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    The Future of Health

    Supermarkets are forging ahead with engaging programs to enhance customer wellness.

    What’s truly encouraging in supermarkets’ push to implement health-and-wellness programs is the growing focus on the United States’ greatest resource: our youth. Taking their cue from high-profile initiatives from the likes of the Produce for Better Health Foundation and the First Lady, grocers are rolling out campaigns that actively engage kids in exciting ways.

    What’s more, they’re recruiting some heavy hitters to help out -- sports figures on the level of Olympic skater Kristi Yamaguchi in the case of Safeway, which has relaunched its successful “Lunch Box Winners” produce program, and the YMCA, which has joined forces with Giant-Landover to show children how they can play and snack their way to better health.

    The additional stories featured on the “right rail” of this newsletter include further examples of retailer programs with the shared goal of encouraging members of their communities to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

    Another equally encouraging trend is grocers’ increasing desire to enlighten consumers’ that eating more nutritiously is not budget-prohibitive, thus making the goal of an optimal body weight and better overall health achievable for more Americans. At the forefront of this trend is Fresh & Easy, which has added new selections to its eatwell line of fresh and frozen meals designed to provide more nutritious fare at affordable prices. And lists like the one published in the March issue of ShopSmart serve as important signposts pointing to ways shoppers can improve their dietary intake while still saving money – lessons that shouldn’t be lost on savvy grocers eager to capture and keep the custom of health-conscious consumers.

    CPG companies are also doing their bit to enhance health and wellness, through awareness campaigns like the one introduced by Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery product line and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. The greater availability of such specialty items in mainstream venues, coupled with well-publicized campaigns, should reinforce the message that the food industry genuinely cares about the physical wellbeing of those who use their products. Linking that perception to product or store loyalty looks like the best way to achieve healthy profits now and going forward.
     

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