Heart disease is one of the most significant health issues in the United States, as it causes 1 in 4 deaths. To increase awareness of heart disease and to invite people to take small actions that can make a big difference, February has been dubbed “American Heart Month.”
This national awareness month provides the perfect opportunity to highlight products and programs that help support heart health. From the produce area to check out, there are many opportunities to help improve consumer heart health and your retail bottom line at the same time.
To help bolster customer loyalty and recurring revenue, here are some ideas to highlight how your retail outlet supports heart health.
Actively Share Nutrition Information
According to Forbes, most packaged foods offer the required U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nutrition labels, but many other items such fruits, vegetables, meats, and foods prepared or served in the grocery store, do not. However, many retailers have been voluntarily serving up nutritional information about their items, even offering recipes and guidance about what foods to choose for healthy balanced diets.
“75% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase foods that feature the Heart-Check mark regardless of age or number of kids in their household.”(source)
Why not take the lead and showcase the heart-healthy benefits of various types of produce? Make use of display frames, shelf talkers or even heart-shaped stickers to communicate the health benefits for various products or designate that they are heart-healthy.
With avocados, it’s especially easy. After all, this delicious green fruit has been designated heart-healthy by the American Heart Association (AHA). Heck, we even put it on our packaging for our bagged offerings. To make it easier for you, here are some quick avo-facts you can use in your retail promotions:
- Avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds that can enhance the nutrient quality of the diet.
- Over 75% of the fat in avocados is unsaturated (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and these good fats do not raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
- The body needs some dietary fat in moderation to help with absorption of nutrients. In fact, good fats are recommended as a replacement for bad fats. Avocados contain 6 g of naturally good fat per 50 g serving.
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. A fresh fruit, avocados are a good source of fiber (3 g of fiber per 50 g serving) and can add variety to the diet.
- A diet rich in potassium helps to offset some of the harmful effects of sodium on blood pressure. Avocados contain 254 mg of potassium per 50 g serving.
Set the Mood
Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have worked hard to create positive shopping experiences by utilizing techniques such as softer lighting to make products that don’t have colorful packaging more appealing. They also use playful signage that draws attention to items that generally aren’t visually stimulating. Staff members also take an active role in showcasing healthy items and step up to know as much as they can about the nutritional benefits of favorite items.
Encourage Good Nutrition
Consider hosting a nutritionist or dietitian to discuss heart health and offer heart-healthy recipes. Promote their advice and recipes throughout your store near the main ingredients for the recipes and follow through on social media with the full recipe and shopping list. You can also promote in regional advertising and on your website.
Feature a Screening Event
Encourage people to check their blood pressure and cholesterol to get to know their numbers as part of American Heart Month. Have handout information available that discusses the relationship between high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart health and offer free screenings from a qualified professional at a designated date and time.
Food sample stations have become commonplace in many retail establishments. Why not take your sampling efforts up a healthy notch by offering bite-size offerings of fruit, veggies, and items cooked from natural ingredients?
Serve up some fresh basil tom-avo bites (translation: basil, tomato, and avocado) on cocktail toothpicks or spread fresh guac on healthy crackers. If done at the right time, you’ll ignite a hankering for guac and chips or remind others to stock up on ingredients for their morning avo-toast craving.
Offer Easy Shopping Displays
Create retail displays based on the shopping lists for some of the more straightforward heart-healthy recipes. For example, showcase a recipe for tomato avocado caprice and create a mini display with multigrain crackers along with tomatoes, avocados, fresh basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, maybe even a photo of the finished dish. Not only did you put an idea in their heads for a healthy meal, but the display makes it easy for customers to shop for the needed ingredients.
Special Deals for Healthy Foods
To offset the seemingly higher cost of eating healthy, some retailers have offered promotions such as “Meatless Mondays” in which a customer can fill a plate with all the veggies they can for a set fee. Naturally, that’s just one idea, but you can get creative with your own version or pair up certain produce and offer deals to help make shopping easier (and move even more produce).
Consider clearing away the junk food from several of your checkout lanes so patrons with kids, or those easily tempted, can provide a safe option when ponying up for groceries.
Create a Fundraising Effort
Create red heart-shaped cutouts and offer them in exchange for $5 donations for the American Heart Association or other heart-related non-profits. Have the customer decorate or sign the heart and display it a communal area in the store. As the entire area fills with a sea of red, your customer will notice your efforts and recognize the symbol scattered throughout your store as they shop, hopefully for heart-healthy items!