Time for a Change in the Supermarket Environment

The Lempert Report
August 26, 2019

Grocers these days are trying to do everything they can to help shoppers eat and live healthier.

From retail dietitians to healthier recipes to shelf labeling the commitment is being made.

A new study may offer another tool that could help change shoppers behaviors.

Researchers from the University of Plymouth surveyed 149 subjects between the ages of 21 and 65 with an online questionnaire that asked about the things they craved, which included things like food, chocolate, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. 

They were also asked about their proximity to nature, such as whether they could see greenery from their homes, or if they had a nearby park or garden allotment that they could visit. The researchers used maps to determine the proportion of green spaces in each person’s neighborhood, as well.

The result? Those who had regular access to a park or garden reported having less cravings, and the cravings that they did have were less severe. And those whose views from their homes incorporated more than 25% green space saw the same benefit. Those results were found regardless of physical activity — whether the folks were taking 10,000 steps a day and gardening in their local allotment, or if they were merely admiring the view.

Why not add green spaces, the way that many offices have done, within the walls of a supermarket? 

Another study of 20,000 people published in the journal Scientific Reports found that people who spent at least 120 minutes a week in nature (averaging about 18 minutes a day) were 20% more likely to say they had higher psychological well-being than people who didn’t, and they were 60% more likely to say they were in good health. 

A growing body of research suggests that being in the outdoors has numerous physical and mental health benefits. 

Just think of the last time you shopped at an outdoor farmers market – then compare that to your last visit to a supermarket. Which made you feel better? It’s time to build supermarkets with people in mind.