Healthy Snacking in the Aisles

Healthy Snacking in the Aisles

January 22, 2014

Kristin Reimers, PhD, RD
Nutrition Manager, ConAgra Foods

Most American adults and children enjoy one or two snacks per day. In fact, snacks now contribute about a quarter of our daily energy intake. As a retail RD, you can help your shoppers reinvent their snack routine with a focus on nutrient-rich, portion-controlled snacks. Here are three tips for helping your customers choose nourishing snack options in the aisles.

1. Discover Your Shoppers’ Snack Choices

  • In addition to sales data, a pen-and-paper or social media survey will let you gather information on what snacks your customers are currently buying. Utilize your retailer’s Twitter handle to gather information on what customers are already eating and promote snacking at the same time. Here are a few examples of posts:
    • It’s 2 pm, how are you avoiding the afternoon slump? #snackright
    • Trail mix or peanut butter? What’s your go-to nut-based snack? #snackright
    • Snack fact: For the same calories, you could have 6 cups of popcorn or about 1 cup of potato chips. What’s your choice? #snackright
    • When you know your clients’ current habits, you can build on those choices to gradually move them to more nutrient-rich options. For example, you can suggest they purchase low fat popcorn instead of regular or portion out nuts into single servings instead of eating from the bag.

2. Get Resourceful

  • Save time by relying on readily available snacking resources from your vendors. Health and wellness brands offer research, recipes and education tools for consumers. For example, ConAgra Foods Science Institute provides research-based materials on a variety of nutrition topics as well as ready-to-use consumer-friendly handouts.
  • Marketing and sales teams within your store can be tapped to develop signage around healthy eating to help shoppers quickly identify healthy snack options.

3. Lead the Snacking Tour to the Aisles

Both the perimeter and the center of the store carry many nutrient-dense foods that are filling and satisfying with limited calories. On your next store tour, try leading customers into the aisles first, reminding them that the center of the store offers many nutritious food options that can help make snacking more convenient and affordable. Here’s how you can highlight smart choices available in the aisles:

  • If your store offers a shelf labeling system that identifies allergens, ingredients, or specific nutrients, explain how using these shelf labels can make shopping for nourishing snacks simpler.
  • The aisles are also the perfect place to examine packaged food labeling. Show customers where to find portion sizes, what nutrients to look for, and how to interpret nutrient and health claims.
  • Another way to make the shopping experience more interactive is to offer samples of nutritious snacks along with educational information, and encourage your customers to share their favorite snack recipes via your retailer’s Facebook or Twitter pages.

So give it a try! Start the New Year with a snacking make-over focus, taking the opportunity to move snacking from a diet “wrecker” to a diet “maker.”