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Relieving Stress for Shoppers with Food Allergies and Restrictions

Posted on - July 25, 2017

Many of today’s shoppers are extremely conscientious of the food they eat, now more than ever. This is especially true for the 15 million Americans and 17 million Europeans(1) living with food allergies, and the millions of other shoppers who have implemented dietary changes to alleviate non-allergy health issues or to simply eat healthier and cleaner.

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Grocery shopping with an allergy or dietary restrictions can be stressful and difficult, but retailers can implement in-store technologies and programs to reduce that burden on their consumers. With active and transparent communication, these technologies provide the food allergen information consumers need to ensure they are getting the best, and healthiest, shopping experience.

Providing resources to consumers at the shelf edge

By providing detailed product information directly on a digitally-enabled label, consumers can more easily review ingredients and verify that it meets their allergy or dietary needs. For further precaution, retailers can work with brands to let shoppers know if the product was processed in a factory that also processes potential food allergens. This can be achieved through Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) that allow retailers to share product and allergen information (including country of origin and much more), as well as up to date pricing and promotion information, directly on the shelf edge at the point of decision.

For added convenience, ESLs can also enable retailers and brands to share recipes, meal recommendations or special promotions based on a shopper’s allergy or dietary needs via a QR code on the label. This approach is a win-win for both consumers and retailers – it takes the stress out of shoppers’ meal planning and establishes the retailer as a trusted resource for future shopping trips.

Improving the prepared foods section

Prepared food sections don’t always have the luxury to rely on pre-printed brand packaging, typically relying on store associates to update labels everyday based on the scheduled offerings for that day. This, of course, takes valuable time away from assisting customers. As well, millennials are more interested in purchasing foods that are likely to keep them full and energized and sourced sustainably, choosing quality over cost. With millennials twice as likely to distrust large food manufacturers(2), transparency about product information and ingredients in prepared foods is necessary for retailers and brands to reach this generation in the midst of their prime spending years. In-store technologies like ESLs allow retailers to include a wide range of relevant media and resources, such as customer reviews, display sustainability information, source of origin or by scanning a QR to see recipes. These in-store technologies help to build trust, and improve customer interaction with this tech savvy, experience-driven generation.

Shopping with a food allergy or dietary restrictions can be time-consuming and challenging, but retailers and grocers now have the power to alleviate some of that stress for their shoppers. By providing detailed product and allergen information directly on the shelf edge, retailers will have happier and healthier shoppers that are bound to return again and again knowing they can access the information they need for their specific diets.

(1) https://www.foodallergy.org/facts-and-stats

(2) http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/us-millennials-twice-as-likely-as-non-millennials-to-distrust-large-food-manufacturers