Shoppers want supermarkets to help them improve diets: SupermarketGuru survey

February 21, 2012

In a recent SupermarketGuru quick poll, we surveyed our consumer panel to find out where they’d appreciate guidance the most when it comes to managing their weight. Here’s what we found.

As the obesity epidemic in America persists, the health care industry along with school districts, nutritionists, food makers, and even some employers rack their brains for new ways to encourage healthier diets and exercise. But the question remains, what parties can be most effective in this type of intervention.

In a recent SupermarketGuru quick poll, we surveyed our consumer panel to find out where they’d appreciate guidance the most when it comes to managing their weight. Here’s what we found.

First we asked the panel, “If you or a member of your family is overweight, who would be the most powerful person to tell you that?” The majority (49%) said that they would prefer hearing this from their physician. Twenty-six percent would prefer hearing it first from their spouse or partner. Nine percent would like to hear it from a child, and another nine percent prefer a friend tell them. Four percent would like to hear it from an older relative, and another four percent from a dietitian/nutritionist.

It seems that our consumer panel also trusts doctors in this scenario when it comes to their children. We asked, “Who would you want to tell your children if they are overweight?” Sixty-six percent said they prefer a physician, 15% prefer their partner/spouse break the news, eight percent prefer a nutritionist/dietitian, four percent prefer a older relative and another four percent prefer a friend.

Although it seems the panel feels most comfortable with a doctor consulting them about their weight, with further investigation, results suggest that once confronting their weight issues, shoppers may be looking more to their supermarkets and dietitians for guidance in making better food choices.

When the panel was asked where they would most likely go for nutritional advice, 41% chose a nutritionist or dietitian. Thirty-one percent that perhaps feel more private about their needs, prefer seeking advice online (Note: Here’s an opportunity for supermarket dietitians to provide nutritional advice and help with weight loss via the store’s website.). Twelve percent would go to their physician, eight percent chose books/magazines/newspapers, seven percent would seek the advice of someone they know who has lost weight and kept it off, and only one percent would work with a personal trainer.

In addition, we asked our panel what they think their supermarket should do to assist them in losing weight and keeping it off. Fifty-eight percent want to see healthy foods displayed more prominently, and 58% also would like stores to offer healthy food sampling, particularly for their children to try. Here’s a great opportunity for stores to help moms and dads test recipes and new dishes with their children without investing in the ingredients at the risk they won’t like the food!

Fifty-two percent would like to see their stores call out healthy foods at the shelf, 49% would like help in budgeting healthier foods, 45% would like help packing nutritious school lunches and snacks for their kids, 35% are looking for healthy eating tools on the store’s website, 27% would like to participate in a store tour lead by a nutritionist/dietitian, and 12% would love to see their supermarket partner with a local gym and offer discounts on memberships.

This is all great news for supermarkets that would like to build lasting relationships with their shoppers by helping them achieve personal success, and at the same time increase sales by way of healthier, fresh foods.