Consumer Perspective on Vitamins and Minerals – Implications for Retail RDNs
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Most consumers recognize that vitamins and minerals play an essential role in their health, but are they a consideration when people make food and beverage purchases? If so, which vitamins and minerals do people seek, and where do they look for this information while shopping for groceries? A recent survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) sought to find answers to these questions. Here are the key findings and implications for retail dietitians:
- Most people turn to foods and supplements for sources of specific vitamins and minerals. Of those who look for vitamins and minerals in things they eat and drink, 56% say they seek them out in foods and nearly half say they seek them out via dietary supplements.
- Consider creating a shopping list for food and supplement sources of key nutrients of interest. Vitamin D, calcium and potassium were of key interest to shoppers over 65 so offer resources when talking specifically to this age group and/or through your pharmacies.
- People under 45 were more likely to seek out beverages to provide certain vitamins and minerals. Help these shoppers navigate the beverage aisles by developing a simple chart or infographic to identify those products that may be fortified.
- The strongest motivators for seeking out specific vitamins and minerals are general health/wellness and immune health. COVID has been a major reason for a heightened interest in overall wellness and immune health and this is likely to continue.
- Seek out opportunities to link nutrient-rich and fortified foods to consumer groups of need. For example, a recent story in the Wall Street Journal cited that many adolescent girls aren’t getting enough important nutrients, which could lead to future health issues. Create social content, blogs or a media segment to provide targeted solutions.
- Use the Dietary Guidelines as a tool for discussing a balanced dietary pattern with important nutrients that support overall health, well-being and immune system support. Design messaging to promote food choices across the entire store.
- Despite widespread use of technology, people still prefer to get information on vitamins and minerals through on-package sources. Those looking for information mainly use the Nutrition Facts label and front-of-package labels.
- Provide a label reading video or infographic offering tips to identify key nutrients of interest.
- Educate consumers in store and online about SmartLabel® as a tool that provides quick digital access to more detailed product information. The program shares accurate data directly from over 40 major brand manufacturers.
- Although most people have heard of the term “fortification,” few have a good understanding about it. However, of those who have heard of fortification, most have positive beliefs regarding the health benefits, safety and convenience.
- Partner with manufacturers of juices, dairy products and cereals to tell positive stories about the nutrient fortification in these products and how they can conveniently fill in nutrient gaps.
- Provide educational programming around to topic of fortification - what it means, the benefits, how vitamins and minerals may be listed by a variety of names and the implications for the presence of a longer ingredient list.