5 Ways Grocers Can Harness The Food-As-Medicine Trend
- According to a new report from the Food Industry Association (IMF) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (Academy Foundation).
- According to the report, there are five main ways for retailers to promote food-as-medicine efforts: prescription programs, personalized nutrition education, medically adapted nutrition, journey-to-purchase marketing, and incentive programs, according to the report. report.
- Even if they do not use the label “food as medicine,” which the Academy Foundation defines as “a philosophy that food and nutrition help people through interventions that support health and fitness. wellness, ”grocery retailers are already linking food and nutrition to health and wellness, according to the report.
The pandemic has placed more emphasis on health and wellness, with buyers and employees turning to food as an outlet to fortify their health.
Food as a medicine is already integrated into other industries, such as healthcare, and can be harnessed by food retailers to their advantage, the report notes. When grounded in science, food as medicine can better connect retailers with buyers and workers by showing them how food impacts their health.
While the concept is typically driven by middle-class, educated shoppers between the ages of 25 and 44, grocery retailers shouldn’t ignore other customer demographics.
“It is important to note that the individuals who drive this culture are not necessarily the people most affected by it. While the middle class is the engine of this culture, changes within it are also impacting people. lower and upper classes, ”the report says.
Food retailers have five main programs they can explore to promote food as medicine, according to the report:
- Incentive programs: Grocery retailers could have discounted prices on categories like fruits and vegetables, digital coupons for loyalty members to entice them to try new products, or employee discounts. While this type of program aims to minimize economic barriers to healthy, nutrient-dense foods, not all participants will necessarily be food insecure, the report notes.
- Marketing the buying journey: This strategy could include signage, labels, information about grocery store apps and websites, virtual food demonstrations, and online research options with the goal of getting people to change their behavior or environment. when shopping. “Behavior change includes increased awareness and knowledge, and environmental change includes improved availability and / or affordability of nutrient-rich foods,” the report says.
- Medically adapted nutrition: Medically Appropriate Food or Meal Programs allow a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN) or healthcare professional to write a prescription for tailored meals or food boxes to meet specific health conditions people. The report notes that this type of program can “provide more comprehensive therapy to patients.”
- Personalized nutrition education: Retailers could post nutrition-focused blogs, offer a diabetes prevention program, or establish employee wellness programs. Health screenings could include checking blood pressure, blood sugar and weight, and biometric screenings.
- Food prescription programs: A healthcare professional or RDN could prescribe food for patients who have health problems or are facing food insecurity by giving them coupons or vouchers.
RDNs are in the best position to advance these efforts if the leaders and major marketers of food retailers fully embrace the concept, according to the report. They can promote adoption through efforts such as improving access to food and nutritional security; promote food safety education; and increase brand awareness through science-based marketing strategies.
Funded by a grant from Walmart, the report considered a survey of IMF member food retailers representing 26,000 stores, a survey of approximately 1,400 adult US shoppers, input from registered dietitians and nutritionists, and digital ethnographic research.