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Your Store Through "Their" Eyes: Health and Wellness in the Aisles

Author: Kim Kirchherr
Kim KirchherrJanuary 7, 2014

A message to IGA retailers from...
Kim Kirchherr, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE
Registered Dietitian 
Director, Health & Wellness
National Dairy Council
Twitter: @KimKirchherr

The IGA Global Rally in Las Vegas is coming soon; look to The Independent View to learn more about the speakers in the Global Rally lineup. Today, Kim Kirchherr, Registered Dietitian and Global Rally speaker, shares insights into how to appeal to your shoppers who are interested in health and wellness.

Health and wellness is a win-win endeavor for consumers and retailers alike. A recent study from The Hartman Group (PDF link) showed that the average household spends $148.48 monthly on categories with a wellness halo, and a survey from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shows that people actively searching for nutrition and healthy eating information has climbed to 46 percent in 2011, up from 19 percent in 2000.

Your shoppers are bombarded weekly with headlines about obesity, disease, and food choices, and since heart disease is the number one cause of death in America for men and women, chances are most everyone walking through your doors has—or at least knows someone who has—high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure. They may also have diabetes, as heart disease and diabetes go hand in hand.

Have you ever walked the aisles of your store as a shopper? In today's marketplace, it's essential to take a step back and put ourselves in the shoes/lives of our shoppers. Doing so allows you to build a personal relationship with your shoppers, and helps you understand the emotional and cultural signifcance of the food you supply. Understanding the balance between favorite foods and responsible choices is where the magic happens in the store—and on our shoppers' menus.

Think back to when you were a kid. We all have a favorite memory that involves food. Maybe it's going to grandma's house for cookies and milk, or perhaps it's mom's pot roast or dad's hamburgers from the grill. These feelings still remain when health and wellness becomes a priority, but oftentimes people are overwhelmed by how to balance favorite foods with the need to navigate choices that fit into a healithier lifestyle.

As an IGA Hometown Proud grocer, you are in position to help. You can use online and instore merchandising to show shoppers that moderation and smarter choices are key. Shoppers can still buy those cookies, as long as they're eating them in smaller quantities and pairing them with lowfat milk. That pot roast is still a staple, just with more of the fat cut off and served with a side of veggies. And those hamburgers? Yes, they're on the menu, only made with leaner ground beef and on a bun that has fiber.

Successful behavior change comes in small, impactful steps. Featuring and displaying items that involve this approach enables you to gain credibility from health professionals and loyalty from shoppers who know you understand them and their needs.

Kim Kirchherr

Join us in Las Vegas at the IGA Global Rally this February to hear Kirchherr talk about what's on your customers' minds as they shop, and how you can meet their health and wellness needs. Follow @IGAGlobalRally on Twitter for Rally updates!