Ideas from IGD on helping consumers make more healthy food decisions

Will Kreznick

When the Insititute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) released its last Appetite for Change report, it noted the obstacles preventing consumers from purchasing fresh produce, particularly vegetables. Among them were two big takeaways: shoppers say they simply don’t know to utilise or cook with them and many believe “they’re not exciting.” […]

When the Insititute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) released its last Appetite for Change report, it noted the obstacles preventing consumers from purchasing fresh produce, particularly vegetables.

Among them were two big takeaways: shoppers say they simply don’t know to utilise or cook with them and many believe “they’re not exciting.” Other past studies done by IGD have identified other longtime barriers, including taste and cost.

For retailers and marketing professionals in the sector, those considerations have posed big challenges.

One positive, according to IGD, is that more than 85% of UK consumers are trying to better their eating habits. As noted in previous Produce Business UK articles, British retailers such as Tesco have said shoppers are buying all different kinds of produce including some that had seen a leveling off, such as green vegetables.

Still with a third of UK citizens not hitting their 5 A Day target, there is more that retailers can be doing to get their shoppers on the right path. IGD offers up a number of suggestions to those whose job it is to reach consumers and sell more fruits and vegetables:

Signs matter. When putting out any fresh items – be it bulk produce or even meal solutions that contain produce – make sure that customers know that the item they are purchasing contains at least 1 of the 5 A Day pieces of produce. Don’t just assume consumers know. Help them make positive choices.

Big brands and unhealthier boxed items seems to sell themslves quite easily. It can be more difficult to promote and sell produce. But not if you continually ensure that what you’re displaying in store is easily seen and robust … or what you’re promoting online is pitched as healthy with bright beautiful images. In store, ensure that the produce you’re serving up consistently looks fresh. I your store has a large footprint, consider expanding the fresh produce section. Produce truly can be a destination and also when done right is often a talking point from shopper to shopper.

Consumers can be positively swayed by savvy marketing and pitches, such as recipe cards, online influencers and celebrities, as we’ve seen from the popularity of the many chefs who’ve been front and center in the past 12 months promoting healthy food or children eating enough produce. Lean on those “influencers” to help get the message out to eat healthier.

Don’t price out shoppers from purchasing healthy items. It might be tempting to inflate the cost of healthier or popular products, including fresh packaged items, but with consumers watching their spending during the pandemic, they might just as easily turn away and buy items that might be less costly and less healthy.

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