Earlier this month The Lempert Report commented on the opportunity that food stores have regarding the diabetic consumer and their families.
Earlier this month The Lempert Report commented on the opportunity that food stores have regarding the diabetic consumer and their families. Already shopping in store, this population is often lured into the aisles of temptation, relying on nutrition facts labels and dodging tricks by marketing genius to make healthy dietary decisions.
The December 2009 issue of Diabetes Care Journal looked into the perceptions of healthful eating habits and management among youths with type 1 diabetes and their parents. The report found that the majority rely on nutrition facts labels found on processed and packaged foods due to the ease of quantifying carbohydrate and associated glycemic index, rather than opting for (in many cases) better quality whole fresh foods like, fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. In essence, diabetic consumers are choosing quick, easy to quantify processed carbohydrates rather than those with greater nutritional quality and health benefits.
The findings were slightly shocking because the majority of the participants identified whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes as healthy food choices, but most reported consuming processed foods, which had been identified as ‘unhealthy,’ because of the readily available carbohydrate count. The Lempert Report sees the results of this study as an indication of a clear opportunity for retailers to support diabetic consumers in store, so that they can make the most nutritionally sound and informed decisions.
Supermarkets offer the perfect environment to provide targeted customer support, and those with fully staffed pharmacies, consulting nutritionists and dieticians even more so. For example, produce sections prominently displaying and identifying ‘better for your blood sugar’ choices could not only boost sales but also act as a support system and encourage diabetic customers to consume a more varied and balanced diet.
Although this specific study only focused on those with type 1 diabetes, the findings prove relevant for all diabetics and pre-diabetics. The University of Chicago recently reported that the number of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes patients will nearly double to 44 million by 2034, tripling health care costs to a staggering $336 billion; clearly a huge chunk of shoppers. As we have said previously, and will say again, its time to engage in the diabetes challenge.
The full study can be found in the December 2009 issue of Diabetes Care Journal.