Consumers Want a ‘Wellness Ally’ – How Can Food Retailers and Manufacturers Deliver?

By Kerry Young on Apr 9, 2020

Right now, food retailers, manufacturers, and distributors are up against unique challenges – namely keeping shelves stocked despite supply chain disruption and meeting extreme shopper demand. However, these uncertain times have amplified a trend that was already in motion; consumers want food companies to be their wellness allies.

This movement is nothing new; it’s been building for years. According to Nielsen, “Health and wellness have elevated in importance for countless consumers, largely due to a convergence of factors, including rising health care costs.” Furthermore, according an FMI report on US Grocery Shopper Trends, when it comes to healthy eating, consumers are looking specifically to food providers to be their wellness allies.

What Does It Mean to Be a Wellness Ally?

Food providers have become the epitome of an essential service. Yet when it comes to being a ‘wellness ally,’ consumers want more.

As consumers shift their focus to healthier eating habits, diets consisting of discerning food choices have skyrocketed in popularity. In fact, from 2017 to 2019, the number of people surveyed who said they followed a specific eating plan (Keto, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Vegan, etc.) jumped from 14 to 38 percent. And the number of people who say their overall diet is “Extremely Different” or “Very Different” than ten years ago is close to 40 percent.

As tastes and food preferences change, food enterprises must adapt to meet these new demands by connecting shoppers with the specific foods they’re searching for and creating experiences aligned with their wellness goals.

3 Strategies for Providing the Wellness Experience

Health-conscious consumers face a particularly-frustrating challenge: the time-consuming process of reading label after label. In fact, 80 percent of consumers surveyed said they’re confused about conflicting food and nutrition information. So, how can retailers and manufacturers make it easier for their customers to comply with specific diets while delivering an enjoyable shopping experience?

The most effective way to reach them is by using a combination of customer, location, and product data to deliver personalized, timely offers.

 

#1: Leverage Diet-Specific Customer Data

Anyone who has started a new diet can relate to the frustration of that first grocery trip to gather the foods they need. Wandering aisles, analyzing every nutrition label, looking for a specific product and having no idea where to find it – these are trademarks of an exasperated shopper. But what if grocers could provide a completely different and pleasurable “diet prep” experience, personalized for the customer? With a combination of customer, product, and location data, they can.

With a Customer Data Domain, companies can collect information about the customer’s demographics, location, purchasing history, etc. Companies can also push communications to their customers, allowing them to select preferred diets and products. Research shows that consumers are much more likely to provide personal information to companies that offer value in return – in this case, the value of aligning with their diet preferences and making their shopping experience seamless.

 

#2: Provide Timely, Relevant Product Offers

The subcategory of people who are searching for diet-specific products is growing every year, and they make up a highly desirable customer base. According to Food Dive, “7 in 10 consumers say they would forego a favorite food item and buy one without artificial ingredients and, of those, four in 10 would pay 50 percent more, while one in five would pay double.”

If retailers want to attract this type of loyal customer, they need to focus on supporting their quest for healthier eating. EnterWorks Multi-domain MDM with Precision Eating brings together product information, customer preferences, location, and channel specifics to provide full transparency into how a product is made, where its ingredients originated from, what processes were used to create the product, and more. The result is the ability to generate localized and personalized assortments that are filterable by brand or product interest by both the product manager and the intended customer.

It also helps bridge the content gap by enabling organizations to curate and enrich product content leveraging Digital Asset Management (DAM) so that shoppers can have a true, navigable commerce experience. So, when a customer is starting a diet like Whole 30 or Keto, they can quickly see which foods qualify, discover recipes, and even be directed to the aisle in the store where they can find ingredients or products they desire. When customers are delighted by their shopping experience, they’ll be more likely to revisit that retailer, whether they stay on the same diet or try a new one later on.

#3: Get Creative with Personalized Publishing

The Precision Eating platform is designed to help grocers and food enterprises connect with their customers in creative new ways. Featuring Publishing and Print capabilities, the platform enables businesses to print out localized, targeted flyers as a creative tactic to reach their diet-conscious shoppers.

Managers can create diet-specific campaigns, localized per region, and based around consumer preferences to personalize the experience as a wellness ally. With customized campaigns, displays, and in-store recipe stations, food merchants can create a highly-personalized and differentiated experience for consumers that are hungry for a convenient yet health-conscious shopping experience.

 

Planning for the New Normal

What the food industry is experiencing right now is unprecedented in terms of supply-and-demand and fulfillment challenges. In many ways, these uncertain times are strengthening the relationship between consumers and food providers. This is a huge opportunity. The strategies food enterprises put in place today will not only help in the short-term, but will enhance their business in the long run once the dust settles and a new normal emerges.

To learn more about becoming a ‘wellness ally,’ download our eBook: Precision Eating – Farm to Fork in the Digital Age.

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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