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Reinforcing the ‘Why’ Behind Clean Label & Transparency at the NACDS Total Store Expo

Today’s retail lines are blurring faster than ever before, meaning that every type of retailer — from traditional supermarkets to drug stores — needs to be prepared to address consumers’ evolving shopping preferences.

One evolution that has been top of mind for many retailers is consumers’ growing focus on health and wellness, whether that takes the form of the foods they consume, the personal care products they purchase or the restaurants they choose when dining away from home.

This topic was front and center for Nielsen at last week’s Total Store Expo, an annual conference hosted by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) that we have participated with for more than a decade. This year, Andrew Mandzy, director of health and wellness strategic insights at Nielsen, spoke to an audience of  senior executives across operations, supply chain, merchandising and marketing, highlighting the importance of offering products that resonate with today’s health-conscious consumer. This means looking beyond fresh foods and the pharmacy and identifying areas of growth across the entire store.  

In Andrew’s session, titled The Health and Wellness Consumer: Challenges and Opportunities, he addressed the factors that have led to America’s focus on health and wellness: an aging population with increasing health needs and increases in chronic conditions has created a more proactive relationship with health & wellness and rising health care costs that have caused consumers to make trade-offs in how they care for themselves. As a result, consumers are exercising more, eating healthier foods, reading product labels, and demanding transparency from food producers, grocers and restaurants.

While health and wellness is not a one-size-fits all approach, there are opportunities to capitalize on this shift; one recent and timely example is leveraging the growth of clean label across the total store.

Retailers, including chain drug stores, have started to take a total store approach to promote health and wellness, while fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers are moving toward more transparent business models by eliminating ingredients seen as unhealthy, or by marketing benefits through wellness claims on packaging. The industry will need to continue understanding current trends toward product transparency in order to deliver on evolving consumer needs. The bottom line is that transparency and clean label are not point-in-time fads. They have gone mainstream and competition for consumers seeking clarity, purity and responsibility is going to continue to increase.