Where Do Consumers Seek Guidance on Weight?

March 01, 2012

How do you feel about your supermarket offering dietary and health advice, and letting you know about “weighty” issues? Find out how your fellow consumers feel here

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 plurality (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.

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 percent prefer their partner/spouse break the news, while eight percent prefer a nutritionist/dietitian.

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 percent chose a nutritionist or dietitian. Thirty-one percent, that perhaps feels more private about their needs, prefers 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 percent also would like stores to offer healthy food sampling, particularly for their children to try.

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