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Keeping Up With Health

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High food prices have pushed people — and especially health-conscious people — to creative lengths lately. They’re growing their own food. They’re cooking at home. They’re shopping at farmer’s markets, co-ops, and even buying into their local farm. When they are actually in the supermarket, they’re often trading down to private label and other lower cost goods.

6a00d83475c99769e200e54f659a698833-800wi.jpgGiven all this, it’s understandable that retailers would want to focus on value instead of health and wellness, where many products come at a premium price. Some of the more popular marketing campaigns lately include how to stretch stimulus checks and get the most bang per basket.

But consumers are as focused as ever on healthful shopping. In fact, they’re arguably more concerned than ever during these lean times, especially with medical costs being what they are in this country. Just scan the food blogs and news sites and you’ll see what I mean: service pieces on how to eat healthy on a budget, musings about the fate of organic foods, and stories galore about pricing trends.

What shoppers are starting to forget — and what retailers shouldn’t let them forget — is that good nutrition and value can go hand in hand at the supermarket. Fresh foods and meat come at a variety of price points, and resourceful consumers can use them to cook up great meals that become great leftovers. It’s also efficient to buy food that’s local and in season. Farmers markets are being promoted for this reason, but supermarkets are a good source for these things as well. Let’s also not forget about healthy private label products, which are starting to take up more and more shelf space.

As someone who’s trying to eat healthy on a (increasingly strained) budget, I can think of a few things I’d like to see more of in stores. Healthy recipe ideas would top the list, and so would weekly deals (see FreshDirect’s Healthy Mondays promotion). I’m sure retailers can think of a few more.

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