The Need to Empower Parents with Food Knowledge
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
It is not surprising to learn that most parents have a strong interest in the foods and ingredients they serve their children. In fact, a recent poll conducted by the Harris Group on behalf of Whole Foods Market showed a strong majority (87%) of parents with children under the age of 18 say they are concerned about the ingredients in their children's foods and report spending over 27 minutes each week reading food labels and/or thinking about food ingredients. As parents look for faster and easier ways to gather trusted information about what goes into the foods they buy for their families, retail dietitians can use their expertise to instill knowledge and advice that will help shoppers feel confident shopping your stores. Here are some ideas for developing your communication strategy:
Team up internally – Connect with your quality assurance and public relations departments to gather insights, develop relevant messages, and formulate a plan to share information that will resonate with parents.
Tell significant departmental stories – Think about those unique product stories you can tell customers about. Do you have a better-for-you private brand that focuses on nourishing, quality ingredient standards? Do you source local, seasonal produce that has been thoroughly inspected by your QA experts and buyers? Does your seafood only come from suppliers that follow strict sustainability guidelines? Uncover those stories that will help build confidence and ease a parent’s mind.
Utilize your role as a trusted health influencer – Use the trusted voice of your RDN team to engage shoppers and communicate key messages through your existing wellness programming. Social media messaging; virtual store tours; cooking demos that highlight ingredient standards and attributes; and media segments.
Offer kid’s educational programming – Involve kids in your educational outreach. Kids have a big influence food and beverage purchases and pick up on health-conscious food concerns voiced by their parents. A recent RDBA webcast focused on programming directed toward children and provides many tips for increasing the effectiveness and ROI of these programs.
Partner for success – Think about the food vendors and health organizations you know that can help you offer nourishing solutions to families. For example, Kroger and Produce for Better Health recently partnered on a back-to-school produce pairing promotion. The program which paired fresh berries and eggs, showcased delicious kid-friendly recipes and the important nutrients found in these products which can help kids do their best in school by supporting their immune system, brain health and more. These relevant messages can help parents feel confident about making food purchases that can ensure the health of their children.
As your stores take more steps to safeguard the products and ingredients you offer, make sure to clearly communicate your efforts to parents. As you save them time and increase confidence, these loyal shoppers will reward you with their on-going business.