It’s clear that supermarkets must do more than simply educate the public on the importance of healthy eating. Long-term, grocery retailers must be able to provide a sufficient supply of quality food that is safe and nutritious at an affordable price. The only way to achieve such a goal is to ensure a sustainable sourcing initiative is inextricably linked to health and wellness programming.
During last week’s FMI webinar on its Sustainability Guide, a number of important points were made about this subject:
— Clarifying organic, local and bioengineering requirements for manufacturers and labels for consumers is crucial;
— Documenting the farm-to-fork journey offers traceability mechanisms that ensure food safety and security;
— Examining sustainability practices in the cultivation, harvesting and delivery of foods will help ensure long-term product availability;
— Increasing demand for affordable organics and sustainable private label products means for substantial changes are coming for category management;
— Responsible sourcing must tackle sustainability subjects, like the effect of pollution on a product.
A caution about eco-labels was raised. Although these third-party verifications may be recognized by some consumers, grocery retailers should focus on the strategic implications of such a program. This includes an understanding as to exactly what the logo means and represents; how this “certification” relates to the supermarket’s sustainability or health and wellness platform; and how this label can be used in customer communication.
As savvy consumers increasingly demand a wide variety of healthy food options at affordable prices and as more supermarkets include health and wellness information in theirmaterials and customer communication, the need for grocery retailers to make a long-term commitment to sustainable sourcing will continue to grow.