Helping Customers Reset Eating Patterns
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Most consumers are creatures of habit. They buy many of the same foods each week and prepare recipes that they are familiar with. However, many of your shoppers will be moving into the New Year thinking about ways they can eat healthier and manage the weight they may have gained during the pandemic. Help your customers reset their eating habits and keep them motivated by providing relevant tools and messages around taking small positive steps toward a healthier 2021. Here are some topics for educational activation:
- Encourage a nourishing breakfast – Discuss the importance of a morning meal but also provide easy solutions. Offer a month of quick and healthy options with a list of products to keep in their kitchen so breakfast is simple. Create a grab-n-go breakfast case at your store(s) featuring fresh fruit, juice, yogurt, breakfast sandwiches, whole grain bars, and more.
- Think about drinks – There are so many choices in the beverage aisle and the options continue to grow. Highlight new items that provide optimal hydration for minimal calories. Provide recipes for refreshing sparkling juice drinks and mocktails. As the dairy case expands with choices it’s also a good time to offer guidance in selecting lower fat dairy products and finding the best milk alternatives to meet individual needs.
- Promote all forms of fruits and vegetables – Increasing the consumption of fruits and veggies is something most individuals need to strive for. Debunk the myth that fresh is always best and promote total store options including frozen veggies for side dishes, frozen fruits for smoothies and baking, dried fruit for snacking, canned beans, tomatoes and veggies as sides or meal starters and 100% juice in moderation. Tout the nutrition and affordability of all forms.
- Teach new methods of cooking – One way to get customers out of a food rut is by creating more confidence in their culinary kitchen skills. Create videos discussing how to create quick and healthy meals in the Instant Pot, with an air fryer or even new ideas for slow cookers. If you sell any of these small appliances work with your merchandising team for special pricing and displays to support your educational efforts.
- Provide mindful shopping tips – With the start of the New Year remind customers about how to utilize your nutritional attribute shelf tag system if available and provide quick tips for deciphering food labels to ensure they are filling their cart with the most nutrition for their money.
- Support mini-goals for major change – Consider creating a series of social media posts that focus on a new mini-goal for the first 2 months of the New Year. Examples may include:
- Try a new veggie – promote a seasonal vegetable with a few easy recipes.
- Start each day with a nutritious breakfast – provide a week of easy options.
- Eat more meals with your partner or family – link to easy assembly family menus.
- Select lower-fat dairy products – show a variety of options with quick recipes.
- Eat more whole grains – promote products across the store.
- Create nutrient-rich snacks – provide a list of items to keep on hand.
- Eat seafood 1-2 times a week – communicate health benefits and easy recipe ideas.
- Use more herbs and spices to flavor healthy foods – provide a link to a spice usage guide.