Maximize Nutrition Messaging Impact with Strategic In-store Signage

Maximize Nutrition Messaging Impact with Strategic In-store Signage

January 10, 2018
Retail Industry Insights

By Monica Amburn, MS, RD, LDN, Senior Director of Health and Wellness, Vestcom

When it comes to execution of a themed nutrition event, you already know that there is much to be planned months ahead of time to ensure seamless execution in store. Newsletter articles/blogs, social media posts, staff scheduling for event, store tours or demos, TV/radio promotions, and coordination with corporate are just some of the many factors you need to consider when bringing an in-store event to life. Another key component of a successful themed campaign is a comprehensive signage package for stores, yet few retailers often promote nutrition events in this manner. 

In my discussions with retail dietitians across the country, I’ve received feedback that many don’t know what the options are with signage (beyond the price tag itself or the standard stanchion sign) to create a multi-department sign program that reaches shoppers throughout the entire in-store experience. With that in mind, we’ve created a list of the top 7 signage options for retail nutrition programs that extend your message beyond the price tag.

The Top 7 Sign Options to Promote Your Nutrition Event

1. Shelf Talkers

What it is – A small flag-like sign that sticks out perpendicular from the shelf, usually no larger than 5 inches in diameter or width.

Why use it – It can be a good vehicle for calling out benefits of like foods (Ex: Black beans are an excellent source of fiber!) in aisle, or as a reminder/promotion of your program (Ex: Pick up the latest ‘Healthy Eating’ magazine for heart healthy recipes this month!)

2. Aisle Blades

What it is – A narrow sign that is the length of 3-4 shelves that sticks out perpendicular from the shelf. 

Why use it – It is great tool for calling out guidance within categories, and both sides can have different messages. For example, in the cereal category, an aisle blade could promote your general nutrition platform on one side, while giving direction on the other side to “choose whole grain cereals – look for our whole grain icon on the price tag.” Aisle blades can also be used as book-ends within an aisle or refrigerator section to call out ingredients for a dietitian-approved meal kit or recipe.

3. Channel Strips 

What it is – Also known as shelf strips, these are the long, skinny signs that fit into the edge of the shelf where the price tags are affixed. 

Why use it – Some retailers use these strips to group like items, particularly Gluten Free specialty sections. Other retailers have used these to identify meal kit/recipe sections, where a featured meal or ingredients for recipe-of-the-week can be found. Some retailers use these on end caps to identify special programs (Fuel rewards, etc).

4. Window Clings

What it is – A thin sticker-like sign that easily affixes to glass doors or windows. Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, based on the retailer’s needs.

Why use it – Deli cases, along with refrigerated and frozen sections of stores are often left out when it comes to nutrition promotions that are not featured on price tags due to perceived lack of real estate in these sections. If there is a glass door or window, these clings are the perfect vehicle for your message, and can be used just like a stanchion sign or aisle blade. 

5. Floor Decals

What it is – A temporary medium to large format sign that sticks to the floor to direct attention to a particular department or program.

Why use it – It is an unexpected medium in stores, yet it doesn’t occupy valuable real estate or interfere with aisle flow. These are best used for shorter promotions (think weeks, not months) as they naturally get dirty and worn over time. I’d love to see a retailer use floor decals to build a “yellow brick road” or path to the in-store dietitian’s office, or to a new healthy meal kit solution section in store.

6. Register Signs

What it is – A sign that hangs off the check stand at the register, or a cling or mat that rests on top of the check stand.

Why use it – This is a great opportunity to remind shoppers of your nutrition resources available beyond the in-store experience– recipes on the web, social media accounts, “email the dietitian”, etc. 

7. Iron Man/ Stanchion Sign

What it is – The metal framed sign that every grocery store inevitably has on hand! In some retailers, it is called an “iron man”, in others a “stanchion sign”. Your sign slides down into the frame, and is easily removed when necessary. Most stores h.ave multiple and plenty stanchion sign frames on hand

Why use it – It is the essential billboard signage for events and promotions in store. It can be placed in almost any department or aisle as needed.

When building out a sign kit for your nutrition event, it isn’t necessary to include ALL 7 of these signs. Typically, a combination of 3-4 signs are enough to build an in-store campaign that isn’t overwhelming to store staff, or redundant to your shoppers. Even a few sign components create a thoughtful and creative sign kit that brings your well-planned nutrition event to life in a big way.

While we are known for our ability to seamlessly deliver validated nutrition claims to the price tag, the healthyAisles® team at Vestcom can also assist in developing content for seasonal or thematic sign kits, as well as coordinating the production and delivery of these sign kits directly to your stores. For more information on how we can assist in themed nutrition signs and events, email me at so we can discuss your program needs and options. 

About the author:  Monica Amburn, MS, RD, LDN is a former supermarket dietitian, and currently the Senior Director of Health and Wellness for healthyAisles® at Vestcom. Monica works with the healthyAisles® team to develop and deliver custom healthyAisles® shelf-edge and online attribute programs to over 30 banners and 15,000 stores nationwide. Monica can be reached at for any healthyAisles® marketing, sales or information requests.