Simplify Shoppers’ Search for Functional Foods

Simplify Shoppers’ Search for Functional Foods

August 29, 2018
Retail Industry Insights

A growing body of science continues to uncover the properties in food that can promote health. Whether it’s beta-glucan in oats, antioxidants in berries, probiotics in certain fermented foods, or omega-3s in fish, more people are looking to maximize the nutrition they get from food to help support their healthy lifestyle. 

Specifically, consumers are interested in understanding the connection between foods and functional benefits such as cardiovascular health, weight management, energy, cognition, and digestive health. 

As shoppers seek these ‘functional foods’ for health benefits, navigating the latest nutrition trends can be confusing. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines functional foods as “foods that have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as a part of a varied diet on a regular basis.” 

Simply put, functional foods include some of the most trusted foods that have long been on shoppers’ grocery lists. Many consumers know oats are good for them, but retail dietitians have a unique opportunity to educate shoppers how a food as simple and unassuming as the oat can help deliver nutrition and offer functional benefits:

  • Cardiovascular Health: Eating 3g of the soluble fiber from oats (called beta-glucan) daily, as part of a diet low in fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats provides about 2 grams.
  • Digestive Health: Oats are a good source of fiber, which can help support a healthy digestive system.
  • Energy: The soluble fiber in a bowl of cooked oatmeal may help slow digestion, and the release of glucose into the blood stream, providing a slower supply of energy.

Your customers might be surprised to learn they are already purchasing functional foods, and retail dietitians can help point them in the right direction. 

  • Map it out. Create a store map outlining where to locate functional foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like oats, that may be overlooked as functional foods.
  • Label it. Create in-store signage or shelf tags that can placed be on functional foods to help shoppers recognize options throughout the store.
  • Reinvent pantry staples. Inspire culinary creativity, even with kitchen basics like oats. From savory to sweet, hot to cold, taking oats outside of the bowl can provide goodness anytime of the day.  
  • Show it off. Invite shoppers to a 10-minute cooking demo, highlighting recipes that include functional foods.

For over 140 years, Quaker has been finding modern ways to help people benefit from the nutrition of whole grain oats and deliver on consumers’ top nutrition concerns. For more ideas, click here for Quaker’s RD Toolkit with downloadable social starters, recipes, and handouts that highlight the nutritional benefits of the oat.