainability remains a prominent issue for shoppers, as well. Sixty-one percent say the presence of a recycling and sustainability program is at least somewhat important when choosing a retailer. That’s because, as one study shows, more than 60% of shoppers have made a habit of recycling cans, plastic and paper products.

Given these attitudes, it’s puzzling that only 51% of retailers report that they sell reusable shopping bags. Or that more retailers don’t implement and promote bag recycling programs.

As the numbers show, wellness is an important, sophisticated category. Retailers need to make sure that they’re up to speed.