Step inside any grocery store today and you will more than likely find shelf tags with some type of health related message. Over the last decade, identifying health attributes at point of purchase has become more commonplace. You may have heard about NuVal, Guiding Stars, or ANDI. Who you may have not heard of is healthyAisles. healthyAisles is the brainchild of Vestcom, an innovative retail marketing service company. The difference between the more well known programs and healthyAisles is that is completely customized to the retailer. You will never see healthyAisles on any signage or have to explain what it means. healthyAisles gives control of their program to the retailer that fits around their health and wellness program, including the name. It is currently is in 27 retailers nationwide since it’s launch in 2008.
What is healthyAisles?
healthyAisles is made up of 3 components: Core/Center Store, Fresh Perimeter, and vitaAisles. Core / Center Store is composed of 33 health attributes using FDA and USDA guidelines. Almost 200,000 items are in their database that are analyzed by ingredient and nutrition facts data. Carb Aware is a new addition to healthyAisles within the core/center store program. It is based on the American Diabetes Association guidelines to aid shoppers in navigating the snack, cereal, and canned fruit aisles to make more informed carbohydrate choices. It also may help supermarket dietitians in educating shoppers at the shelf edge. Retailers can buy all 33 attributes to use on their store shelves or they can buy 8-10 or even 1. It’s completely up to the retailer. Fresh Perimeter, another component of healthyAisles, focuses on fresh produce, meat, and dairy. It’s the same concept as the center store where selected health attributes are assigned to products.
The vitamin category is around a $11.5 billion industry in the U.S., making it the largest category in dollar sales. In a survey by Vestcom, 74% of respondents said they want more detailed information at point of purchase regarding vitamins. Vestcom took this need seriously and recently launched vitaAisles, a program that engages consumers in the pharmacy/vitamin section of the store at the shelf edge. Using the same FDA defined claims, vitaAisles is meant to support in-store pharmacists and dietitians in helping shoppers make more informed decisions. You can see their infographic from their research on vitamins here. vestcom-vitaAisles-infographic
What are the advantages of using healthyAisles?
It provides consumers with evidence based messaging using the FDA , USDA, and ADA (American Diabetes Association) guidelines. No scientific formula is needed. The database is continually updated to provide the retailer with the most current information. Supermarket dietitians have access to healthyAisles professional tools which gives them access to the data itself as well as the information behind the data that goes into assigning the health attributes. Carb Aware and vitaAisles go a step further in point of purchase health messaging to give a total health and total store approach.
Why is health and nutrition information at point of purchase so important?
Jeff Weidauer, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at Vestcom says, “Retailers should be engaging shoppers as experts in food.” He says where trust has been lost with manufacturers, retailers have opportunity to gain trust and customer loyalty through programs like healthyAisles. Consumers are looking for a a relationship. He goes on to elaborate that a “price only” focus diminishes the relationship by not supplying a feel good experience for the consumer. By helping the consumer select and prepare foods, especially those with health conditions, retailers can make a major impact in the bottom line while gaining lifelong customers and relationships.
If you would like to learn more about healthyAisles or vitaAisles, check out their website.