Why healthy food should be sold in places other than traditional grocery stores
- New research published in Appetite questions whether consumers still react to a biological instinct to forage for food.
- The study found that when participants watched food-related ads, they tended to reach for high-calorie, high-fat and energy-dense foods.
- However, when healthy foods were more easily accessible, participants chose the healthier options available nearby instead of junk food.
Manufacturers can capitalize on this phenomenon with multi-channel retail outlet strategies. If brands want to push healthier products, they need to stock them not only at traditional grocery and natural food stores, but also at dollar, drug and convenience stores. These outlets may be more accessible for many consumers, which would allow manufacturers to reach a wider audience with new and better-for-you products.
Providing this kind of accessibility may take additional planning to adjust packaging sizes and prices to suit a particular retailer. Over time, brands may also learn which products or categories perform best in different channel so they can further optimize their strategies.
This strategy can also provide more healthy options for people living in food deserts. Without easy access to healthier foods, consumers in these areas trend toward more energy-dense — and sometimes less healthy — food and drink. Manufacturers can strategically place their own better-for-you products in convenience, dollar and drug stores in these areas to corner the healthy food market and establish their brand reputation.