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Looking forward, the grocery industry may rely on science to help them better serve health-seeking consumers.
“Retailers and manufacturers should look towards science-based approaches to identify new growth opportunities in the health space,” notes Jaime Schwartz Cohen, MS, RD, director of nutrition at New York-based public relations and marketing agency Ketchum. “For example, there is a growing body of literature supporting the low-FODMAP [Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols] diet to alleviate digestive sensitivities, including those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders estimates that 10 percent to 15 percent of Americans are affected by IBS. Although people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity are often put on a gluten-free diet, this does not always effectively eliminate symptoms of gas and bloating. In fact some people who believe they are gluten-sensitive may in fact be FODMAP-sensitive.”
How does this information apply to a supermarket setting? “Retail RDs are starting to hear from shoppers with questions about the low-FODMAP diet,” says Cohen, who works with such entities as Nestle Health Science and Zespri Kiwifruit on resources and initiatives related to the diet. “This is an area for manufacturers and retailers to watch. Those manufacturers who innovate first, coupled with those retailers who provide tailored services, will win the loyalty of shoppers following a low-FODMAP diet.”
For more on driving health in-store, read PG's March issue.