Insights from Recent Comp Shop

Insights from Recent Comp Shop

March 7, 2018
Annette Maggi

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

While we all spend a fair amount of time in grocery stores for personal needs or work, I recently spent some time intentionally comp shopping some stores to see what’s new in health and wellness.  Here are some highlights from my recent comp shop:

Sustainability Messaging
Today’s definition of health and wellness has expanded to include a multitude of considerations, including sustainability metrics.  This sign, posted directly below a bin in the bulk section at Whole Foods, communicates a clear message to the shopper and helps them understand one easy change they can make to positively impact the environment.

Organic Misconceptions
A key frustration for many retail RDs and those trained in agriculture is the misperception that organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides.  The organic regulations allow the use of pesticides, just not synthetic pesticides.  This sign, in the milk section at a Bylerly’s store, is simply irresponsible on their part.  

Package Choice can be Louder than Words
This product hits on so many retail elements – meal kit concepts, Valentine’s Day promotions, and Heart Month merchandising to name a few.  Given the foods included, it’s likely the rock star team of dietitians at Coborn’s had something to do with the development of this heart healthy meal solution offered in their stores in February.  Consider other seasons and holidays throughout the year where this concept would make sense in your stores.

Leveraging the Low FODMAP Trend
Trend insights suggest low FODMAP is the new gluten free, and more consumers are experimenting with this eating plan for improved digestive health.  To provide shoppers with quick and easy buying options, Hy-Vee’s Health Markets now include a dedicated merchandising set for low FODMAP foods. The set includes signage marketing RD services for help in following a low FODMAP eating plan.  As more and more products that are certified as low FODMAPs are becoming available in the market, these sets are likely to quickly expand.

Target Tackles the Shelf Edge
I got wind last fall that Target was planning to launch a shelf edge attribute program, and I was fascinated that they launched the program in the cosmetics area of their stores earlier this year.  Unfortunately, the icons are so small that they’re nearly impossible for the shopper to see, and there’s no other in-store signage that explains the program or directs the shopper to an app or website for more information.   Is expansion to other departments, even food, in the works?  Time will tell.

What have you seen recently during comp shops?  Please send pictures and a description to for inclusion in a future RDBA E-Weekly article.