Retailers need to embrace health and wellness as a total-store experience, speakers told attendees at the inaugural Supermarket News at Expo West conference in Anaheim, Calif.
“You can’t just flip a switch and be in that business,” said Stephanie Steiner, director of sales and marketing for the Market Centre Natural division of Unified Grocers, Los Angeles, in a presentation at the conference. “It’s an ongoing process of educating team members so they can pass information on to consumers.”
Another panel covered the fast-growing farmers’-market-style food retailers, who see themselves targeting customers seeking to transition to a healthier lifestyle.
“We look for the customer who’s looking for a stepping-stone to better health and who’s making the transition from the conventional to the natural world,” said Jim Nielsen, COO for Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market.
In a third panel discussion, retailers said forming partnerships with industry vendors as well as non-industry companies can help supermarket retailers strengthen their health and wellness offerings.
“It doesn’t require a huge investment to promote health and wellness,” said Margaux Drake, Living Well lifestyle expert for D&W Fresh Market, Grand Rapids, Mich. “A retailer simply needs a passionate champion who’s willing to talk to consumers.”
Supermarket News at Expo West: Driving Health and Wellness at Supermarkets was sponsored by Enjoy Life and Just Bare.
Text and captions by Elliot Zwiebach and Mark Hamstra
Photos by Michael Kitada