Personalized Nutrition Driving Retail Best Practices

Judy Seybold
,
MS, RDN, LD, CLC
February 22, 2022
Retailers have become adept at seamlessly leveraging single-source data across multiple channels to support a more personalized shopping experience.

Best practices in health and wellness programs all have roots in the data collected and analyzed for nutritional status. Sifter has been tracking top data-driven retail best practices in support of its suite of Nutrition as a Service™ tools. Leading best practices in retail include:

  • Personalized Shopping: Shoppers input personal dietary profiles online to trim product selections to suit their personal needs, such Nut Free or Heart Healthy. More recent online applications like Sifter allow input of multiple profiles, which result in output to meet complete family needs, simplifying the shopping trip. Additionally, such programs today are increasingly tied to online coupon and loyalty programs that marry budget with health needs, such as Ibotta or Shopkick.
  • Nutritionally Scored Meal Kits:  56% of shoppers today recognize that preparing meals at home is a healthier option (Hunter 2021). Programs today provide nutrition information on fresh options for shoppers, such as pre-assembled meal kits which include all ingredients, plus recipe and nutrition/allergen status.  
  • In-store Clinics: 7 of 10 American deaths are attributable to chronic disease and conditions (NCBI 2018). Approximately 50% of shoppers harbor at least one chronic condition (CDC, 2020) that can be improved with lifestyle and dietary choices. Best-practice retailers are blurring the lines between pharmacy and food selection by offering apps or printable shopping lists of items that meet special dietary concerns per shopper. Shoppers with diabetes or high blood pressure are great candidates for dietary assistance and can make great strides by shopping from products in-line with their dietary needs.
  • Product Assortment Analytics: While front-end marketing information is key, behind-the-scenes data output, such as the blending of product sales with wellness attribute data, can aid category managers with decisions on product assortment and merchandising. For example, CMs can more efficiently see trends for more dairy-free selections and can shift buying to ensure shelf and digital assortment matches demand.
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Which Best Practices Are Trending For the Future?

  • Link between Workplace and Retail – An increasing number of employers are launching work-based programs that provide education on healthier choices at retail and reward employees for choosing such products. The longer term benefit is a healthier workforce and reduced insurance premiums for both the company and individual workers.
  • DNA-based Diets In-store – At the cusp of best practices is the blending of DNA data with dietary selection. In the future, pharmacies will offer DNA kits for testing, then use the outcome to develop personal diet plans for shoppers to support special needs. Product data married with personal shopper biological data will provide everything needed for optimal diet planning and health.
  • Personalized Calorie Management – Apps that measure calorie expenditure based on bodily secretions are quickly coming of age and will be blended with product data to offer consumers a view of appropriate dietary choices to replace calories and nutrients that have been lost.


The future of health and wellness at retail will continue to show gains in influence, but one factor will remain: data and technology will be at the core. For retailers to compete and optimize their product and service offering to shoppers, they must partner with a quality company that collects, cleanses and manages data effectively. Once a solid data source is in place, the rest is up to creativity and vision by which to continue to surprise and delight shoppers seeking health and wellness solutions.

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