My findings suggest otherwise.
audit revealed that among the average 67 displays per store examined,
59 percent of the highlighted brands were not what nutritionists would
describe as "better-for-you." Not much of a change. Unsurprisingly,
displays were dominated by salty snacks, baked treats, cookies, and high-calorie beverages.
particular, less than half (43 percent) of the snack displays offered options
to purchase lower-calorie or reduced-fat versions. But there was a hidden upside. Virtually all the beverage displays (88 percent) merchandised
low- or no-calorie drinks either by themselves or in tandem with regular
is there hope that more "better-for-you" products will be marketed
by grocers? Does it make sense for retailers to do so? It all comes
down to economics.
profit margins are exceptionally thin and they look for any way to make
a dollar. One practice is to charge food marketers to place their
products on display. And manufacturers are willing to spend that extra
money, but generally only for those products that generate the most volume
and profits for them. These oftentimes are not brands that qualify for
the Nutrition Emmys. Therein lies the conundrum.
there is light at the end of the tunnel. A number of grocery
initiatives have been launched specifically to accentuate more
nutritious products in a way that sustains profits and differentiates
retailers from their competitors:
an innovative grocer in the upper Midwest, is piloting a Blue Zones
lane that offers only better-for-you products at the checkout counter.
Featured items include granola bars, carrots, dried
fruits, string cheese, and flavored water. So far the grocer has noted
positive results, such as a 60-percent increase in sales of soy
nuts, a 30-percent increase in sales of raw no-salt sunflower seeds,
and a 16-percent increase in sales of Sunsweet prunes.
- Lakeland, Florida-based Publix
offers five healthier, ready-to-eat kid's meals. Each meal consists of
an entrée, two sides, and a drink. Examples include chicken
tenders on a honey wheat roll, mini carrots, kid's yogurt, and fruit
drink, and oven-roasted turkey breast on a honey wheat roll, apple and
grape packet, mini raisins, and organic white milk. At $3.99, they are
reasonably priced while yielding more than acceptable profit margins.
these initiatives be successful, supermarket chains will have all the
incentive they need to aggressively merchandise better-for-you foods.
Their bottom lines and their customers' health depend on it.
Image: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters