Fresh and healthy has replaced convenience as the reason many consumers choose to shop at the supermarket they do, industry executives said here Thursday at a session sponsored by Supermarket News at Expo West in Anaheim, Calif.

Jay Jacobowitz"For 100 years the supermarket model has been based on convenience," Jay Jacobowitz, president of Retail Insights LLC, said. "But today fresh, healthy foods and wellness are challenging convenience."

Chris Sherrell, CEO of Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, said he agreed. "Once people seek out healthier foods, they don't go back to processed," he said. "Natural and organics are not a trend -- they are a lifestyle, and they are the future."

Jim Nielsen, COO for Sprouts Farmers Markets, Phoenix, said his company is counting on consumers who are making the switch to healthier eating. "We're looking for that transitional customer who wants to use us as a stepping-stone to better health by making the transition from the conventional to the natural world."

Read more: SN's coverage of Natural Products Expo West

Supermarket News at Expo West: Driving Health and Wellness at Supermarkets was held just prior to the start of the Natiohnal Products Expo West, sponsored by New Hope. Both New Hope and SN are divisions of Penton Media.

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