In many retail segments, customers are becoming more selective. In this digital age, where Google is everybody’s best friend, customers are doing their homework before—or while—they shop or eat at a restaurant. They are truly accessing the information on their smartphones in real time. Look at the food industry alone. Google reports that consumers are seeking functional foods. Since 2005, the number of searches for “best foods for __________”—with the blank commonly filled by terms such as skin, energy, or acid reflux,—has increased 10 times. What do these changes in consumer attitudes and expectations mean for stores and restaurants?
It means people are more focused on what they eat and put into their bodies than ever before. Also noted in Google’s research is that “the focus of people’s diets is less about eliminating foods than about adding them.” Integrating labels identifying the functions of foods into grocery store aisles or restaurant menus will aid consumers in making educated choices in your store or restaurant.
Some grocery stores are now providing online informational resources. For example, Sprouts Farmers Market offers their Healthy Living Resources online, making it easy for consumers to make the connection and take “small steps in the right direction,” as the store advertises. By providing this value-added tool, they are showcasing themselves as leaders for healthy options in grocery stores, and health-conscience customers are more likely to purchase products there.
The same can be said in the restaurant industry. Many restaurants are providing more than just the required nutritional information, because customers seek that transparency. Bareburger Organic restaurant does this with a fun and detailed menu that notes local, vegan, and gluten-free options, as well as side notes on their sourcing, such as how they choose healthier eggs.
Consumers are attracted to these types of advertisements and options, because they are approachable and transparent, making the restaurant seem more trustworthy. And if customers are still tempted to pull out their smartphones to check things themselves, they already know exactly what they are looking for to confirm the healthy option.
With the aging population and influx of Millennials with discretionary incomes, consumers are looking for healthy, functional food options to add to their plates. Take the step to integrate those options into your offerings—being transparent about it will keep them coming back to your business.