Highlight superfoods to fortify health image

April 09, 2014

Shine a light on nutritional stars to build reputation as a better-for-you destination.

Clark Kent had reasons to conceal his Superman outfit.

By contrast, supermarkets have no reasons to be modest about the superfoods they sell. Yet too many do it everyday.

Stores fail to fortify their own health image when they are quiet about the nutritive excellence of blueberries, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, pichuberries (CLICK HERE TO SEE PHIL’S REVIEW), lingonberries and other nutritional leaders.

The result is too often a sea of sameness in produce – albeit a colorful one - where many kinds of fruits and vegetables get similar visual exposure. The Lempert Report urges retailers to merchandise in ways that help customers distinguish what may be healthier for them, what may taste unusual, or what may cook differently.

These merchandising techniques could be as simple as signs denoting the nutritive value and place of origin of select superfoods. Stores could be more ambitious – with video loops that feature their own nutritionists and dietitians, or recipes that encourage broader use. They may consider special lighting and fixtures to denote a high-power section within produce.

Retailers should also go beyond the produce department to leverage health-image opportunities. Some examples where similar guidance could work: red wines, spices, Greek yogurts, oats, eggs, olive oils, dark chocolate, beans, sardines and salmon. 

Results from the 2014 National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru Consumer Survey Report underscore the importance of such an emphasis on health. “High-quality fruits and vegetables” is the only measure that more than nine out of 10 chief household shoppers (91.5%) name as “very important” in their selection of a primary supermarket. This record figure exceeds the 90.0% of 2013 and 90.8% of 2012.

Competition is keener on this front too. Well over nine out of 10 shoppers (93.4%) rate their primary supermarket “47.6%excellent/45.8% good” in providing high-quality fruits and vegetables. These are the highest figures in six years.