Has Health and Wellness Become Mainstream in the Food and Beverage Space?
You know what they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. But what happens when we take that old adage out for a spin in the world of commerce? Two retailers we’d never expect to see take cues from one another seem to being doing just that.
Whole Foods, a healthy grocer, is hoping to shed its image of unaffordable products. Meanwhile Walmart, a big-box chain, is hoping to become known for its sustainability and transparency efforts. Two completely different retailers, one common goal – the overall health and wellness of their consumers (and their consumers’ budgets).
Whole Foods is a pioneer in the health food space, but has earned the nickname ‘Whole Paycheck’ over the years by consumers who look towards the retailer for its natural and organic offerings but can’t abide by their prices. The grocer is now stamping its paper shopping bags with the tagline, “Great everyday low prices,” a slogan dangerously close to Walmart’s famous motto, “everyday low prices.” This is an interesting move by Whole Foods, but so far, no indication has been made that they will be moving away from their usual promise of healthy, all natural foods.
Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon recently announced the company’s sustainability targets for food, waste and energy. “We actually believe we’re entering into a new era of trust and transparency, and when that light gets shined on Walmart we want to make you feel good about what you see,” McMillon explained. By 2025, the world’s largest retailer is committed to:
- Achieve zero waste to landfill in Canada, Japan, U.K and the U.S.
- Be powered by 50 percent renewable energy sources under a plan designed to achieve science-based targets
- Double sales of locally grown produce
- Expand sustainable sourcing to cover 20 key commodities, including bananas, grapes, coffee and tea
- Use 100 percent recyclable packaging for all private-label brands
So what does all of this mean for the food and beverage industry?
While these are two very different companies, there is a common thread here. It’s become quite clear that expecting all-natural foods, sustainable products, and transparency from brands and retailers is much less of a trend, but completely mainstream. This makes sense, given the fact that:
- Natural and organic food is the fastest-growing sector of the American food marketplace
- 72 percent of Generation Z consumers (the next major generations of consumers) are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact.
- 94 percent of consumers say transparency is important to their purchase decisions.
More than anything, these statistics tell us that any brand or retailer not in line with these values will quickly fall behind as we head into a new era of selling products consumers can feel good about, inside and out.
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