If you’ve been following our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nonuttin-Natural-Foods/159162014110203, you’ll see that I’m heading off next week to a trade show for a Canadian natural foods chain.
After the trade show, I get all of the owners and managers of those stores for an hour and a half to provide them with an overview of food allergies and gluten free diets, what the needs are for consumers and what they need to do to earn the confidence of those of us looking for special dietary foods.
I certainly know what gains my trust in a store. And putting the peanut butter alternative (ie. soybutter, sunbutter) smack dab in the middle of all of the peanut butter isn’t it. I don’t really expect any service or knowledge about food allergies when I go to a mass chain grocery store (even if they have a natural or gluten free section) but I certainly do when I go to a smaller natural foods store or health food store. But any major grocery chain that did come up with a better understanding of special diets, such as putting a dietician in their natural foods section, (as one of our clients in the Midwest, Hy-Vee does) would have my business in a heartbeat. And please, clean up the bulk sections so that potential allergens aren’t spilled all over the floor!
So what do you need? Special sections? Items placed throughout the store but with good signage? Special dietary tours with samples and coupons so you aren’t stuck in your same old rut? Would you prefer a trained specialist in the store? Do you appreciate contained bulk bins? Do you want the store to have product documentation on special diet products? How about demos – do you run from them when they’re in an aisle?
Anything that you share with me will be added to my presentation next week (without names of course) so that these store owners/managers can hear from the people that count. Food allergies and gluten free diets are here to stay; let’s begin the revolution with willing stores who want to serve you better.