Americans Are Fatter and Still Not Eating Vegetables

January 04, 2012

The NPD group found most Americans are only eating like the MyPlate seven days a year. What can your store do to facilitate change?

Just last month, the NPD group found that Americans are only eating like the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations two percent of days in a year… that’s a mere week out of an entire year! And in case you’ve forgotten, around three-quarters of Americans are overweight or obese. According to Mark Huffman, Northwestern University, if we stay on our current path, 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women will be overweight or obese by 2020.
So if the MyPlate, which was designed to be a more visually relatable version of the food pyramid, isn’t helping consumers understand what their meals should look like, than what will? We’ve made progress in other lifestyle aspects including reductions in smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure (since ‘88), but these have been offset by weight gain, diabetes, and pre-diabetes, according to Huffman.
Experts believe Americans are aware of healthful changes they can make, but their actions at the checkout don’t exactly reflect their knowledge. For most, making dietary changes also involves lifestyle changes and most importantly environmental changes to facilitate healthy behaviors. Because supermarkets represent an important hub in the community and are one of the places where consumers can either make healthy choices or revert back to possibly more comfortable behaviors, stores need to get creative when it comes to promoting healthful whole foods as well as having healthy prepared foods on hand.
Having nutrition info as well as tasty recipes on site is a great place to start. Also, educating employees and encouraging them to help consumers make healthy decisions and try new foods, (for example, a new vegetable a week) will also make shopping trips more interesting. Stores can take this concept one step further, highlighting a local, seasonal vegetable, having a special on price, as well as creating several prepared dishes with it. Create a reason for shoppers to want to come back to your store versus just an empty refrigerator and thus, a need.
Get creative; in the battle against the bulge we all have a part to play.