by RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
According to CDC data, 9.3% of the population or 29.1 million Americans had diabetes in 2012. In that year alone, 1.7 million consumers were expected to be diagnosed with diabetes. This data doesn't surprise most retail dietitians as you are knowledge about this long-term health condition and likely offer services and programs for your shoppers with diabetes.
What may be compelling for those working in retail is the significant concern persons with diabetes have about the cost of supplies, treatment and disease management. Retailers have responded by offering very low pricing on insulin, metformin and other medications used for diabetes management as well as offering promotions on supplies like testing strips and lancets. IRI data indicates that one way shoppers are saving money in the diabetes support category is by purchasing private label products. In fact, 40% of diabetes and other home test sales are private label, and in the 52-week period ending May 18, 2014, these sales increased 15% from $138-159 million, according to IRI. But as many retailers offer discounts and private label options in this category, the challenge is how the grocer can differentiate products, services, and programs to attract and retain the shopper with diabetes moving forward.
Focusing on price-consciousness is an interesting lens for retail RDs to re-examine their retailers' current and future offerings for this shopper. While your primary focus is on nutrition programs and services, your knowledge of the comprehensive needs of a person with diabetes can be an asset to a broader category assortment in your retailer. Consider these tips in how you might take your retailer's programs to a new level for cost-conscious shoppers managing diabetes:
The shopper who is managing diabetes can be valuable to the retailer, and options that increase their loyalty will drive added business to your retail company. At the same time, you can be significantly impact the shoppers’ disease management by refining your product assortment, programs and services to ensure they meet all their needs – including cost consciousness and desire for one-stop shopping.