Fresh Prepared: What’s your Nutrition Strategy?
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Retail dietitians looking to have impact on their company’s business should look no further than deli and the fresh prepared departments of their store. According to FMI’s Power of Fresh Prepared study, deli sales are outpacing every other fresh department with a 3.3% increase in dollars, 3.6% in volume and 3.8% in trips. Sixty-five percent of consumers love the convenience of fresh prepared and 11% believe shopping this department helps them lower food waste.
Where the opportunity exists, however, is with the 25% of consumers who indicate fresh departments lack health. Sales data shows that products like fried chicken, pizza and sandwiches are losing velocity while sushi, salad bars and rice bowls are experiencing rapid growth. Shoppers are seeking options in fresh prepared that align with their healthy lifestyles.
To help your grocer capitalize on the fresh prepared trend, consider the following ideas:
- Complete a nutrition assessment of your deli, ready-to-heat, and ready-to-eat assortments. Compare this data against sales data trends in these departments.
- Partner with category buyers to suggest a comp shop trip to retailers who do health in fresh prepared areas well. Assess their offerings, signage, messaging, and merchandising strategies of healthier options in fresh prepared. Casually observe shoppers to assess their shopping patterns in this category.
- Sit in on meetings with suppliers in fresh prepared categories. Ask for a line review of all their better-for-you items to consider options to bring in to your own departments to meet the needs of the health-conscious shopper.
- Partner with company chefs to create signature options that appeal to health-concerned shoppers. Establish nutrition guard rails for these chefs to work within when creating new deli and fresh prepared items.
- Develop a strategy for incorporating healthier fresh prepared items into your dietitian programs and services, and partner with internal departments on promotions of these items.
In fresh prepared, shoppers seek convenience, multi-cultural foods and flavors, and health. By following these tips, retail RDs can ensure health is part of the program in fresh prepared.