Grocery store changes

Matt MacGillivray/ MGN

(SWEEPS FEED)- Chocolate, candy and other sweets got your attention in the checkout line before, but now, you may be more likely to find multi-grain chips and other healthy options in their place.

It’s just one of the changes to healthier options shoppers are searching for.

“Supermarkets are going to respond to that need for healthier products. They’re going to respond to their consumers,” said Peter Larkin, with the National Grocers Association.

Larkin says stores are trying in order to earn more of the wellness market, or money, that has been pouring into specialty stores in the past few years.

In many cases, the focus is on organic and natural products, along with freshness.

“Consumers want to be able to have the freshest product available. So, when we think of fresh in a supermarket it’s the perimeter of the store, it’s the produce department, the meat department, the dairy department, the deli,” Larkin said.

Another contributor to the change: a government push to get stores to step up their health game, according to Kristen Gradney, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“The USDA published a report a few years ago that encouraged grocery stores to become ambassadors for healthy eating and healthy living, stocking healthier products and less processed products is a gentle nudge for consumers to make healthier choices,” Gradney said.

“A number of our members have hired dietitians and have them available to consumers in the store to help them figure out what is the best diet for them,” Larkin said.

Some stores are adding kiosks to highlight healthier options, or a universal scoring system to simplify the process for shoppers.

“For example, some scoring systems go from one to 100 and identify items being 100 as the healthiest items,” Gradney said.

Gradney adds in the end, consumers benefit.

“If you change the environment, hopefully it’ll be easier for consumers to make those healthy choices without having to do too much research or thinking.”

Many stores are also going to offer nutrition classes to help consumers find out more about nutrition and empower them to make better choices as they’re shopping.

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